Singer-songwriter Ron Santee introduces his second album, Cold Blooded Highway, following last year’s Wildfire Heart.
Talking about Cold Blooded Highway, Santee shares, “it’s best relished as a whole album, revealing a thematic journey of a struggling artist navigating his way through dark times. This record leaves you with the feeling of trying to find your home – yet yearning to hit the back roads to an unknown destination.”
Originally from Asbury Park, New Jersey, prior to moving to Joshua Tree, California where he built Desert Dog Studios, he fronted NYC-based indie-rock outfit The Battery Electric, which shared the stage with Eagles of Death Metal, King Khan & BBQ Show, Queens of The Stone Age, and Detroit Cobras.
Cold Blooded Highway sees Santee shifting from the rock mold of Wildfire Heart to an amalgamation of country, Americana, and rocksteady elements. Santee produced and recorded the album, as well as played most of the instruments, with local musicians throwing in on pedal steel and slide guitar.
Encompassing 10-tracks, entry points on the album include the title track, which rolls out on ill-omened yet stylish Lynchian flavors, shadowy and edgy. Hints of surf rock merge with the sway and roll of country to form a deliciously dark, slick tune. Santee’s dreamy tones convey just the right measure of portentous timbres.
“Inferno Redi” kicks things up a notch, traveling on potent, murky guitars riding a pushing rhythm. There’s a wickedly sleazy feel to this song, highlighted by remote, luminous harmonies, giving the tune spectral tones. Whereas “Desert Dog” features a tasty harmonica, gleaming guitars, and a rambling, shuffling rhythm.
Brimming with drawling pedal steel savors, “Evil Sweetheart” offers twang-filled guitars topped by Santee’s delicious, country-inflected voice. The final track, “Dark Road,” merges country and rocksteady into a contagious tune. A fat, rolling bassline, sidestick snare, and skiffing-lite guitars give the song a luscious, loose reggae flow.
At once innovative and satisfying, Cold Blooded Highway demonstrates Ron Santee’s gift for blending a variety of sonic styles into alluring music. This is an album definitely worth listening to.