The title of the Alvin brothers’ follow-up to their Grammy-nominated 2014 Common Ground reunion project that found them working together for the first time in 30 years is multi-faceted and bittersweet. Clearly they are trying to make up for that lost time after not working together since Dave amicably left the Blasters in 1987. But more than that, these dozen covers are predominantly tunes that were also lost to time. Phil and Dave dig deep to reveal these hidden blues and R&B gems, then polish, rearrange and unleash them with pent up energy, providing the tracks with new leases on life.Dave’s short yet informative liner notes explain the disc is also a tribute to ’50s blues shouter and Alvin brothers friend Big Joe Turner, whose photo adorns the back cover. Four tracks are Turner covers and it’s no secret that much of Phil’s distinctive singing style dates back to that of Big Joe.
West of the West is Dave Alvin's tribute to the songs and songwriters of California. It's the fourth-generation Californian's latest excursion into the sounds and history of his home state, continuing the high standard he set with King of California and Blackjack David. Produced by Greg Leisz (Wilco, Lucinda Williams, Beck, Brian Wilson), the new album mixes much loved songs by Merle Haggard, John Fogerty, Tom Waits, Brian Wilson, Jackson Browne, Jerry Garcia, Kate Wolf, Robert Hunter and Los Lobos' David Hidalgo and Louis Perez, with unearthed gems from such previously overlooked talents as Blackie Farrell and Jim Ringer. Dave's first collection of cover songs (2000's Public Domain) won a Grammy for Best Traditional Folk Album and his most recent album of originals (2004's Ashgrove) garnered praise from USA Today, Rolling Stone, Mojo and the Los Angeles Times who said, "Few songwriters capture the way music can provide escape or solace to the lonely, the lost and the desperate as Alvin".