The Driftwood Singers - "Coco Ellis"

December 18, 2010

We had originally hoped to shoot outside somewhere, but it had been raining for a few days, and would continue to rain for what seemed like the longest stretch I can remember since being in LA. So we met up in Hollywood at what I think was Pearl's sister's place before they had to be out in Echo Park for LA Record's Christmas Party at Bedrock. It was just Kris and his acoustic and Pearl and her autoharp (thought they were playing with a full band that night).

When I first heard The Driftwood Singers, it was an ultra lo-fi recording they'd done to an old tape deck; tinny and raw, yet somehow it completely worked. To call their sound "old-time-y" would be a hilarious understatement, and while the tape approach is relatively effective at achieving that nostalgic timbre, the real timelessness of their music lies in the songwriting. It's surprisingly keen traditional folk, precisely picked guitar lines and warm two part harmonies, even lyrical jaunts that seem to call back to generation-old metaphors. It's refreshing actually, not just as a juxtaposition to the electronic wall of sound that's so prevalent today, but also because the musicianship is so skillfully executed. Hearing the songs now, you might even think they were covers of old standards.

They played three songs that day, and something started going awry with the autoharp tuning (damn vintage instruments), so unfortunately they had to stop there. We also forgot to grab a picture that day, hence the random parking lot shot outside of Stories.

Find out more about the Driftwood Singers at

Camera: Elliot Glass
Sound: Elliot Glass
All Rights Reserved.

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