Babaux & The Peacemakers
"Lucky 13", the debut album from Babaux & The Peacemakers, brings together four of Colorado's most acclaimed musicians, songwriters, engineers and producers for an 11-song run across the width and breadth of the Roots-Rock spectrum. Led by singer/songwriter and dobro player Cristian Basso (aka, Babaux), The Peacemakers are Eric Martinez on guitar, along with Alana and Niek Velvis on drums and bass respectively. Basso, who cut his teeth paying bass alongside an array of icons from Bo Diddley to Leo Nocentelli (The Meters) to Papa Mali, and has songwriting credits with no less than Eric Lindell, picked up the dobro during the Covid quarantine and it sparked a tectonic shift in his songwriting approach and output. "I started writing like crazy because the dobro was this new avenue of expression, it got me out of my old songwriting patterns on the bass," he relates. "First and foremost, I'm still a bass player, that's my first instrument of choice. But the thing that really inspired me with dobro is the slide aspect; translating the feel I'm used to from bass into the dobro's slide came very naturally to me. It changed my approach to writing in that the dobro opened up a melodic vocal expression. As a songwriter, I think it's brought me closer to what I mean to say in a more direct fashion rather than try to do a lot of word craftsmanship." While there may be more economy in word craftsmanship, the songs themselves are finely crafted in structure and feel, embracing an array of moods and styles from jamband-rootsy to swampy bayou blues with excursions that touch on vintage Laurel Canyon and acoustic funk. "Eric, Alana and Niek are all accomplished producers, engineers and songwriters, I told them I wanted them all to contribute and they all did. They each added little things here and there that speak to their own music sensibilities, and it was beautiful. With the open tuning of the dobro, one of the more challenging parts was how to make the songs different from one another but having these other amazing musicians/writers/producers to collaborate with helped resolve that. Lucky 13 is the 13th album I've done and, in some ways, it's the most satisfying record I've had the pleasure to make."