Cordovas will hit The Lariat stage for the first time Friday for the venue’s after-party shows following Seven Peaks.
The Nashville by way of Hollywood by way of North Carolina group’s dreamlike tempos and relaxing harmonies bring to mind the smooth sounds of 1970s southern California rock bands like the Eagles. But Cordovas, led by Joe Firstman, the former bandleader for the Carson Daly Show, are Deadheads at heart, loving not only the Grateful Dead’s skillful playing and interweaving of genre ideas, but also its radical commitment to its fans.
Think of a jam band with four-part harmonies and a pedal steel.
They don’t just listen to the Dead, Firstman said. The band studies them.
In particular, Firstman cites Workingman’s Dead and American Beauty as the group’s pinnacle achievements.
Seasoned pros, the Cordovas are a rare band who actually record every show they play and listen to it the following day.
Like athletes reviewing film of their games, they are always striving to improve on their cohesive sound while honoring the Dead’s efforts to make every show “something that never happened before on earth,” Firstman said.
The Eagles, on the other hand, “That’s a good band to refer to,” Firstman said. “You had to know how to play. You had to know how to play in a group ... they’re the epitome of some boys singing together.”
Growing up in North Carolina, Firstman pursued a solo career on the West Coast in the early years of the 21st century, landing a gig as bandleader.
He then migrated back down South, where he reunited with childhood friend Toby Weaver to create the Cordovas to bring back the subtly psychedelic sounds of those early ‘70s Dead records.
For Firstman, the essence of the Cordovas’s sound is the blending of its voices and interplay between its instruments
“The world doesn’t need heroes,” Firstman said. “It needs bands.”