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The Left Lane: Jeff Larson

California-based singer/songwriter envisions the World Over

May 17, 2012
By RICH GIBSON , Times Leader

Back in the day, you turned on the radio and they'd be spinning another engaging

sing-a-long gem.

No such luck, unfortunately, on today's commercial airwaves, for the most part relegated to a more structured playlist top heavy with contemporary and classic rock formats.

Granted, we're still privy to an occasional fix of "Horse With No Name," "Suite Judy Blue Eyes," "Take It To The Limit" and "Running On Empty."

But guys like California-based singer/songwriter Jeff Larson were long ago lost in the shuffle and hung out to dry with their guitar strings.

We're assuming Larson has a loyal west coast support group who recognize his adept talent for writing and performing.

Larson's no rookie, mind you, though the Lane only recently became acquainted during one of our infamous nocturnal cyber search quests for new music.

Released last month to likely little fanfare, Larson's "The World Over" may prove one of 2012's best kept secrets. It's easily one of the primo recordings the Lane has encountered in months.

Larson penned all 10 tracks on the new disc and has surrounded himself with a stellar ensemble of backing musicians.

To be sure, Larson stands on his own as an impressive composer with a piercing eye for detail. "World Over" is a wire-to-wire winner from a singer/songwriter of distinction.

"I'm fortunate to grow up in a time when record stores seemed to be on every corner and radio played a cross genre section," Larson advised the LL in a recent interview.

"The whole California singer/songwriter scene was an obvious influence. Neil Young is still someone I would look out for a release from sight unseen (or sound unheard)."

It comes as no surprise Larson is backed on the new record by two of America's founding members Gerry Beckley and Dewey Bunnell. America played a local gig here in the past year.

"I've been fortunate over time to call them friends," Larson stated. In fact, Gerry Beckley wrote and produced Larson's 2009 record, "Heart of the Valley."

Larson notes songs for the new disc evolved over time. "(The World Over) actually started in 2008," he related. "I don't really write for a specific project but I'm always working on songs and recording often.

"I tend to wait for the songs to more or less carve out the set of music that becomes an album. I still believe in a 'song set' to show where an artist is at a particular time in their lives."

His formative years progressed twist 12 and 20 where Larson played electric guitar in a number of high school cover bands.

"I learned guitar to write songs and was drawn to the solo and close-at-hand aspect of an acoustic guitar to communicate musically," Larson informs. "It was something I could go away on my own and create with."

Any of World Over's 10 tracks are playlist-friendly for satellite radio consumption. Additionally, Larson observes San Francisco's major player, KFOG, is spinning a couple tracks from the new album.

"KFOG also does a local scene album I've been part of and an archive series popular in Northern California and beyond."

"World Over" was co-produced by Larson and collaborator Hank Linderman who contributes lead guitar, bass and keyboards.

Jeddrah Schmit, daughter of Eagles bassist/vocalist Timothy B. Schmit, forms some sweet chemistry with Larson, sharing vocals on six tracks. Bob Brozman adds to the mix with an array of inviting work on resophonic guitar.

Now, all Larson and his support group need are some savvy marketing skills to distribute and promote the new record very deserving of exposure well beyond the left coast.


MUCH like Left Lane readers, Larson should be especially stoked for Neil Young's upcoming full length album release entitled, "Americana."

This is the first album from Young and his legendary band Crazy Horse in nearly nine years. The new disc is a collection of classic American folk songs, some of which may have been referred to as protest songs, murder ballads and campfire songs passed down with universal tales for everyman.

A handful of the record's songs are mid-20th century folk classics, including "Travel On," "Clementine," "This Land is Your Land," and "Wayfarin' Stranger."

Young has personally penned brief historical details about each song which appears on the new record. He's joined by Crazy Horse backing players Billy Talbot, Ralph Molina and Poncho Sampedro.....

Gibson may be reached at



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