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Diego's Umbrella
Proper Cowboy
Ninth Street Opus
www.diegosumbrella.com


An entanglement of gypsy rock, world music, exotic pop, and eastern European folk, Proper Cowboy from Diego's Umbrella is multi-flavored, multi-faceted, and multi-textured. Cords of Russian-style chorus line kicks are a recurring theme throughout the album, braided in melodic processions with circus-inspired fanfare. Produced by the Rondo Brothers and Diego's Umbrella, Proper Cowboy has an ethnic palette that integrates harmoniously with melodic rock standards.

Band members Vaughn Lindstrom, Jake Wood, Tyson Maulhardt, Jason Kleinberg, and Benjamin Leon inject subtle nuances such as splashing tambourines and sparkling sonic effects into the main themes, like in "Through Mexican Budapest." The melodic rock flourishes of "Downtown" are haloed in soaring strings with reggae-tinged beats in the center. The carnival-style motifs of "A Cowboy's Work Is Never Done" have an exotic, serpentine swagger with horns and percussion plowing catchy rhythmic knolls.

The rotating guitar loops rafting "Richardson" are streaked in rapid drumbeats and tambourine shimmies. The vocal hooks on the track are emotive, elongating and accentuating syllables while elevated in gyrating percussions. The lyrics tell of a tale of forbidden love, "And she / The youngest daughter of a chambermaid / Now the Earl's slave / Sold by her former King for a hefty fee / He was a boy / Who was recently hired by the magistrate / To be a slave mate / An infectious, agrarian, hard-working boy / It was love / In the little known land of Richardson / Which is next to Pilkington / But here it was forbid." The vocals have character and the music exudes charm coalescing gypsy pop with melodic rock fissures in "Big Star." The galloping gait of "Bulletproof Shine" is layered in swirling movements while "Tightrope" is a steady stream of sedate aerials. The wingspan of the vocals in "Moneymaker" complements the dance grooves, contrasting the Americana/Old West shading of the instruments in "Amsterdam #1." A chassis of billowing bass drum rolls switches to the jamboree setting of "Amsterdam #2," massing into a symphonic rock whirlwind of puffing horns and crisp rhythmic strikes. The vocals resonate with the impulse to reach out to audiences and affect them, motivate them to move into action with chorus parts that tell, "We live / We die / We learn to bleed / We learn to cry / We learn to hurt / We learn to heal / We learn to love / We learn to feel / And let go…just let go."

Diego's Umbrella take gypsy pop and modern melodic rock to a level where the cultures of Eastern Europe and the western hemispheres meet. The music represents old world cultures blended with new world concepts. The merging of the two idioms in the hands of Diego's Umbrella radiate harmony.

-Susan Frances

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