Anthony Garcia meets at the crossroads of Hayes Carll and George Winston. The Texas artist strikes gold as a purveyor of “cinematic Americana”, a bend on the roots genre that often delves into pseudo-orchestral breaks. An appreciator of classical string and piano music, Garcia bears influence from Bach as much as Townes Van Zandt. Lyrical and informed, his music strikes a captivating balance between folk-rock and classical persuasions that makes for something truly idiosyncratic.
Much of Garcia’s upcoming album, Acres of Diamonds, is inspired by his hometown of Lubbock. Take “The Wind”, which Garcia recalls was inspired by winter winds blowing through Lubbock’s plains. “This song was written while living in my hometown of Lubbock, Texas,” Garcia recalls. “Lubbock is a city in West Texas surrounded by vast plains and cotton fields. There is also a lot of temperamental weather, including tornadoes and a lot of wind. I think that might have been the literal inspiration. The song itself is one of those songs that was just completed during my drive home from my job in Levelland back to Lubbock (about a 20-minute drive). When I got home, I made a scratch recording, and that was that. I remember it being during a winter month of the year, so that might be the reason for a wintry-type feel to the song and aesthetic.
“It feels like I was feeling ready to leave Lubbock and explore the world again. I had been living in New York City and Europe previously and was in Lubbock in a brief life re-adjustment phase. I think I was getting the wanderlust again and was ready to get out and have a new adventure. The phase that followed ended up being a four-year period living in South Korea.”
Photo: Eric Panico
“The Wind” ensnares this feeling of wanderlust into song with its forward-driving melodies, centered on painting a progressively more detailed landscape with its lively and evocative instrumentation. Its last two minutes run into pure, beauteous instrumentation, shifting gears to focus on Garcia’s talent as a composer. The mood that Garcia captures in his classically-inclined performance is magical. As a composer, Garcia reflects, “This song certainly fits into the cinematic/orchestral/introspective feel of the album. The impromptu strings and the piano are a theme throughout the album.”
Furthermore, he adds, “This particular song came to me with both lyrics and music at once. It’s one of those songs that I don’t really remember writing (there are plenty of songs do I remember writing very well as the process can be laborious for me), and it is very seldom that this happens for me. Lyrics and music usually come to me independently of one another. There’s never a real pattern. But I’d say more often than not, the music comes first. I don’t have a set process or stroke of inspiration. I generally constantly have tidbits of music rolling around in my head.”
When asked about his most significant influences, Garcia says, “I’d say certainly the genre of rock ‘n’ roll, and the genre of classical music (i.e. music before electricity was invented that people wrote out by hand) are my primary musical influences. In my music, both of these worlds are tied together by the art of the “song” (brought to us by the great writers beginning with the folk tradition through present-day Americana). Of these genres, I will give an example of each: Bach (where I’d argue that Western music as we know it began), Jimi Hendrix, and Townes van Zandt.
“I am painting with very broad strokes here, but if forced to choose one representative from each genre, these are the ones I’d say represent the pinnacle of their respective art form. These are three artists who I have sought to emulate at one point or another in my life and my endeavor to grow artistically. Cinema/drama/storytelling through musical imagery (not necessarily words) is also important in my music. I believe that the music alone can always tell a story, the way it does in classical or other instrumental music.
“Finally, a genre that holds an important place in my heart is what we call electronica, specifically downtempo, music. I think this genre has leveled the playing field for unbridled musical creativity, lack of musical training, and even the inability to play a traditional musical instrument is no longer an obstacle. Technology, like computers and other non-traditional mediums, are musical instruments and require as much skill as traditional musical instruments. This genre results in some truly creative and fresh approaches to the marriage of musical harmony and melody.”
Acres of Diamonds is set for release on 17 July. It can be pre-ordered via Bandcamp.