Hailing from the Twin Cities, rock and rollers Eleganza! are set to release Water Valley High. The LP was recorded at Dial Back Sound with Matt Patton (Drive-By Truckers) and Bronson Tew, and is slated for release on April 29, 2022.
Eleganza! features tenured vocalist/guitarist Brian Vanderwerf of The Midnight Evils and Chooglin’ (Fat Possum/Big Legal Mess), fellow Chooglin’ bandmate/guitarist Jeff Johnson, guitarist Greg McAloon, Charlie Smith on piano/organ/vocals, bassist Tony Zaccardi, and drummer Tim Baumgart.
Collectively, the members of the band have been making rollicking albums for a couple decades. As Eleganza! they have truly found their sound, and with Water Valley High, they have firmly cemented their iconic place as a three-guitar, welcome onslaught for outcasts.
Today sees the exclusive premiere of “Lonesome and High” from the forthcoming LP. “I still get up, lonesome and high,” Vanderwerf kicks the song off with a potent, soulful swagger. “I still get up, willing to try / I’m still searching for the truth, but it’s harder to find everywhere I look.”
What would Nicky Hopkins do? Just ask Charlie Smith, who brings his boogie woogie A-game. Rhythm section Tony Zaccardi and Tim Baumgart are the undercurrent guiding the song. And Jeff Johnson’s Keith Richards-Chuck Berry hybrid style creates a perfect foil for Charlie’s playing, while Greg McAloon expertly holds down the middle guitar.
As Lenny Kaye wrote in his 1972 review of Exile on Main Street, “If you can’t bleed on the Stones, who can you bleed on?” And does this track bleed on, occupying a rare sonic space where the disparate worlds of soul and punk can co-exist with the trappings of first-generation rock and roll.
Eleganza! have opened for Meat Puppets, The Alabama Shakes, Charles Bradley, Bobby Bare Jr., The Supersuckers, Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires, and many more. And now they will celebrate Water Valley High with a record release show at First Avenue in Minneapolis on April 29th. If you’re in the area, you can get tickets here.