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The Ravenna Colt, "Slight Spell"


In 1902, University of Pennsylvania professor Dennis Magner wrote The Art of Taming and Educating the Horse. In it, Magner describes an interesting case of The Ravenna Colt, a virtually untamable, yet not necessarily barbarous animal.

The Ravenna Colt, in today’s incarnation, is Johnny Quaid finally realizing and returning to his troubadour roots. He first conceptualized the group’s approach to alternative country more than a decade ago. Quaid was well immersed in music, from his own songwriting and performing, to his work as a recording engineer at Above the Cadillac Studios — chops that would serve the young songwriter well.

In 1998 Johnny joined Jim James on a project that would change their lives — My Morning Jacket. The group worked feverishly touring and recording and has not slowed down since. Quaid lends his guitar licks and engineering style on the first three albums, The Tennessee Fire, At Dawn, It Still Moves, as well as a barrage of EPs and singles. Quaid departed from the group amicably at the start of 2004.

He left his native Kentucky, headed west to California and worked as a carpenter while keeping a writer’s pen at hand. He addresses this immediately on “South Of Ohio,” singing I lost my drawl in California. It was upon moving back east that Johnny not only picked up where he left off with Above the Cadillac, but also felt it was time to get The Colt running free.

You hear myriad influences in The Ravenna Colt’s debut album Slight Spell. “According to the Matador” combines Flying Burrito Brothers’ dark, spacious twang with a traditional folk in the vein of Townes Van Zandt and Bob Dylan. The reverberated swamp boogie “Forsake and Combine” evokes southern rock with a delicate, thinking man’s edge. The dreamy and windswept “Loner in Disguise” truly highlights the cosmic in Gram Parson’s description of insurgent country as “cosmic American music.” The first 500 LPs are hand-numbered and include a free download of the full album. Digital available via Removador Recordings & Solutions.

The songs are tinged with a southern twang that leaves a sense of fascination and longing for a bygone era that may or may not have ever existed. —December’s Children