Los Angeles-based session ace and producer Fernando Perdomo echoes the sound and sensitivity of classic ’70s singer-songwriter records with his latest solo album, “The Golden Hour.”
The multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and singer is set to perform all the new songs from “The Golden Hour” during an album release party at The Hotel Cafe in Hollywood on Thursday night, August 17. Not coincidentally, it’s the artist’s birthday.
Perdomo produced and co-engineered the album’s basic tracks at the famed Ardent Studios in Memphis, working with Adam Hill, archivist and engineer for Big Star, the quintessential American power-pop band founded in Memphis in 1971 by Alex Chilton, Chris Bell, Jody Stephens and Andy Hummel.
Perdomo also got to use the original Mellotron used by Big Star, which is heard on every song on the record.
He and Hill captured the atmosphere, energy and melancholy of the classic Big Star albums recorded there in the early 1970s.
Many of Perdomo’s exquisitely crafted songs clock in shorter than three minutes, wielding a measured sonic economy in a world full of overcooked pop. From the opening piano-instrumental “Sunset” to the inspirational closer “Gold,” they cover vast emotional territory.
Lyrically, Perdomo’s originals are infused with honesty and vulnerability. On “I Feel (Therefore I Am),” he sings: “I’ve made mistakes; it can be great,” which is quite the admission from a musician who sounds like a true perfectionist. On “Love Loss Repeat,” he intones, “Nothing lasts forever…especially love.”
“Sunset” started off as a Beach Boys-inspired instrumental. “I played it over and over waiting for lyrics,” Perdomo said. “Then Derek Cintron took the amazing cover photo of my album and all the lyrics were there. It’s one of my favorite songs on the record.”
Over the water
Nightfall is here
and reappear at dawn
All colors soften
Golden hour is here
and wanders out
the final light of day
We are shadows in the night
There’s no shadows in the night.
The only song Perdomo didn’t write alone is “Look at the Moon,” co-authored with Jordan Zevon, son of Warren Zevon.
“The song was inspired by a text message from my girlfriend Cyndi Trissel,” Perdomo said. “She told me to ‘look at the moon.’ I was busy trying to write a song so I pulled up a live stream of the beautiful full moon on Facebook Live. The song just poured out of me.”
The next day, he went live on Facebok himself to show off his new song. “I got an email from [Zevon] saying that he had written a bridge to the song,” Perdomo said. “This unsolicited bridge melodic idea was absolutely perfect.”
While in Memphis, Perdomo wrote the lyrics for Zevon’s bridge, resulting in the final version of “Look at the Moon,” a heartfelt love song about venturing out with the one you love on a moonlit night.
Laying down the basic tracks at Ardent Studios, Perdomo added finishing touches at his own Reseda Ranch Studios in suburban Los Angeles. Grammy award-winning engineer Zach Ziskin mixed and mastered the tracks for release.
“The Golden Hour” CD/digital track list
1. Sunset (Intro)
3. Spotlight Smile
4. Look at the Moon
5. The Light
6. Here With Me
8. Love Loss Repeat
9. I Feel (Therefore I Am)
10. When You’re Next to Me
11. The Golden Hour
Check out this seven-minute film documenting the making of “The Golden Hour” produced by American Film Institute graduate (and “Look at the Moon” inspiration) Cyndi Trissel at Ardent Studios:
And watch “Here With Me” from “The Golden Hour” as Perdomo recently previewed it at Genghis Cohen in Hollywood:
Santa Clarita journalist Stephen K. Peeples was the original, award-winning producer of “The Lost Lennon Tapes” radio series for Westwood One from 1988-1990. He is also a Grammy-nominated record producer (“Monterey International Pop Festival” box, Rhino/MIPF, 1992). He was a record company PR executive for Capitol Records (1977-1980), Elektra/Asylum Records (1980-1983) and Rhino Entertainment (1992-1998). He was Rhino’s first web editor (1996-1998), and then editor of Warner Music Group websites (1998-2001). In California’s Santa Clarita Valley, Peeples was the award-winning Online Editor for The Signal newspaper’s website from 2007-2011, and wrote-hosted-co-produced SCVTV’s WAVE-nominated “House Blend” local music show from 2010-2015. He is now VP/New Media Emeritus for Rare Cool Stuff Unltd. and CEO of Pet Me Happy Treats. For more stories and info, visit http://www.stephenkpeeples.com/. For exclusive behind-the-scenes interviews, subscribe to his YouTube channel.