Traveling down the Western roadways to a hospitable venue such as Pioneertown’s Pappy and Harriet’s. one would be likely to find an act such as Crushwater. Dipping into cowboy music and alternative-roots tunes alike, the group’s 2017 release Cactus Storm demonstrates a West Coast Western music sensibility. While they can’t shy away from surf-rock vibes entirely, The Cactus Storm EP helps the group elucidate a point made by many artists before them – country-western ain’t just about the antelope and buffalo.
Crushwater presents an interesting juxtaposition between what can be appropriately considered Americana music. The difference in “Fly Fly Fly” and a track such as “Blue Moon” may initially seem somewhat vast, but they’re ultimately drawing from the same well, as it were. Vocalist Scott Sullivan sounds equally weary from his travels on both tracks, a charming persona on record that gives the EP a great deal of honesty.
Similarly, Chandra Johnson’s contributions to the record help the wide array of styles stay grounded. Johnson also serves as a force of her own on “Starry Skies,” representing the chorale en masse, as it were, the voices of the open range echoing the lonely traveler.
Nothing exemplifies the group’s sound more accurately than the EP’s last track, “California,.” Weary, hopeful, and exemplifying a golden state of mind, Crushwater’s post-dustbowl track helps sum up the often eclectic collection of songwriting. The Cactus Storm EP may not be of the same era of Woody Guthrie and other westward-ho troubadours, but that doesn’t mean it can’t evoke similar feelings.