The universe is making music all the time

Whatever You Love You Are: John Convertino (Calexico)

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Play the note for what it is, not what it does.”

—John Convertino.



‘The Western Suite and Siesta Songs’ is the debut release by newly formed duo featuring John Convertino (Calexico, Giant Sand) and French film score composer Naïm Amor. The seeds were sewn some years back, having formed ABBC at the turn of the millennium: the Calexico core duo of John Convertino and Joey Burns joined forces with their close friends & Tucson neighbours, Amor Belhom Duo (Naïm Amor and Thomas Belhom). The result was ‘Tete A Tete’, a feast of sprawling sonic terrain (from the Burns-penned heart-wrenching ballad ‘Gilbert’ to Convertino’s stunningly beautiful piano-based compositions and all points in between).

Similarly, a sprawling sonic canvas is masterfully drawn from Convertino and Amor on ‘The Western Suite and Siesta Songs’. Part A comprises of sun-drenched, awe-inspiring compositions, which traces the South West’s desert plains and vast beauty contained therein. Reference points could be Calexico’s ‘Hot Rail’ or ‘Black Light’ and Ennio Morricone’s singular score-work.  The sweeping, cathartic ‘Of Dust and Wind’ is a sonic marvel of blossoming themes and variations, traversing a vast space of possibilities and wonder. Clean electric guitar tones and marimba flourishes are dotted across ‘Black Boot Shuffle’ with cumbia piano pulses and Convertino’s awe-inspiring drums. The crossroads between vintage New Orleans and 50’s Jazz.

A more inward, introspective feeling descends on part B, which represent some of the record’s most defining and breath-taking moments. The rich poignancy of nylon guitar-led instrumental ‘Santa Cruz River’ magnificently captures a tender beauty akin to a meandering river finding its sea. The piano-based ‘Snow Falls on the Desert Plain’ is wrapped in a cinematic bliss and timeless rapture. ‘The Western Suite and Siesta Songs’ marks a timeless, enriching journey from two gifted musicians who have been carving out some of the most singular, genre-defying works for over two decades.

‘The Western Suite and Siesta Songs’ is out now on LM Duplication.



Words: John Convertino


The record that brings you back to the period of your life in Tucson, AZ?


The Shadow of your Smile’ by The Friends of Dean Martinez is one of my favourites to this day. Really captures a moment there where Joey and I started woodshedding in the studio, coming up with songs together, that record morphed into what truly became Calexico, more than ‘Spoke’ did in a lot of ways.


The LP(s) that made you want to become a drummer


Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, David Bowie. Neil Young Harvest. The original broadway soundtrack to Jesus Christ Superstar. Art Blakey’s Mosaic, and the original drum battle between Buddy Rich and Gene Krupa.



A defining record that led you onto your own musical path


Led Zeppelin, the first record.


The collaborative (non-Calexico) albums you’re most proud to have been part of?


The Hill by Richard Buckner, Fox Confessor Brings on the Flood by Neko Case, Coming Home by Maggie Bjorklund, I’m really proud of this new record I did with Lincoln Barr called Trembling Frames, the new Depedro record, The Passenger, and Barbara Manning’s amazing 1212. I loved working with Tift Merrit on her record Traveling Alone, playing opposite Marc Ribot!



Composers/musical voices you feel you have learned the most from?


Eric Satie, Gustav Mahler, Art Blakey, Max Roach, the drummer Jim White and his projects including the Dirty Three. Elvin Jones, Miles Davis, Thelonius Monk, Reuben Gonzales, The Police, Led Zepplin. Bill Evans.

Favourite film score


Rumblefish by Stewart Copeland.


One musical philosophy that has always remained true for you?

Play the note for what it is, not what it does.

A trusted roadtrip soundtrack


The best of Neil Diamond


A piece of music/recording/song that speaks to you like no other?


Mahler’s Second Symphony.


Your most-prized jazz record


Out of The Cool by Gil Evans


The last album you picked up that amazed you? 


Floyd Kramer plays with Strings



‘The Western Suite and Siesta Songs’ by Naim Amor & John Convertino is out now on LM Duplication.



Written by admin

December 6, 2016 at 6:21 pm

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