Cosmic Cowboys, Sam Blasucci and Clay Finch, debuted as full-time artists with their second studio release, From Liberty Street on Friday, March 20th via Yep Roc Records. The duo, Mapache, premiered an introductory single, “Life on Fire,” and a sun-drenched accompanying video on American Songwriter in January. Defining and dynamic, the songs emphasize the importance of place, sharing stories of adventure, while always yearning for home.
Born from their shared home in the Echo Park neighborhood in LA, From Liberty Street pays tribute to their creative space where friends and fellow-musicians collaborated in their in-house studio, pushing artistic boundaries and exploring new sounds in a communal atmosphere.
“This record is about as close to the sound of home as you can get,” said Blasucci. “We recorded it with a bunch of our friends in the house where we were living in a neighborhood that we loved. It’s a family vibe through and through.”
Before their at-home production, many of these songs got their start as road lyrics. Coming together in late-night creative sessions in motel rooms, their words tell the story of longing for home while calling on the influence of whichever city or region they had visited that day.
“When you’re on the road traveling from place to place, and you don’t have anything tying you anywhere, in particular, you naturally start to look for some sort of spiritual home or stability,” explained Blasucci. “I think a lot of songs on this record are searching or pleading for something more concrete and rooted.”
Leading track, “Life on Fire” establishes an ambiance for the listener to settle into the sound. The spirited acoustic arrangements nod to past psychedelic inspiration. Traditional folk-like harmonies follow chase circular instrumentation, creating a rhythmic feel that allows the listener to revisit critical themes throughout the album. The duo explained these included: “Passage of time, places, feelings left behind, moving forward even when the blinding light blurs a clear path.”
Songs like “Cowboy” portray the peculiar LA scene with an anthropological lens. “We see a lot of cowboys in hats and boots driving Audis and hailing Ubers here in LA,” explained Blasucci. “There’s a level of satire that comes from being able to laugh at yourself, but at the end of the day, it’s also an ode being what you want to be and who you really are at heart.”
“There’s a real thread of melancholy running through it,” adds Finch. “It’s poking fun at this LA country scene that we’re so happy and proud to be a part of, but there’s also a sense of longing for love and travel and adventure.”
The incorporation of the Spanish language nods to both Blasucci’s personal experience in that country as well as broader cultural Mexican influence in their daily life, living in LA.
“Traditional Mexican music has always been an important influence on our sound,” says Sam Blasucci. “With this record, we had more time than ever to dive into that world.” “Me Voy Pa’l Pueblo,” “Me Da Muerte,” and “Igual” reverb reverence for time and place. Their adoption of the language and ability to tell their stories through a non-native tongue is exemplary of the melting pot that is their Southern California home.
“Writing and singing in Spanish was also reflective of life on Liberty Street,” adds Finch. “Mexican culture and music are intertwined into the fabric of the neighborhood and shaped our experiences living there.”
Hitting the airwaves at a strange time, Mapache feels their album can provide necessary comforts as humanity navigates the unknowns. “There are a lot of uncertain things up in the air with humanity at the moment, and we hope this record offers listeners a feeling of grounding, as it did to us while we were making it.”
Listen to “From Liberty Street” from whatever street your home is on, here.