A classic ode to getting low down in the casinos and dens of iniquity, ‘High Roller’ presented a colourful sonic palette of both melancholy and cheap thrills with images of chemical clouds and flashing cruisers alike. On the timeless and defiant declaration, Glide Magazine praised the track’s “slow-churning piano boogie and twangy pedal steel”, adding “The tune is a proper work of alt-country. In true Cordovas fashion, there is a timelessness to the music that makes it feel like this tune could have come out of the cosmic country-rock eras of the 1970s, 90s, or right now.”
Discussing the single, Joe Firstman stated, “The lyrical narrative of Cordovas, routed a new path once we went and partied with Stanley. High Roller is like a prankster anthem.”
Cordovas are hitting the road this summer, having just wrapped up the European headline dates and upcoming U.S. dates through July, August and October 2023, with shows at iconic Garcia’s At The Capitol Theater in Port Chester, NY and a celebration of the album’s release on August 11 at the Fox Theatre in Boulder CO. Tickets are on sale now, please visit cordovasband.com for more information.
Kicking off ‘The Rose of Aces’ and Cordovas’s new chapter with the previous single, ‘Fallen Angels of Rock‘n’Roll‘, the communal living rock outfit that has already caught the attention of everyone from Rolling Stone to CBS Saturday. They are back with a new album that showcases a band at their very best, hitting their creative stride after logging thousands of hours on the road, developing dexterous musical chops and pushing their vocals to the limit. The band has long cited influences like the Allman Brothers, Grateful Dead, and the Band. And while Cordovas can certainly jam, they’ve also long been acclaimed as tapping into the more songwriting-oriented side of those forebears. From the first single and onward, you can hear the band honing their craft, soon to establish them as “Nashville’s best rock and roll band.”
Cordovas are fueled by the long strange trip of frontman Joe Firstman, who had a circuitous path through his young adulthood. Raised by a weed-dealing veteran father and an opera singer mother in Charlotte, the young Firstman took a Greyhound to Los Angeles in the early ‘00s and quickly became a buzzy young songwriter opening for Sheryl Crow and Willie Nelson. His era as a chaotic “drunken nightmare” and industry-famous Atlantic Records drop-out is the stuff of legend. Landing on his feet with a stint as Carson Daly house band host, Joe eventually became the fearless leader of Cordovas. Now 43, Firstman is at a reflection point in his career, finding peace in the insights that come with accepting the bumps in the road on the long strange trip that is life. “Everything is victory as long as you can pull it out of the trash and polish it off and identify it as such,” says Joe.
Cordovas is a state of constant flow: Firstman, guitarist Lucca Soria, and their various co-conspirators gathering in their twin outposts — a farm in Nashville, and a hideout in the artist community and spiritual home of the Baja California town Todos Santos — to jam out ideas. Before the dust remotely began to settle on their latest release, Destiny Hotel, Cordovas were already back in the shop, working up a trove of songs from which The Rose of Aces would emerge. Drawing on fragments of various American and classic traditions, from The Grateful Dead to Marcel Proust, the musical result is as refreshing as a summer breeze blowing through the palm trees.
Firstman will be the first to credit the great results to the collective. Cordovas are made up of co-conspirator guitarist Lucca Soria, plus a revolving cast of characters who feature in the live band or join in the studio. From the songwriting contributions from singer-songwriter Mark Cline Bates to the studio magic of CH McCoy, Kelsey Lepperd, Colton Stephens, Tyler Nuffer, Firstman brings together a group of like-minded individuals who together can conjure pure free-wheeling rock. There are all kinds of characters in Cordovas’ orbit, including the namesakes of the album — hotel owners Ace and Rose down in Mexico, who Firstman paid tribute to via an imagined Tarot card of an album name.
Their tales share stories of surviving getting low down in the high roller room, resisting the allure of the fallen angels of rock ’n’ roll, and being inspired by the landscapes they inhabit from the southern rivers of Nashville to the beautiful beaches of Baja. “We started to catch a flow.” said Firstman of their process, “We set the songs to the wind. And slowly the figure emerged from the block of clay.”
Torchbearers of rock and roll’s spirit, joints are still lit and roads are still rambled down, finding contentment in the sunshine, healing in the music and the knowledge that love is all it takes. Cordovas ramble with purpose, seeking salvation from the sordid corners of life, paying homage to the friends back in the day who didn’t make it, and changing brains to make them useful for society. Firstman says. “What happens when you let that stuff in and you become it? What does your brain tell you then? Go feel that, and the standard you set and the call you make to your friends and the thing you said you were gonna do that mattered. How did you feel the next morning? What song did you write?”