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America - Live in Concert: Wildwood Springs - 2008 - America

America: Live in Concert Wildwood Springs celebrates a line that started with the release of their first album in 1972. Both releases open with Riverside, a song which perfectly captures America’s greatest assets, pure harmonies and damn near perfect songwriting. Inspired by the success with their last release, (2007’s Here and Now), they sound as alive as they did they first formed in high school in 1969. Recorded in front of an intimate audience at Wildwood Springs in Missouri, America has made their finest live release and one of their best albums ever. The 19 songs emphasize the acoustic side of America that first brought them to our attention all those years ago. Over the course of the concert America pulls out a few hits as well as some obscurities from their massive catalog. The connecting point for all the songs is that, stripped of synthesizers and forced orchestration that seemed to show up on so many of their later releases, America has always created the perfect mixture of the Beatles and Crosby Stills and Nash. Like the Beatles they came with a very strong pop sensibility. George Martin didn’t work with America for so long because they are idiots. He knew how gifted as songwriters they are. Like CSN, they understand harmony as only the Beach Boys, The Everly Brothers and the very best of Do Wop groups seem to. It is an instinctive and natural understanding that makes singing sound so pure, so easy, that you either fly with them or die of envy. While the release holds it’s share of hits, it is the more obscure songs from the America catalog that prove to be the real gems. We have all heard Ventura Highway, I Need You, Tin Man and Sister Golden Hair . However, when placed besides Windwave, Submarine Ladies or especially Cornwall/Blank/Hollywood, you begin to see how strong America has been all these years. New songs from Here and Now such as Chasin’ the Rainbow and Ride On fit seamlessly into the set and sound as if they were always there. It is the willingness of Gerry Beckley and Dewey Bunnell to rely on the songs themselves that really makes this such a great CD. Everything they play is stripped to it’s essence. The piano and slight tapping on the bass that open Daisy Jane only needs the addition of a single guitar and the faultless harmonies to open the song up. When the bass kicks in after the first chorus it creates such a warm intimacy that you feel as if you are eavesdropping on the singer as he confesses to his girl. As often as I have heard this song, it sounds brand new. Their debut featured a fair amount of acoustic jamming. As they became successful so quickly, America tended to steer clear of this and concentrate on the tightness of the song. Wildwood Springs sees America stretching out on one or two songs and doing it with some strong results. Judging from the applause that greats the middle of Cornwall Blank when they start to attack the heck out of song and than, without blinking, move it straight into a very forceful version of Hollywood that leaves the original stranded in the hills, this is something they should do a little more often. In the three decades plus that lay between the 1972 debut and the new live album America has traveled the world and become road warriors, armed with acoustic guitars and voices that melt together. Featuring a memorable guest spot by Rusty Young (Poco) near the end, Live in Concert Wildwood Springs perfectly reminds us what is missing from so much of music today; musicians who can sing without pro-tools, songwriters who craft a hook from their heart instead of their previously sampled chart success, and especially performers who don’t take their audience for granted. This release to may be a bit to find. You might have to go through CD Baby to get it. It will be worth the effort. The concert they have recorded is among their best work ever and deserves to be heard. 03/25/2009 © Mark Squirek © 2002-2009 Matthew Rowe © http://www.musictap.net/Reviews/2009/March/AmericaLiveInConcertWildwoodSprings.html

This acoustic performance was recorded at the Wildwood Springs Lodge in Steelville, MO. The band played two shows on Friday 21/9/07, and Saturday 22/9/07. Over the two shows, America played 28 songs. 22 of these tracks are released on two album versions ; 19 on the post here, and 22 on the iTunes Bonus Tracks release.


1 Riverside - Dewey Bunnell 3:53
2 Ventura Highway - Dewey Bunnell 4:12
3 Daisy Jane - Gerry Beckley 3:19
4 Windwave - Dewey Bunnell 3:13
5 Pages - Dewey Bunnell, Gerry Beckley 4:36
6 Chasin' the Rainbow - Gerry Beckley 2:46
7 One Chance - Gerry Beckley 5:01
8 I Need You - Gerry Beckley 2:45
9 Cornwall Blank/Hollywood - Dewey Bunnell 7:40
10 Tin Man - Dewey Bunnell 4:05
11 Submarine Ladies - Gerry Beckley 3:44
12 Inspector Mills - Gerry Beckley 5:14
13 Only In Your Heart - Gerry Beckley 3:17
14 Ride On - Adam Schlesinger, Dewey Bunnell 4:02
15 Baby It's Up To You - Gerry Beckley 2:12
16 Sandman - Dewey Bunnell 4:39
17 Sister Golden Hair - Gerry Beckley 4:37
18 All My Life - Gerry Beckley 3:15
19 A Horse With No Name - Dewey Bunnell 5:17

iTunes Bonus Tracks [Not included here]

Three Roses
Till the Sun Comes Up Again
To Each His Own


Gerry Beckley - Lead and backing vocals, keyboards, guitars, bass, harmonica
Dewey Bunnell - Lead and backing vocals, guitars, percussion
Rusty Young - slide-guitar
Richard Campbell - Bass, Vocals
The 28 tracks played over the two dates are as follows -

All My Life
Baby It's Up to You
Chasing the Rainbow
Cornwall Blank / Hollywood
Daisy Jane
Don't Cross the River (Dewey played banjo)
Head And Heart
Horse With No Name (with Rusty Young)
I Need You
Indian Summer
Inspector Mills
Lonely People
One Chance
Only In Your Heart
Ride On
Sister Golden Hair (with Rusty Young)
Submarine Ladies (Gerry played harmonica & Dewey's banjo)
The Last Unicorn
Three Roses
Til the Sun Comes Up Again
Tin Man
To Each His Own
Ventura Highway
You Can Do Magic


America was a light folk-rock act of the early '70s who had several Top Ten hits, including the number ones "A Horse with No Name" and "Sister Golden Hair." Vocalists/guitarists Dewey Bunnell, Dan Peek, and Gerry Beckley met while they were still in high school in the late '60s; all three were sons of U.S. Air Force officers who were stationed in the U.K. After they completed school in 1970, they formed an acoustic folk-rock quartet called Daze in London, which was soon pared down to the trio of Bunnell, Peek, and Beckley. Adopting the name America, the group landed a contract with Jeff Dexter, a promoter for the Roundhouse concert venue. Dexter had America open for several major artists and the group soon signed with Warner Bros. Records. By the fall of 1970, the group was recording their debut album in London, with producers Ian Samwell and Jeff Dexter. "A Horse with No Name," America's debut single, was released at the end of 1971. In January 1972, the song -- which strongly recalled the acoustic numbers of Neil Young -- became a number three hit in the U.K. The group's self-titled debut album followed the same stylistic pattern and became a hit as well, peaking at number 14. Following their British success, America returned to North America, beginning a supporting tour for the Everly Brothers. "A Horse with No Name" was released in the U.S. that spring, where it soon became a number one single, pushing Neil Young's "Heart of Gold" off the top of the charts; America followed the single to the top of the charts. "I Need You" became another Top Ten hit that summer, and the group began work on their second album. "Ventura Highway," the first single released from this collaboration, became their third straight Top Ten hit in December of 1972. In the beginning of 1973, America won the Grammy Award for Best New Artist of 1972. Homecoming was released in January of 1973, becoming a Top Ten hit in the U.S. and peaking at number 21 in the U.K. America's essential sound didn't change with this record; it just became more polished. However, the hits stopped coming fairly soon -- they had only one minor Top 40 hit in 1973. Hat Trick, the group's third album, was released toward the end of 1973; it failed to make it past number 28 on the American charts. Released in the late fall of 1974, Holiday was the first record the group made with producer George Martin. Holiday returned America to the top of the charts, peaking at number three and launching the hit singles "Tin Man" and "Lonely People." "Sister Golden Hair," pulled from 1975's Hearts, became their second number one single. That same year, the group released History: America's Greatest Hits, which would eventually sell over four million copies. Although America's 1976 effort Hideaway went gold and peaked at number 11, the group's audience was beginning to decline. After releasing Harbor to a lukewarm reception, Dan Peek left the group, deciding to become a contemporary Christian recording artist. The group continued as a duo; their last Martin-produced record, Silent Letter, was released in 1979 to little attention. America returned to the Top Ten in 1982 with "You Can Do Magic," an adult contemporary pop number that featured synthesizers along with their trademark harmonies. "The Border" became their last Top 40 hit in 1983, peaking at number 33. After releasing America in Concert in the summer of 1985, the group continued to tour successfully into the '90s, resurfacing in 1998 with Human Nature. The early part of the new millenium saw America release not only a handful of live albums as well as a holiday-themed studio recording, but also the exhaustive, career-spanning box set Highway, released in 2000. On the heels of this renewed interest, America was tempted back into the studio in 2006 by longtime fans and musicians Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of Wayne and James Iha of the Smashing Pumpkins. Although encouraging Bunnell and Beckley to stick to America's core sound, producers Schlesinger and Iha brought in younger musicians influenced by America to guest on the album including Ryan Adams, Nada Surf, and others. With a release date set for early 2007, Here & Now features new material by America as well as covers written by bands heavily influenced by the soft rock pioneers. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine © 2010 Rovi Corporation. All Rights Reserved http://www.allmusic.com/artist/america-p3538/biography


A.O.O.F.C said...


p/w aoofc

Tucker(tje) said...

Ooooh it feels like Christmas already. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! :))

A.O.O.F.C said...

Hallo, Tucker! Ik hoop u goed bent. Kerstmis is een grote tijd! Ik zal aan u spoedig spreken. Dank voor uw commentaar

guinea pig said...

In our orthodox church there is a period of 40 days before Christmas.
It quite a different time than in West, but in some case Good music is welcome.

A.O.O.F.C said...

Hi,GP (No.1). Regardless of religion, or religious practices, music in general unites people and has a pacifying effect. The world needs peace badly. I hope this blog contributes in some small way towards achieving that. Thanks, GP. TTU soon

congressive said...

Richard Campbell plays bass guitar, percussion and sings the third harmony on this CD, as per the credits on the jacket.


A.O.O.F.C said...

Thank you, congressive. I found your blog very interesting and well written. ATB