In a one-two punch of excellent Americana music, Sonoma County country-folk collective Frankie Boots & the County Line and San Francisco folk rockers the Sam Chase & the Untraditional will share the stage on May 14 in Petaluma for a dual album-release showcase.
Frankie Boots is unveiling his sophomore release, Leave the Light On, while the Sam Chase’s new record, Great White Noise, gets a North Bay premiere. Both albums exhibit superb songwriting and top-notch production born out of personal passion and plenty of sweat.
For Frankie Boots, a Sebastopol-based bandleader whose County Line formed in 2012, Leave the Light On is “an album we’ve bled over for the last two-and-half years,” he says. The bulk of the album was recorded at Frogville Studios in Santa Fe, N.M., the same location that Boots made his first, self-titled album.
“A lot of folks ask why we choose to go all the way down to Santa Fe to record, and it’s hard to explain if you haven’t been there,” says Boots. “Magic happens at Frogville, and it’s inspirational as hell.”
His first album was recorded in two weeks, but Boots and the County Line took their time on this record, adding elements like strings, piano, horns and even some synth to the guitars and banjos. What wasn’t done in Santa Fe was completed in Sonoma County, at Greenhouse Recording in Petaluma and White Whale Recording Studio in Santa Rosa.
Leave the Light On features a dozen stellar country rock, Southern gospel and Texas two-step songs with engaging instrumentals and Boots’ dusty voice singing about barstools and a “Duel at Dawn,” conjuring images of Wild West living. Yet, thematically, the album hits much closer to home for Boots.
“The record is about trying to stay positive and keep moving forward in the face of adversity,” he says. “As an independent artist, there are days when you wake up and it feels like the weight of the world is on your shoulders. You wonder if you’re going to be living hand to mouth like this for the rest of your life. Those are the times you have to remember to leave the light on.”
Still, Boots considers himself lucky to live and play in Sonoma County’s tight-knit musical community.
“These dudes,” he says of the County Line, “are my best friends, and we’ve shared a lot of unbelievable times together. I feel like we’ve come a long way.”