Future Country is an album that embodies the idea of musical collaboration and sonic experimentation within the underground country music scene of Northern California. The project, County Well, is led by musician and recording engineer Don Zimmer with the goal of connecting the talents of both local and traveling musicians. “Being free and creative were the main goals of this project,” says Zimmer. “And the name County Well comes from the idea of growing the well of musical collaborators in the area.”
The genesis of the project was Zimmer connecting with Graham Guest of the Houston, TX based band Moses Guest. “We started writing and collaborating together,” says Zimmer, “and then I would use anyone that came by the studio that had musical talent.
We just asked ourselves how much fun we could have trying different things.” The answer to that question seems to be “a lot,” as the album consistently shifts under your feet like a smooth, psychedelic carnival ride.
The album opens with the comforting bluesy swells of a pedal steel guitar, played by Joel Jaffe, on “Alabama,” but quickly shifts into an upbeat tempo as drums and bass play in a nearpolyrhythmic groove. The album opener sets the stage with punctuated shifts of beats and sounds that are found throughout the album.
Recording projects that have this much collaboration usually lack in a sense of rhythm and groove as musicians typically overplay parts, making the songs sound crowded–like too many people talking in a room. Future Country never allows that to happen. Zimmer starts with distinctive rhythms and determinedly keeps them to the end. “I would start with a click track and build everything from there,” says Zimmer. “The rhythmic aspect had to be tightened down. I wanted it to sound like a band playing together.”