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  • Jonathan Widran


Located 60 miles northeast of Sacramento, the small town of Nevada City, CA serves as a base for recreation in the nearby Tahoe National Forest, South Yuba River and the High Sierras. Since 2001, it’s also been the home of the Nevada City Film Festival (NCFF), aka the “Sundance of the Sierra” for its emphasis on fiercely independent cinema and bringing top indie film, music and comedy, international filmmakers and industry guests for a week showcasing progressive new voices in film.

For obvious reasons, its 20th Anniversary celebration was limited to streaming and drive-in formats. But on the very positive side, the festival made a brilliant decision to partner with indie powerhouse Dowd Records to bring the musical artists and culture of Nevada City to the event’s audience and fans. One of the grand results of this partnership is the dynamic compilation The Nevada City Album Vol. 1, which features songs from 13 dynamic artists from all over the indie rock spectrum.

It’s an expansive showcase bookended with the lilting acoustic coolness of Brett Shady’s “Dear Life” (featuring a smoky sax solo) and quirky charms of The Moore Brothers (“Peaks and Passes”). Dowd’s roster has a little somethin’ for everyone’s tastes, from the easy rolling blues/rock of Jessica Lynn and Broken Spoke (“Coming Down”) and quirky brooding and blistering of Beautiful Dudes (“Beverly Hills”) to Cherry Rats’ punky slamming (“Killed Alive”) and the seductive shoegazing transcendence of Casual Fog (“400 Degrees”). Another personal favorite whose title sums up how you’ll feel when you listen to this album from start to finish is the peppy and whimsical Shapes Freely tune “In Gratitude.”

A few noteworthy asides: The Nevada City Album Vol 1, is available as a limited edition vinyl record and a digital streaming album. The performance videos will feature live performances and videos made by each artist that range from intimate acoustic sets to full band shows. The videos premiered online as part of the streaming festival programming during the festival, which ran from August 28 through September 4 2020.

Listen to The Nevada City Album, Vol. 1 here:


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