Sounds

The Our Fifty States Project began as a publicity stunt and has ended, 17 years and a pandemic later, as a 54-album set—one for each state in the union plus Puerto Rico, other U.S. territories, the District of Columbia, and the moon.
OUR FIFTY STATES PROJECT
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To California, from California

The roundabout product of an alternative-folk songwriter, a Los Angeles comedian, and the COVID-19 pandemic, California is a bizarre, tongue-in-cheek love letter to the state, one perhaps best appreciated as ‘folk’ music.

Native son Buck Owens helped define the raw and rough-hewn Bakersfield sound that cemented California’s important role in the evolution of country music.
COURTESY OF BUCK OWENS PRIVATE FOUNDATION
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California Deserved a Bigger Role in the Ken Burns Country Music Doc

The filmmaker's ambitious eight-part, 16-hour documentary Country Music focuses on a uniquely American art form—and could have dug even deeper into California's contributions to the genre.

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Our 10 Favorite California-based Podcasts

Consider our favorite picks for podcasts from and about California, including selections from Dax Shepard, San Quentin and the Newport Police Department.

SOURCES: Apple, Edison Research and Libsyn
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How We Listen Now: The Podcast Boom

As advertising brings in revenue, will listeners be left behind?

Chicano Batman’s guitarist and singer Bardo Martinez (right) rocks a Florida crowd earlier this year with the band’s potent blend of garage rock, psychedelia and Latin sounds.
TIM MOSENFELDER/GETTY IMAGES
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Chicano Batman’s Musical Stew

Latin, psychedelia and garage rock collide to make a unique but underappreciated sound

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California’s Best Podcasts

The recent explosion in podcasts — including the launch of Alta’s own podcast — is producing an enormous amount of interesting audio programming about California and the West. We’ve rounded up our favorites.

Buster Williams’ Something More Quartet performs at a Jazz Bakery show.
BOB BARRY/JAZZOGRAPHY
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Jazz Bakery’s Moveable Feast

After several itinerant years, Los Angeles' venerable performance space Jazz Bakery is hoping to put down some musical roots in a new Culver City building designed by Frank Gehry.

Exene Cervenka and Billy Zoom of X performing at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles last October on the legendary band’s 40th anniversary tour.
TIMOTHY NORRIS/GETTY IMAGES
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Los Angeles’ Wild Gift

Forty years on, X finally gets credit for its punky place in history. Erik Himmelsbach-Weinstein reflects on the band's impact — and what their music means today.

Hotel California Album Cover
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Hotel California

The Eagles’ classic "Hotel California” ended a musical era — and stood at the beginning of several new ones. This iconic album of summer rock anthems inspires our latest tribute.

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