The Ravenna Colt, "Slight Spell"
The Ravenna Colt is Johnny Quaid realizing and returning to his troubadour roots. He first conceptualized the group’s approach to alternative country more than a decade ago. Quaid was well immersed in music, from his own songwriting and performing, to his work as a recording engineer at Above the Cadillac Studios — chops that would serve the young songwriter well.
In 1998 Johnny joined Jim James on a project that would change their lives — My Morning Jacket. The group worked feverishly touring and recording and has not slowed down since. Quaid lends his guitar licks and engineering style on the first three albums, The Tennessee Fire, At Dawn, It Still Moves, as well as a barrage of EPs and singles.
Quaid departed from the group amicably at the start of 2004. He left his native Kentucky, headed west and worked as a carpenter while keeping a writer’s pen at hand. He addresses this immediately on “South Of Ohio,” singing “I lost my drawl in California.” It was upon moving back east that Johnny not only picked up where he left off with Above the Cadillac, but also felt it was time to get The Colt running free.
You hear myriad influences in The Ravenna Colt’s debut Slight Spell. “According to the Matador” combines Flying Burrito Brothers’ dark, spacious twang with a traditional folk in the vein of Townes Van Zandt and Bob Dylan. The reverberated swamp boogie “Forsake and Combine” evokes southern rock with a delicate, thinking man’s edge. The dreamy and windswept “Loner In Disguise” truly highlights the cosmic in Gram Parsons’ description of insurgent country as “cosmic American music.”
The mental scenery could be anything: a lone ballroom after a party, where the broken-hearted are reminiscing of the missed opportunities of the night (‘Loner in disguise’), a solitary walk through the mountains by the river (‘Now to begin’) or a drive through the little unpaved highways by the fields (‘Prepare to be delivered’). —Sloucher Zine UK
The Ravenna Colt’s sound is immediately familiar and cozy, built as it is on the shoulders of giants like Uncle Tupelo and The Jayhawks, but it is also distinctive in its frictionless glide. —One Track Mind
The group brings a great sound to the table, in between folk and dream-pop, with a certain southern rock flavor to it. —Chemical Magazine Sweden
The songs are tinged with a southern twang that leaves a sense of fascination and longing for a bygone era that may or may not have ever existed. —December’s Children
Filter Magazine: What was the most rewarding thing about making this record?
Johnny Quaid: Sitting down with a glass of bourbon and a cigar, listening to the record and letting it put me in a place that I wanted to create for the listener. … Also watching my kids dance around when they listen to it. When the kids dance and the dog doesn’t howl, I know I’ve done well.