THE DERANGERS’ WESTERMENTAL SOUND
One hot Saturday afternoon in 1988, Texas blues guitarist Drew Townson, then freshly relocated to Boston from Dallas, was watching "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly" on TV. The music in the legendary Italian western caught Drew's attention, big time. He jumped off the couch, grabbed his guitar, and began playing in a whole new way. That moment changed Drew's musical direction forever. In 1989, he started the Derangers (rhymes with strangers), dedicated to playing spooky instrumental themes, encompassing spaghetti western, surf, spy-jazz, and more. The first original recording by The Derangers was a cinematic western called "Rio Sangre," released in 1990, which was internationally hailed as a standout track. Some called it “desert surf” or “Texas surf.” By the early ‘90s, film directors like David Lynch and Quentin Tarantino also began exploring this haunted, reverberant sound in their movies. As a guitarist, Drew had always been a fan of Duane Eddy and surf guitar kings like Dick Dale and The Ventures, as well as wearing his love for Texas blues on his sleeve at all times. So it was only natural to combine these influences in to the Derangers' "Westermental" sound. Armed with his vintage Stratocaster, Daphne Blue, Drew and guys gigged, toured and recorded steadily from 1990 to 2000, always exploring the twangiest side of “surf.” In 2011, after a decade of dormancy, Drew resurrected the band and the sound, returning to catch the wave of a new and vibrant instrumental generation. Get ready to “Twang ‘em High;” the Derangers ride again!
“The Legend of Daphne Blue” is a retrospective of the best Derangers instrumental music spanning more than two decades. 1990’s original spaghetti western-styled theme, “Rio Sangre” is the collection’s oldest track, and the band’s twangified cover of “Wichita Lineman,” recorded in November of 2013, is the newest.
The music ranges from straight early ‘60’s California surf with tracks like “Santa Monica” and “Monkey Island” to the exotic spy jazz and Arabesque motifs of “Ether Cocktail” and “The Impaler.” There’s “’69 Firebird’s” hot rod sound and the lush tropical layering of “Agave Rain.” But the main wave of the Derangers’ sound is their “Westermental” themes. Tracks like “Rio Sangre,” “Tears of the Seneca,” “Twang ‘em High,” and “El Chupacabra” conjure cinematic images of a lone rider emerging over the desert horizon, making his way toward a doomed desert town, accompanied only by danger.
Front and center is Drew Townson’s steely, reverb-clad guitar, supported by a cast of some of the best players in the New England music scene.
So jump in your vintage Longhorn Caddy Convertible, turn west on Route 66, and cruise to the Westermental sound of The Derangers’ first full length album, “The Legend of Daphne Blue and the Westernmental Sound.”
"To hell with 'spaghetti western' soundtracks. The Derangers have an original take on high-atmosphere twang that's fueled by Texas barbecue and dust. Guitarist Drew Townson's melodies evoke not only the open spaces of the prairies and deserts, but the sound of the surf, balancing retro-cool with a lean modernity that keeps the band's sound fresh and timeless." Ted Drozdowski, Guitar World