Original Americana/Classic Country/Bluegrass/Cajun Stanadards
Thanks for visiting the website for the High Desert Playboys! You can find us roaming about the southwest U.S. playing breweries, mountain town honky tonks and festivals. Our latest album, "Ticker Tape Parade" is available for pre-order now at www.slowstartrecords.com.
The Night That the City Hall Burned (Solo Acoustic Version)
The High Desert Playboys - Broken Down
High Desert Playboys "Check in When You Can"
The High Desert Playboys "I'm Broken Down" c2019 Clark Andrew Libbey
The High Desert Playboys have been delighting audiences throughout the southwest since 2016. Led by well known Albuquerque singer/songwriter Clark Andrew Libbey, they are one of the premier Americana bands in New Mexico.
Genres are fluid in the 21st century, and they are no exception. Mixing together bluegrass, classic country, cajun and psychedelic alt country, they have a modern americana sound which defies a single adjective. At once classic and modern, they hearken back to the
outlaw country of Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and Kris Kristofferson, the traditional Cajun sounds of New Orleans, and the country gospel of decades back, and yet comfortably sit with the likes of modern bands like Wilco and the Flaming Lips.
Accompanying Clark’s richly lyrical, soulful and fiercely catchy songs are some of Albuquerque and Santa Fe’s best musicians. Ryan Goodhue provides a melodic base as the piano and accordion player. Bud Melvin plays pedal steel and banjo.Kristen Rad plays the electric violin, Mikey Hale plays drums and Kent Malmquist, their newest addition, plays the electric guitar. They have gathered a reputation among their fans as a strong live act, with exceptional leads and angelic harmony vocals.
In September of 2019, the Playboys released their first full length album with Slow Start Records. “Country Songs for Your Trip to Mars”. Recorded on room mics alone with no overdubs, it reaches back to the days of “singing into a can”in the old honky tonk studios. Rich with lovely harmonies, catchy hooks and deeply sad and meaningful lyrics, it draws the listener into their first glimpse of a world of sadness, despair, beauty, wonder and hope. The album is full of stories born from love and loss, and fictions presented without judgment or comment. Songs like “Wishing Well” and “Sir Lawrence of New Mexico” dive deep into these fictions, but are seamlessly paired with simple, catchy bluegrass songs like “I’m Broken Down” to create a story arc sure to keep the listeners attention. The final track, “Golden Records”, the story of an alien invasion and the end of the human race (couched in a country song of course), caps off this unique album and quietly portends the psychedelic direction the band would explore next.
In February of 2022 the band will release their newest work, “Ticker Tape Parade”, also on Slow Start Records. Conceived over almost two years, the main tracks were recorded live in one of the finest studios in the Southwest, Rio Grande Studios. The home of nationally renowned recording engineer Ken Riley, it features a 300 year old adobe main room, perfect for the Playboys warm sound. For these songs they were joined by Jared Israel Putnam, the incredibly talented bass player from Le Chat Lunatique, one of New Mexico’s longest running and most well known jazz bands. Twelve songs were recorded live in less than a day, but covid-19 would have obstacles to finishing the record, and send the band in a direction reminiscent of the recordings of giants like Phil Specter and George Martin. Instead of returning to the studio, health and safety dictated the rest of the album would be finished at home, and over an extended period of time. Over the course of the next year the songs were meticulously flushed out, using every available instrumentation which could fit. Church bells, satellite dishes, shakers, tambourines, choirs and triangles all found their way on to the final mixes. The result is a lush musical and melodic landscape impossible prior to the advent of easily accessible, high quality recording outside of regular studios.
The story telling of the album was flushed out as well. The title track “Ticker Tape Parade (Part 1)” and the last track “Ticker Tape Parade (Part 2)” bookend a classic story of imposter syndrome played out throughout history. Our fictional character is put in charge of the community, and even after the community fails spectacularly and repeatedly, his conviction that his intentions and his actions were good leads him to expect a parade, and baffles him as to why no one wants to give him one. In Part 2, he is banished to a desert island,only to slowly go insane and create his own parade of crabs and coconuts, before dying of exposure on the beach. The songs along the way tell tales of misplaced expectations, unrequited love, ridiculous realizations and the tragic comedy of everyday life. The artist lives in this world, one of their own creation, in which their songs only seem to provide temporary comfort and respite.
We invite you to explore this fictional place created by this experienced and talented band…full of mountains and valleys, images lost with time and images too clear to forget, despair and happiness, confidence and doubt. There is no doubt you will agree..this is their most ambitious offering yet, and well worth the wait.
Keep an eye out as the band promotes this latest offering to the great theater of the world….we hope to see you out there!
We are available for bars, breweries, mountain town honky tonks, private parties, barn dances, hootenanys or really anything you like...write us a note!
313 1/2 Monroe St NE