For a good portion of Portland, Oregon’s music scene, Rick Pedrosa is the go-to guy for pedal steel guitar. A frequent guest on local records, he’s a fixture in the bands Federale and Abronia, both traffickers of cinematic psych-rock with a patina of desert dust. The cosmic country & western Pedrosa plies on this nice little solo EP stays pretty close to that territory, though the tone he paints in isn’t a gritty, wounded noir, it’s a deep, star-speckled midnight indigo, a comforting darkness, something close and yet expansive.
The first track, “Finding the Temple”, is a dramatic slice of exotica carried by a glowing organ motif. Definitely an alluring summons from a far-off land, a “Kashmir” for cowboys, maybe. “Out Dreams” comes back to American soil, only to float like a phantom a few inches above it. It’s here that the pedal steel comes to the fore, in a sympathetic exchange with a plaintive harmonica. The finale is the casually exquisite “From Evening to Dawn”, which would sound mighty fine anywhere within that titular time frame.
Pedrosa doesn’t seem to be taking himself too seriously, even if he’s eminently conscientious in the assembly of his tracks, and that’s a pretty rewarding combination. If Pedrosa’s tired of losing, he can take heart in the three-for-three winning streak on this EP.