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Episode 160: David Serby
Air date: 5.18.2016
David Serby is a stalwart member of Los Angeles’ vibrant roots music community. He’s a local boy, born in North Hollywood, and aside from leading his own band (The Latest Scam) and playing bass for other artists, Serby co-founded The California Roots Union, an advocacy group with a stated mission of “preserving and promoting the California roots music scene, upholding its long legacy and fostering new talent.” It’s enough to make any mortal musician tired just thinking about it. When asked if he’s something other than mortal, or if, perhaps, his days have an extra hour or two, and Serby will politely demur - but his resume speaks otherwise. He is a prolific songwriter who has released five albums to date, the most recent of which is an eponymous double-disc set comprised of twenty songs that were culled from the fifty-odd songs he’d complied since his prior record. The David Serby and The Latest Scam record also marked a stylistic shift from the reputation he’d built as a country musician with a closet jones for acoustic folk. Inspired by the 80s British rock band Rockpile, Serby turned up the amps and jacked up the tempos in order to find a sonic palette that would allow him to express any Beatles, Stones, Ramones and Elvis Costello influences that had snuck in along with the Merle, Cash, Buck and Hank during his formative years. His band stepped up to the challenge and the record came with instructions to “PLAY LOUD” - thereby illuminating the blurred line between rock and country music that has evolved into the modern alternative country movement - a subgenre that now comes complete with its own awards show put on by the Americana Music Association, a distinct Grammy category and a growing fan base of people searching for authenticity in the digital music millennium. With feet planted firmly in both camps, David Serby has always had a front row seat at the party at the house where he has always lived.