You just can’t quite put your finger on Cuesta Drive’s CD, Where the Palm Trees Grow. It sounds so familiar, yet at the same time, peculiarly different. That’s probably because their vast range of extremely dissimilar influences can most often be heard on a bike ride down DP on any given afternoon.
This comes as no surprise, considering three of the members that make up Cuesta Drive cut their musical teeth together at UCSB’s neighboring university, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. While the three attended Cal Poly – where, like Santa Barbara, classic rock, reggae beats, funk and laid-back sounds are the typical student’s music of choice – they would regularly play at local parties for beer money (or just beer).
By the time the lead singer Dane Drewis graduated from Poly and moved back home to suburban Sacramento, bassist Tim Diedesch and percussion/rhythm guitar/vocals aficionado Mike Camilleri had also moved back to Sacramento to attend the local CSU. After the move, the group made the decision to start playing for more than just booze.
With the addition of Louisiana native and Army veteran Mike Marsh on the drums, the group saved up the cash to produce their second CD, Where the Palm Trees Grow.
Drewis and Camilleri wrote the lyrics in what Camilleri has dubbed a “Lennon-McCartney-esque arrangement.” Their playlist is as diverse as their influences. “Smooth It Out” plays like ’80s blues rhythms, while their cover song, “Where the Palm Trees Grow,” is reminiscent of the sounds of the locally loved Revolution. The darker lyrics of “Mary Anne,” – which was written by Drewis’s younger sister Deena, a sophomore at UCSB – give the album a pleasant contrast.
The band is currently working on their third album, while making extra cash filling bars everywhere from Santa Cruz to San Francisco and, as Camilleri noted, watching plenty of Giants’ games in the meantime. For more information and tour dates, visit www.cuestadrive.com.