Jason Vitelli: Head Above Tide

By Stephen Chow

I’m on my way to an annual tradition, driving up the coast to a surf spot to join some buddies to honor another buddy who’s been gone for a while. As in deceased. It’s not a sad trip. Quite the contrary. I need some road music and I also have an overdue deadline so I fire up Jason Vitelli’s Head Above Tide and it’s as though the album were made for the occasion as I quickly learned. That’s because Vitelli is the reigning prince of cinematic rock.

Here’s what grabbed me. The album feels like an epic wandering, weaving in and out of the seasons of a person’s life. The way Vitelli tells a tale accompanied by such gracious and effortless funkness from his extraordinary fellow musicians is irresistible.

There’s a certain kind of terrain you’re going to travel in Vitelli’s music. He’s built a world that is fascinating to explore while feeling very familiar and relatable. Head Above Tide is like the Odyssey if it were written by Tenacious D and Lin Manuel Miranda.

“Labyrinthine”

“The Persecuted”

Musicians:
Jason Vitelli – Vocals, keyboards, rhythm/lead guitars, alto sax, bass guitar and sampler
Michael O’Brien – Bass guitar
Yorgos Maniatis – Drums, shaker and pandeiro
Max Castro – Congas
Lisa Trenary- Backup vocals
Cherette White – Backup vocals
Dave Ramsay – Lead guitar
Richard Padrón – Lead guitar

Head Above Tide Track List:
1. Hit and Run
2. Fault Lines
3. The Persecuted
4. (descension)
5. Labyrinthine
6. Living Proof
7. D-Day
8. Welcome to My Life, Healing
9. (ascension)
10. Trees
11. Pinwheel
12. Autumn Hymn
13. Propagate
14. Vacant
15. Three Marionettes
16. A Mutiny

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