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Escondido may be based in Nashville but the duo of Tyler James and Jessica Maros has its heart in the Western desert. Dusty and elegantly dramatic, Escondido's 2013 debut The Ghost of Escondido showcases a duo who found a common atmospheric ground between dream pop and country-rock, trading upon sounds of the '60s, '70s, and '90s -- Lee Hazlewood & Nancy Sinatra, Fleetwood Mac, and Mazzy Star are recognizable touchstones and they can also bring to mind Jenny Lewis in her cowgirl phase -- as they create a dreamy, enveloping panoramic Western pastiche.
Tyler James and Jessica Maros came to Nashville separately. Maros hails from Vancouver, British Columbia and she headed to the Music City with a record deal but wound up designing clothes and jewelry. James is from Iowa and eked out a living as a solo artist before becoming part of the wild, wooly collective Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros. After leaving Sharpe's crew, James moved to Nashville and set up a home studio, which is where he met Maros when he was recording Leanne Ford, a mutual friend of theirs. Finding a common musical ground, the pair formed Escondido, recruited like-minded supporting musicians, and recorded their debut album live at the Nashville venue the Casino on October 17, 2011. This recording eventually surfaced in early 2013 as The Ghost of Escondido and helped the duo gain attention, including a spot on Conan O'Brien's TNT talk show and the hit NBC drama Nashville, as well as Tweeted praise from David Lynch for their song "Black Roses." ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine