Chris Isom – Lead Vocals, Lead Guitar
Adrienne Isom – Guitar, Vocals
Annie Rothschild – Upright Bass, Vocals
Justin Smith – Drums
Before they came together in 2012 as NOCONA, husband-and-wife team, Chris and Adrienne Isom, along with charismatic southern-native, Annie Rothschild, were 3/4’s of the LA based Roots-Folk-Punk band Paladino, who ended their time together playing the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tennessee. Longtime friend and accomplished drummer, Justin Smith (Old Californio, The Seeds) joined Chris, Adrienne and Annie as NOCONA, now an energetic Americana-Rock group that delivers free spirited, up-tempo tunes and infectious hooks that are brimming with heartfelt emotion and honesty, penned by songwriter Chris Isom.
NOCONA returned to Bonnaroo in 2013 after touring much of the year. The band landed a song on the hit T.V show Bones and received critical reviews after playing Fillmore West and SF’s Independent opening up for Broke Down in Bakersfield. NOCONA has already begun recording their next full length release.
A music veteran, Chris spent time playing in NYC Anti-Folk/Art-Punk bands Mooney Suzuki and The Adam Green Band which adds to NOCONA’S diverse sound, incorporating punk and underground into their Country-Rock . The name NOCONA, is a nod to Chris’ Texas roots. “Nocona is the area in Texas where my Mom’s family originally lived; it comes from the Comanche word for Wanderers or Travelers.” Chris’ mom, even has ties to music history, once playing the role of tutor to Joe B. Mauldin ofBuddy Holly and The Crickets.
The influence of 1950’s artists like Buddy Holly are clearly heard on NOCONA’S debut album and they remind listeners that it was that marriage between early American rock ‘n’ roll along with a youthful, rebellious and socially conscious mindset that brought about the whole punk movement of the late 1970s. NOCONA who do well in evolving that sound and spirit, take things one step further by drawing on psychedelic bands like the 13th Floor Elevators and Love, along with the California twang of Buck Owens and Gram Parsons, crossed with the Outlaw Country of Johnny Cash. The mix of these varied musical tastes, comes together to bring a distinct style that takes risks and delivers a sound unlike any other artists today.
“This is the first music I’ve written that’s free from a lot of the artistic hang ups that have stifled my writing in the past,” says Chris. “I’ve let go and just accepted the process, and sometimes that means exploring melodies and lyrics that used to be too personal for me to share with anyone. Other times, it means just shutting up and rocking the fuck out,” says Chris.
Over the past year, NOCONA has been hard at work and recently finished their first full-length album, which was recorded at Kevin Jarvis’s Sonic Boom Room studio in Venice, California. Their first single, “Brimstone,” is one of the mellower tracks on the album, but has a steady movement that features driving acoustic blues riffs and harmonica along with an engaging boy/girl sung verse that is filled with honesty as the dialogue candidly tells the story of Chris and Adrienne’s marriage.
Adding to the eclectic sound on NOCONA, is the work of renowned pedal steel guitarist, Greg Leisz (Emmylou Harris, Beck, Bruce Springsteen, Eric Clapton), a friend of Annie’s. “When I played the material for him, he was excited and I was overjoyed that he was willing to share his genius,” she says.
NOCONA is a collection of songs that will appeal to any taste. Ranging from Whites Of Your Eyes, an evocative panoramic track reminiscent of the higher energy moments of Calexico or Canadian alt country pioneers, The Sadies, but with a strong nod to the same western and surf influences. Train Song, a contemplative chilling track echoing some of the English folk melodic sensibility of a Bert Janch but with a contemporary hard alt-americana rock feel. Hated, a devil may care pop song recalling some of the best pop sensibilities of CCR but with a contemporary Nashville West twist. My Oh My, a modern plains cowboy road song rave-up with several unexpected turns. Brimstone, the first single and homage to the great tradition, where the crossroads between Americana blues, country, folk and pop, intersect.