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August 13, 2010
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Eagle County man goes nationwide to create new CD

EAGLE, Colorado - Unlike so much pre-programmed musical pollution with which we're bombarded, Cristian Basso asked actual musicians to make actual music.

The concept still works.

Basso released the Royal Peeps new CD, "Alessia's Walk."

Basso wrote the most of the music and plays bass. He assembled a group of world-class musicians to bring it to life.

Because they're in the music business, they describe it with terms like "Psycho-Acoustic Funk-Rock and Soul."

We'll just call it really good.

If the Neville Brothers, the Crystal Method and the Meters turned out a musical love child, it would sound like this.

"If you like Stevie Wonder, Lenny Kravitz and funk music this is for you," Basso says.

Mostly it's about love and happiness. You can let your kids listen to it because there are no explicit lyrics, which means kids can also let their parents listen to it.

It's a perspective Basso now can appreciate. His adorable baby daughter, Alessia, is two and a half. Basso is a dad, so he named the CD after his daughter. Dads do stuff like that.

Basso has a new dog, a new daughter, a new CD and a new outlook on life.

"Having her with me and the emotions that go with it made it important for this to be as honest as possible," Basso said.

"Alessia's Walk" was first recorded as a demo in Basso's Funk Bunker Studio in Eagle, but didn't take up permanent residence there. Creating the final product took eight months, Oct. 2009 through May 2010, and covered five studios in four states.

They recorded most of it at the Sea Palace Studio in Palos Verdes, Calif., with Joel Paul Geist and owner Jason Buck.

Johnny Lee Schell plays with Bonnie Raitt, and they found their way to his Ultratone Studio in Studio City, Calif. Jake Eckert of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band added some touches in The Red Room in New Orleans, then it was off to Tim Stambaugh's studio Word of Mouth in New Orleans, and the Organ Wolf Studio in Chicago.

Basso has been playing with the Royal Peeps for 10 years. It doesn't take that long to figure out who can play together and who can't. Basso has been working on the record for about two years. The band has been at it for a year, Basso says.

Artists were added as tracks changed and new ideas emerged. He had one guy in mind for the vocals, but that guy fell apart and Ty Taylor fell into his orbit.

"Ty Taylor was introduced to me and I'm glad he was," Basso said.

Basso says he was trying to create a record that would mean something to musicians he respects and with whom he has performed.

The record is a collection of Basso's songs inspired by the birth of his daughter, Alessia.

In the music world, things beget other things. Basso did a little work with Alligator Records, so now he knows a guy who knows a guy at Warner Brothers.

He picked up the phone, talked like he knew what he was talking about and the next thing Basso knew he was in a studio overlooking the Pacific Ocean, working with some of the musicians he respects most in this world.

"These artists really are at a different level. The name of the band is a tip of the hat to them," Basso says. "Sea Palace studio went out of their way to host this project."

The wonders of modern technology allowed the players to be all over the country, interpret the music, make a recording and e-mail it to Basso, asking if that's what he wanted. If it wasn't, they'd try something else.

"Alessia Walks" was walking before they knew it.

They got together in several places, and worked at it until the music was right.

Basso presented the unmastered version to Warner Brothers Music Group. The Warner Brothers folks are riding around El Lay listening to it. So far, they like what they hear and want a final version for a possible record deal.

That puts them in the running for other Warner Brothers projects. Basso has been asked for a new version of a theme song from an old television private eye show, "The Rockford Files."

The Royal Peeps will be performing live this fall in Los Angeles, and are trying to nail down a Vail Street Beat date. Their future may include some dates in Brazil.

The CD kickoff is scheduled for December in Los Angeles.

Listen for yourself. Download the CD and an instrumental version of "Alessia's Walk" at www.royalpeepsmusic.com. Locally, Mojo Music store has the record.

It's been great so far, but as Basso talks, his daughter plays nearby and he's grounded.

"The most important thing is that the family is healthy. If this gets bigger, that's icing on the cake," he says.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or rwyrick@vaildaily.com.


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The VailDaily Updated Aug 13, 2010 03:41PM Published Aug 13, 2010 03:33PM Copyright 2010 The VailDaily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.