What Ails You


Poco meets Pink Floyd?

El Capitan, a San Francisco-based group of modern-day space cowboys, are on to something. After all, David Gilmour used a pedal steel on “Dark Side of the Moon’s” opener, “Breathe.”

Or is it Grateful Dead meets Yes? “What Ails You,” El Capitan’s first full-length, features a generous dose of fuzzed-out lap steel, sounding somewhat like Jerry Garcia’s “American Beauty”-era pedal steel; and its lyrics are esoteric enough to earn the Jon Anderson Seal of Approval. Get a load of this slice from “Silo Song”:

Salt wind dash along a pastel plain
On the feathers of an immigrant constellation
Over the siren flyways of the mariposa lane
Above an outta-place silo for the alpine grain

Rounding out the group’s well-thought-out, much-practiced sound are electric, resonator and acoustic guitars; banjo; harmonica; keyboards; accordion; violin; bass; and drums. But don’t let the rustic lineup fool you: This is about as far from bluegrass as possible.

Whatever planet El Capitan is from, rest assured they come in peace — to grab listeners with a tractor beam of solid musicianship, rural themes and laid-back melodies, and transport them to the far corners of the cosmos. At least until the CD ends.

1. Manzanita I
2. Osage Orange
3. Bonny Doon
4. May
5. Metronome
6. Cat’s Cradle
7. Silo Song
8. Key Of K
9. Manzanita II
10. Fare Alone Sound
11. Clementine Bells

Total time: 35:47

External Tracks
artist’s link
Miles of Music