Jon Rauhouse loves to record music in Tucson.
You can't really blame the Phoenix-based multi-instrumentalist for recording at Tucson's WaveLab Recording Studio when he's got folks like John Convertino, Jacob Valenzuala and Joey Burns, among others, to record with, as they have all done multiple times. Most recently, the trio of Tucson musicians worked on Rauhouse's latest CD, The Jon Rauhouse Orchestra, which is a truly delightful record.
Rauhouse has recorded tracks for each of his solo efforts at downtown's WaveLab, which has hosted everyone from Neko Case (for whom Rauhouse regularly works for as part of her touring band) to Jonathan Richman and Robyn Hitchcock. The longtime fixture on the Tucson scene boasts one of the better rooms in Arizona in which to record an album which is one of the reasons Rauhouse keeps coming back.
"We did six songs at WaveLab because I love that place and when you are in Tucson you can use John Convertino and Joey Burns and Jacob Valenzuela from Calexico," says Rauhouse from his second home in Lilliwaup, Washington.
In addition to being the glue that holds Calexico together, Burns and Convertino are also regular collaborators with Tucson legend Howe Gelb of Giant Sand fame. Convertino seems to really enjoy playing music with Rauhouse.
"He's a master musician, has a heart of gold, and is funny and sardonic as hell, plus he has a super sweet wife," says Convertino, who plays on two tracks off of The Jon Rauhouse Orchestra, and is apparently a big fan of Raushouse's wife Jennifer, who plays baritone ukulele on the record as well.
The two tracks in question, which also feature Joey Burns, are "I Can't Stay Mad At You" and "Topeka Windsock." The former is a fun little song based on a Simpson's episode where Homer brings a sandwich home from a company picnic.
"People think I'm singing about a girlfriend or something and really it's Homer singing to a sandwich," says Rauhouse.
For "Topeka Windsock," a slightly over two-and-a-half-minute instrumental which features Rauhouse on banjo and Tommy Connell on guitar, as well as Burns on bass and Convertino on drums, the feel is a cross between Americana and Appalachia without any of the sinister Deliverance overtones one might expect when thinking about a banjo and Appalachia.
Rauhouse has made a good number of friends in the music business with his super busy touring and recording schedule. In addition to regularly playing with Case, he also plays with actor/musician Billy Bob Thornton's band, The Boxmasters, and Thornton even contributes drums to one track on The Jon Rauhouse Orchestra, "Picture of Hawaii," as well. Rauhouse's famous and not-so-famous friends tend to appear on multiple releases by the Arizona musician.
"I've been trying to keep the same cast of characters, at least some of the guys, through the whole thing out of like a stupid baseball superstition or something," says Rauhouse.
The Jon Rauhouse Orchestra is the sixth solo record for Rauhouse who has no desire to slow down. Later this year, he will release a record he did with Eric Bachman, formerly of Archers of Loaf, and continue his hectic touring pace while always looking for an opportunity to record or play in Tucson.