Members of My Morning Jacket, City and Colour, and Grupo Fantasma join forces to make Spanish Gold


Dante Schwebel, left, Patrick Hallahan, center, and Adrian Quesada are Spanish Gold. (Alysse Gafkjen)

Spanish Gold singer-guitarist Dante Schwebel is afraid of being alone.

After amicably parting ways with longtime band Hacienda early in 2013, Schwebel had no one to play with. He considered a solo career, but quickly abandoned the idea.

“I’ve only ever been in bands so that was scary to me,” Schwebel says. “I kept thinking, if I made a solo record, I don’t think I would buy it. It wasn’t exciting to me at all. I’m just this dude.”

Luckily, Schwebel, 33, has plenty of musically inclined friends.

Dallas Green, the leader of alt-folk band City and Colour, which Hacienda toured with in 2011, quickly recruited Schwebel to be his new guitarist. There was just one catch: Rehearsals started in a week and the first shows were in arenas supporting P!nk.

“It was a weird couple of weeks,” Schwebel says.

While on the road with City and Colour, Schwebel contemplated his next move. He had a batch of demos that were about growing up in Laredo, Texas, so he reached out to a former high school classmate he only vaguely knew, Grupo Fantasma guitarist Adrian Quesada. Then, Schwebel called up My Morning Jacket drummer Patrick Hallahan, whom he played with on Black Keys guitarist Dan Auerbach’s 2009 solo tour.

“I said, ‘Look, you guys haven’t met each other. Let’s book the studio and if you get along, we’ll take the next step and record more songs,’ ” Schwebel says. “In three days we had half a record.”

The trio dubbed themselves Spanish Gold and quickly finished their debut album, “South of Nowhere,” which dropped Tuesday.

There’s a swagger to Spanish Gold’s high-energy rock, a natural evolution from Schwebel’s funkier contributions to Hacienda’s last album, the bluesy “Shakedown.” Lead single “Out on the Street” might as well be an homage to Rockwell’s “Somebody’s Watching Me.”

Spanish Gold’s first major tour stops in D.C. on Sunday and Schwebel is well aware that the band could have a short shelf life, given Hallahan’s prior commitments. But he’s not worried.

“I think it makes it more special,” he says. “It adds a premium to some of the shows.”

Plus, he’s got another job that will keep him busy playing gigs throughout the year.

“If it wasn’t for City and Colour, I probably couldn’t afford to go do a full record campaign,” Schwebel says. “Having a steady work gig has really given me some freedom.”

It sure beats being alone.

Hamilton, 600 14th St. NW; Sun., 7:30 p.m., $13-$16; 202-787-1000. (Metro Center)

Rudi Greenberg is Express' Weekend Pass editor and comedy columnist.
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