Stiv Cantarelli‘s musical adventures began back in the late 90s with Italian alt-country outfit Satellite Inn. Latterly his work has formed the basis of the garage rock influenced Gold Rust and power trio The Saint Four. After more than ten years of tours around Europe and the US with his band projects, Stiv’s journey has led him to his debut solo record Innerstate.
The inspiration to pursue a solo project came when Stiv was asked by long time pals Richmond Fontaine to open the last leg of their 2009 European tour. This was Stiv’s first experience of taking to the stage alone, and after the positive reaction received much of the writing for what would form Innerstate was done during this period (the remainder finalised whilst supporting Bob Mould later that year around Stiv’s native Italy).
For the ten tracks on Innerstate, Stiv called on the services of his Richmond Fontaine friends Dave Harding and Sean Oldham to take care of bass and drum duties. Additional musicians included Trush Morsink and ex-Satellite Inn bandmate Dario Neri.
The opening, and title, track Innerstate is an instrumental that wouldn’t sound out of place on Richmond Fontaine’s own Thirteen Cities, but that’s as obvious as that particular influence gets. When 19 and Jaded kicks in, the sound takes a new direction, something a little more akin to the likes of Horse Stories. 19 and Jaded is what Cantarelli calls one of his ‘bus stop songs’, based on characters observed whilst waiting on public transport in his home city of Florence.
A Farewell Letter will undoubtedly draw attention as the track is a duet featuring Willy Vlautin, though it should stand up as one of the highlights of the record in its own right. Others include the goodbye lament June and the rebellious tale of The Rookie.
There is a great atmospheric quality to much of the album, the tunes often painting the kind of desert imagery you’d expect from an artist who wears his love of Americana on his sleeve. Though this is no alt-country pastiche. It’s a re-invention in Cantarelli’s own style. Doing things his own way. Wether the world listens or not. It should.