Trio El Camino Photo
Trio El Camino album cover
rjr album cover
Louie Louie single cover
Alligator Wings album cover
Just Sayin album cover

It’s not easy writing original tunes that give a wink and a nod to scores of influential jazz, pop, and rock legends without losing your own musical soul, but Trio El Camino does just that. Jim Cavender, guitarist and songwriter, drummer Mike Dendy, and organist Newt Johnson present simple, almost-nostalgic melodies with musicianship so sharp it’s as if Einstein’s working algebra problems with you, just for kicks. Want an extended jazz-infused, hip, funk number? They’ll give it to you. Want a 50’s rockabilly tune with a modern country twang? It’s yours. Want some atomic jazz melting into a little bossa nova-flavored R&B with some Hendrix, Bobby “Blue” Bland, and The Band sprinkled on top? Then you’re in good hands with this Huntsville, Alabama, band. They can sing, too, wrapping their smooth tones around clever and ironic lyrics that comment on the culture of cool.

Origin story? In 2006, when Johnson was a jazz student at a local college studying with Cavender, he mentioned that he wanted to form an organ trio. Turns out, Cavender’s old friend and former band-mate Dendy had been simultaneously itching for a band with some Hammond organ. It didn’t take the trio long to figure out that they were musical soulmates with similar tastes and senses of humor. They all agree, for example, that the “The Rockford Files” had one of the best television show theme songs ever and that local commercial jingles for carpet companies influenced their sensibilities as much as Booker T. & The MG’s did. These eclectic influences are clear on both of their releases--Trio El Camino (2013) and the EP The Modern Walk (2015). Listen to Dendy tell a joke on drums while at the same time killing the beat in “Only the Hip Survive.” Hear Johnson speak in tongues on the keys in “Halloween on Union Avenue.” Allow Cavender’s guitar solo to crawl all over you in “Fifty Dollars.” Other stand-out tunes: “Sound Advice,” “Let’s Hear it for Me,” and “Pretend to be My Girlfriend.”

Looking for some fun and well-played music? The members of Trio El Camino take musical corners and hairpin curves at 50 miles per hour, making cracks and busting chops the whole time. Like the classic car they’ve named themselves after, Trio El Camino is business in the front and party in the back. Pull up your ears and take a listen!

In addition to recording their own material, Trio El Camino appeared as a band on track 2, "On Hearing Some Moron Use The Phrase 'Drunk As A Skunk'", of Duke Way's 2014 release, Alligator Wings, and the members can be heard throughout Duke Way's 2017 album, "Just Sayin' as session musicians.