It’s been two years since The Rhyolite Sound released debut album Desert Honky Tonk—a record that defined the group in both sound and title. The country five-piece wrapped the follow-up, Mojave Gold, this past summer, tracking familiar touchstones of “partying and bad decisions,” vocalist and guitarist Larry Reha says.
“But that’s pretty much every country album,” he laughs over lunch not far from his hair salon, Makeshift Union, inside the Arts District.
Along with Reha, Mojave Gold features James Caselton (guitar and vocals), Erik Alesi (acoustic guitar and vocals), A.J. Palluck (drums), and Chris Davis (bass), though Davis split after finishing the album. With the lineup once again complete—Vegas scene veteran Jason Aragon has stepped into the bass spot—Rhyolite is back in the saddle, with a record release party set for Thursday, October 24 at the Bunkhouse.
“[On] the first album we didn’t really try that hard. We just made it and were like, here it is,” Reha says. “But this one we were like, we’re not going to f*ckin’ waste our time.”
Formed in 2013 and named for the ghost town just outside Beatty, Nevada, the group has amassed a legion of dedicated fans, who have voted them Best Vegas Band two years running in the Weekly’s Best of Vegas awards. The new LP revisits some songs from the 2017 debut (“The Road to Losing My Mind”), features a Dire Straits cover (“Setting Me Up”), and even pokes fun at country music on “Ain’t No Outlaw.”
“We get called outlaw country, but the joke is none of us are even remotely outlawed at all,” Reha says. “How country could I be if I’m updating Instagram from my cell phone? If you’ve met a real cowboy, he left his phone at home, or it’s in his truck. To me, it’s all tongue and cheek. I only write songs about what I know.”
They Rhyolite Sound is known for putting on a blazing live show, so Reha tapped local Dolly Parton drag performer Mr. Kenneth Blake as master of ceremonies for the release show. An outdoor area for “chicken sh*t bingo” will also be up and running between performances. “I want it to be fun from the second you walk in,” Reha says. “We put a lot into it.”
The Rhyolite Sound with Rob Leines, Elijah Ocean. October 24, 8 p.m., $10-$15. Bunkhouse Saloon, 702-982-1764.