About The Great American Robber Barons

Keith Dion has had an astounding career as a musician, songwriter, producer, and filmmaker. As an ace guitarist he played in New Zealand’s classic cult band The Ponsonby DC’s, as well as San Francisco alternative groups The Ophelias, 3:05 AM, and Corsica. He has also recorded or performed with members of The Kinks, Thin Lizzy, Santana, The Counting Crows, Weather Report, Herbie Hancock’s Headhunters, and The Mahavishnu Orchestra. Keith also served as the producer and bandleader for the late Noel Redding, former bassist of The Jimi Hendrix Experience. In addition, he has produced releases for Arthur Lee and Love. Though a writer of music, until now, he has never written the lyrics to his own songs nor has he been the lead singer fronting his own band.

With the band The Great American Robber Barons and their darkly cathartic debut, Reno Nevada and Other Songs of Gambling, Vice and Betrayal CD/DVD— a collaboration with former Jefferson Starship lead vocalist Diana Mangano—he makes the artistic statement of his lifetime.

After both of his parents died in Reno, Nevada, the San Francisco-based artist discovered a whole new dimension to his musicality. “Their deaths made me face a lot of stuff, and I keep peeling back the layers and finding these dark aspects inside of me,” Keith says. “Every song on the album is about gambling, vice and betrayal, and we really mean it.”

Using imagery from the fading glamor of Reno, and the dark underbelly of the 1960s and the Vietnam War, he’s created a thoroughly engrossing multi-media experience in this CD/DVD bundle. The CD portion features The Great American Robber Barons’ debut, Reno Nevada and Other Songs of Gambling, Vice and Betrayal. The band’s psychedelic folk aesthetic features majestic folk recalling modern master Bert Jansch, crystalline lead guitar, the impassioned powerhouse vocals of Diana Mangano, Keith’s laidback cool low register vocals, and masterful songcraft.

Keith’s lyrics are poignant, political, and literate. His poetic social commentary covers the 99% (“At The Hands Of The Robber Barons”), the atrocities of war, gun control, animal rights (“Conquistador” and “You Don’t Know The Half Of It”), and woman’s rights. He also explores the painful complexities of growing up as a child of a Vietnam veteran. Much of the audio and visual artistry is based on archival footage from his father’s personal collection with editing input from filmmakers Pablo Vazquez, Stephanie Gwyn-Brown and Vivian Vosu. The imagery is harrowing and
bluntly truthful, spanning Tijuana bullfights, real Vietnam battlefield footage, and the decaying elegance of the American dream (check out the mesmerizing video for the Richard Fariña cover “Reno, Nevada).

As an added bonus, the DVD also includes videos spanning Keith’s esteemed music biz career, including treasured visuals from his past with Noel Redding from The Jimi Hendrix Experience, The Ophelias, 3:05 AM, Corsica and others originally produced and broadcasted on Television in New Zealand in the late 1980's.

The album was produced by Keith for 305AM Music with vocal arrangements by Diana Mangano. The musicianship throughout is stellar. Lead vocalist Diana Mangano is best known as the lead singer for Jefferson Starship for several years, and has worked on many high profile recording sessions and projects with producers and artists such as Todd Rundgren, Jerry Harrison, Jack Douglas, Pete Seeger, David Crosby, The Tubes, and Country Joe MacDonald, among many others. Drummer Prairie Prince has worked with The Tubes, Todd Rundgren, Journey, Chris Isaak, XTC, George Harrison, Ronnie Wood, and Tom Waits, among others. Contemporary jazz icon Ricardo Scales contributes gorgeous piano playing.

“I’ve been playing in bands for over 30 years,” Keith says pensively. “I’ve played with famous people, had record deals, but it took the death of my parents to start writing lyrics. It feels like some type of transcendental experience that made these songs come out. It’s been a wonderful revelation.”

Their new album "Reno Nevada... and Other Songs of Gambling, Vice and Betrayal" is available online at http://www.305am.com/#!music/c1x9v

Find the Lyrics to "What Were They Thinking" here: http://bit.ly/12EUG7n

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