Cheval Sombre Announces New EP, Shares Video for Grateful Dead Cover “Althea” | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Cheval Sombre Announces New EP, Shares Video for Grateful Dead Cover “Althea”

Althea Due Out November 5 via Sonic Cathedral/Fat Elvis

Oct 19, 2021
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One-man band Cheval Sombre (aka Chris Porpora) has announced the release of a new cover EP, Althea. It will feature covers of the Grateful Dead’s 1980 song “Althea,” Dire Straits’ “So Far Away,” and “Are You Ready” by Pete ‘Sonic Boom’ Kember, who produced the EP’s title track. The EP will be out on November 5, digitally via Sonic Cathedral and on 10-inch clear vinyl via Sonic Cathedral/Fat Elvis. Watch the video for Porpora’s cover of “Althea” and check out the EP’s cover art below.

“I’ve always loved the Dead,” states Porpora in a press release. “A cousin of mine showed me how to play ‘Friend of the Devil’ when I was real small, and I was mystified. Luckily, I got to see them a few times before Jerry Garcia passed away. I always found his voice to contain all the very best things about music—tenderness, toughness, knowing, humanity, sweetness, experience, weariness, innocence. I had never heard ‘Althea,’ but a few years ago my father fell ill, and I heard it on the radio en route to the hospital—my jaw dropped. It seemed at once to be a song about everything—about all that is crucial.”

He adds, regarding the Dire Straits cover: “Just as my punk rock friends despised the Dead, so too would Dire Straits have been considered a joke. But I always found beauty in ‘So Far Away.’ Recent experience with isolation brought it back from nostalgia to the fore. When I recorded it, I had hustled out of town amidst some heartbreaking circumstances—just a bag and a guitar on the way out the door. That old song came to me, sitting in a room by the sea—it was a late-August evening, about dusk. All I had on hand was a laptop perched on a wooden table; I leaned into it and recorded the first take. That’s what this version is. It was just right. When I sent it to Pete, he remarked on the cicadas and cop car blowing by. The windows were wide open, and everything came in.”

Porpora concludes with speaking about the Sonic Boom remix of “Are You Ready,” dubbed the “AM Mix”: “‘Round the time Pete sent me that version, I was listening to it on headphones while walking, and I saw this beautiful car. I blinked three times. I don’t think I’d ever seen an Aston Martin before. I wrote Pete and told him: ‘Your mix sounds like this car looks. I want to call it the Sonic Boom AM Mix’.”

In 2018, Porpora released a collaborative album with Dean Wareham titled Dean Wareham vs. Cheval Sombre.

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