Led by bassist and songwriter Josh Haden, Spain is an alternative rock band that often conjures images of late nights and broken hearts with their low-key but emotionally powerful music inspired by vintage jazz and "bachelor pad" sounds and approached without irony.
Leader Haden comes from a family with a strong musical pedigree: his father is the great jazz bassist and composer Charlie Haden, and his siblings include violinist Petra Haden (who led the group that dog and has worked with the Foo Fighters, Mike Watt, the Decemberists, and Iggy & the Stooges), vocalist Rachel Haden (a fellow member of that dog who has accompanied Beck, the Rentals, and Weezer), and cellist Tanya Haden (whose credits include sessions with Silversun Pickups and Sea Wolf). Spain's initial lineup included Haden on vocals and bass, Ken Boudakian on guitar and keyboards, Merlo Podlewski on guitar, and Evan Hartzell on drums. This edition of the group made their recorded debut in 1995 with the album The Blue Moods of Spain, released by Reckless Records; the album featured the song "Spiritual," which was covered by Johnny Cash on his album Unchained. In 1999, Spain returned with their second album, She Haunts My Dreams, and while the band developed a loyal following in Europe, their unusual approach made them a tough sell in the United States. After 2001's I Believe, Spain went on hiatus, and a collection of highlights from the three albums, Spirituals: The Best of Spain, appeared in 2003. For several years, Haden pursued a solo career, releasing the album Devoted in 2007, but after touring in support of the project, he opted to resurrect Spain with a new lineup, including Randy Kirk on guitars and keys and Matt Mayhall on drums. By 2012, the group had expanded to a quartet with the addition of guitarist Daniel Brummel, and Spain released a new album, The Soul of Spain, through the European label Glitterhouse. Acoustic guitarist Dylan McKenzie expanded Spain to a five-piece, and the band's live-in-studio appearance on Santa Monica, California's KCRW-FM (with Haden's three sisters joining as guests) was issued on an EP titled The Morning Becomes Eclectic Session. In 2013, Spain joined producer Gus Seyffert in his studio to begin work on their next album; the material was released by Glitterhouse in 2014 as Sargent Place. In 2016, Haden debuted yet another Spain lineup on the blues-infused set Carolina. The album featured Haden on vocals, bass, and acoustic guitar, Danny Frankel on drums and percussion, Petra Haden on violin and vocals, and Kenny Lyon on various guitars, banjo, and keyboards. Lyon also co-produced the album with Josh Haden. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi