Elijah Ocean is a songwriter’s songwriter. Having been dubbed as one of LA Weekly’s “Artists to Watch” in 2017, Ocean is poised for a breakout year in 2018. Channeling the ghosts of Laurel Canyon as well as the Hudson Valley, his sensibilities for folklore and his ear for a hook are on full display with his latest single, “Down This Road.”
“Down This Road” is one of those songs that was lost to time, buried in the pages of a notebook and unlikely to ever see the light of day. Ocean penned the first verse on his couch after moving to Los Angeles in 2014, and it stopped there for a while. After multiple revisions and mental blocks over the next three years, the song was finished in November 2017 in a Las Vegas hotel room, where longtime friend and keyboardist Zach Jones helped bring it to life.
The production and songcraft are unabashedly influenced by Tom Petty--bright electric guitars layered with acoustic and electric twelve-strings, fluttering organ, and anthemic gang vocals in each chorus as Ocean calls out, “Here we go again / It’s like this road won’t ever end / It circles back to you my friend / And here we go again.” It’s equal parts folk and timeless rock ‘n’ roll.
Ocean was born in a small woodland house in the Hudson Valley, raised in rural Maine, and enlightened by time spent in New York City. He’s landed in Los Angeles for now, where the Sunset Strip is a wasteland, Silverlake has peaked, and the spirit of Laurel Canyon echoes through the hills of Highland Park. The end of the world is a damn inspirational place to be.
Every year, Elijah Ocean crosses the country singing his songs and making memories. Picture this: It’s 2018 in the southwestern corner of America. There’s snow in the distant mountains and the slow desert sunset creeps through the windshield of a Mercury blazing down I-40 West. With four albums under his belt and a fifth in the chamber, Ocean is hitting his stride.
The hard work shines through in his craft without a scrap of it being over-thought. It’s American music. It’s conceived on highways between cities past their prime. It’s born from memories and dreams of fresh starts. There’s a rich history to draw from places like Nashville, Memphis, Muscle Shoals, Bakersfield and Austin, but Ocean doesn’t desire a repeat. He celebrates the multi-generational canon of American music while adding his own fresh voice to the conversation.
“Down This Road” is that voice speaking up, ready to be heard. Welcome to California.