With Oildale in their DNA, Texas twangers return
Earth to Bakersfield: The Daliens are coming. But don’t be alarmed, these country romantics don’t carry lasers — it’s just the husband and wife music duo of Brett and Silvia Neal landing at Le Corusse Rouge Sunday, Dec. 18.
Their name may sound unusual, but it suits the traditional country musicians and their eclectic style just fine. The name pays homage to the band’s city of origin — Oildale.
“The name ‘Oildale’ means a lot of different things to people,” said Brett via telephone from their current home in Austin, Texas. “We wanted an interesting name, so we took the ‘Dalien’ nickname people always use. Red Simpson does ’Dale jokes in Vegas and gets a laugh. People everywhere seem to know about Oildale.”
Like their name, the back story of how these two distinctly different personalities met begins interestingly enough three years ago in the basement of Trout’s, during the club’s weekly Songwriter’s Night.
Silvia, who was living in her hometown of Livermore at the time, had already been making music as part of another roots music duo named The Heartache Valley Girls. Drawn to Bakersfield after coming across news regarding the whereabouts of country legend Red Simpson, Silvia and her partner jumped in their car and headed south for Oildale.
“As a group, we didn’t really get paid. We played rodeo parades, nursing homes, etc. Somehow we heard Red Simpson was playing in Bakersfield,” she recalled. “We were all excited. We didn’t know he was still alive. So, we drove all the way to find him.”
It wouldn’t be the last time Silvia and her bandmate would make the trek to jam with Simpson. After a few more visits, she and Brett would also eventually cross paths.
“It just so happened I was in that circle one night in the basement,” recalled Brett. “I went there to deliver a CD to a guy. (Trout’s club owner) Rockwell brought Silvia and Meghan in. I think people thought they were cute. Then they started playing. I couldn’t believe how tight they were. Right then, I knew I had to find out what they were doing here.”
Above: Silvia and Brett Neal of The Daliens
After talking The Heartache Valley Girls into opening for his group at Ethel’s Old Corral, Brett and Silvia began flirting with plans to start their own project. With a mutual admiration for classic country, the chemistry was instant.
“As it turned out, my original bass player had moved. Silvia wanted to play more music than her partner. It took a little while to happen, but we found a couple different places to play a few times a month. Silvia did a lot of driving from Livermore.”
Music wasn’t the only thing brewing onstage.
“We met in April, began playing, and by June we realized that it would be more than a business relationship,” said Brett.
Marrying a year later in Livermore, they celebrated locally at Trout’s, where they met. If you’re envisioning a re-creation of Bud and Sissy’s reception scene from Urban Cowboy, Brett says forget it.
“I’ve seen about 20 minutes of that movie. No.”
They continued performing in Bakersfield, garnering a modest fan base, before deciding on a change of address best suited for their act: Austin.
“It was meant to be. There’s a lot of places to play. We found a great place here for us,” he said. “You don’t go halfway across the country to not make it happen. We’ve hung in there.”
“This is both our passion,” added Silvia. “The only time we ever argue is over music, never about money or other things.”
Performing as both a duo and a quartet, depending on the availability of musicians, The Daliens’ sound is stripped-down honky-tonk purity on their five-song demo.
“Oscar’s Tune in D” is an original two-stepper sung by Brett, while Silvia steps up to the mic on “You Had Your Chance.”
In addition to originals, they also include covers of Red Simpson’s “Why Don’t You Just Be You?” and “Close Up The Honky Tonks” before wrapping things up with a Billy Jo Spears favorite, “Get Behind Me Satan and Push.”
For Sunday’s show, both say to expect some of their newfound Texas flavor in the mix, along with plenty of love for Bakersfield.
“We found each other and our voices in Oildale. In our hearts, our home is still there,” said Brett. “Right now, we’re just doing what we can to keep our music alive.”
Joining The Daliens will be Bryan Calande on lead guitar and Scott McArthur on drums.
When: Sunday, December 18th 6 p.m.
Where: Le Corruse Rouge, 4647 White Ln.
Information: 661-834-1611 or thedaliens.com
Also printed in the 12-15-11 edition of The Bakersfield Californian
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