Review – Garrett T. Capps & NASA Country – “People Are Beautiful”
And now for something a bit off the beaten path, San Antonio’s resident throwback country weirdo freak, Garrett T. Capps, has tapped into country music’s underutilized cosmic influences in a collaboration with NASA Country, and created an immersive experience titled under the name People are Beautiful. Don’t worry, bong rips and psychoactive substances aren’t entirely necessary to unlock the entertainment value of this work. If they nonetheless enhance it, that is for you to decide.
The country music of Garrett T. Capps has always been pretty far out, but the point of this project is to purposely trek towards the outer limits of country. Mixing psychedelia with country is nothing new. In fact, it’s a long-established influence in the genre. From The Byrds and The Grateful Dead early on, to more recent landmark releases like Sturgill Simpson’s Metamodern Sounds in Country Music, and Marty Stuart’s Way Out West, it’s a wonder why more artists don’t work in these modes, especially when the results are often quite positive.
Yes, get ready for beeps and pulses of electronic technology interwoven with twangy lead guitar underpinned by surf influences. But the results are something still more cousin to country or classic rock than EDM. Some of the sounds may be created from resistors and capacitors, but they’re still vintage in the sense that they’re from yesterday and inspired by bands like Krafwerk, and have withstood the test of time as eternally relevant, just like many of country’s vintage tones.
If you get to over-analyzing this album though, you’re missing the point, which is to zone out, tune in, and let the waves of music and the messages born on the them shepherd you away from the cold hard mundanity of modern life to a more imaginative landscape full of the wisdom of inner consciousness. People Are Beautiful may employ more old-school sounding music, but it was written for today when it feels like the edges of society are beginning to fray, when you don’t know who or what to trust, and you’re not exactly confident on where this world is headed.
In times like these, the freaks of yore remind us to not freak out, and that despite the eddys in human progress that sometimes create false impressions, the trajectory of humankind continues flow in a positive direction. The assuring message of the opening song “Gettin’ Better,” the expungement of negative thought actuated through “Rip Out The Darkness,” or the unburdening of cares found in the enveloping melody of “Travellin’ Days” help convey this knowledge to the weary soul.
People Are Beautiful is the final installment in Garrett’s “Shadows Trilogy,” and was recorded at the Sonic Ranch in West Texas. It’s a more ambient experience than an active one, at least until the title track at the end. It’s perfect for a road trip, or when you’re stuck in traffic and need to diffuse. Capps is quick to say himself that it’s not especially “country.” His last solo album I Love San Antone released in 2021 is where someone should point their nose if they want something more conventional and twangy, though still with an element of the weird.
But the point of People Are Beautiful in cahoots with NASA Country is to blast off beyond the stratosphere of genre, and look back upon this ball of blue hurtling through space. Up above it all, everyday problems seem petty, and the differences that separate us seem marginal. It’s there where an equilibrium can be found when trying to sift through the noise of the moment, and put everything into perspective.
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Purchase from Bandcamp
December 2, 2022 @ 8:56 am
WTF is “NASA country?”
December 2, 2022 @ 8:58 am
Well, I’d say listen to this album and find out.
December 2, 2022 @ 9:15 am
The way it’s labeled on Apple Music makes it seem like NASA country is an entirely different entity that’s working with Garrett, instead of, like, Garret’s backing band. Oh, shit. Is NASA country what he’s calling his backing band on this album? That would make sense. I guess I’ll find out when I give it a listen.
December 2, 2022 @ 9:31 am
I guess you would have to ask Garrett specifically how he delineates things. This album was recorded with a completely separate band called NASA Country compared to his 2021 album “I Love San Antone” that he recorded that with the Rockabilly Rippers.
The main difference here is that he’s got a specific guy Justin Boyd working the modulated synthesizer to make the Kraftwerk-style “space” sounds.
I also think that Garrett knows this isn’t straightforward country, and so he’s labeled it something different out of respect.
December 2, 2022 @ 9:42 am
Awesome. Thanks for the clarification.
Jerry Clower's Ghost
December 3, 2022 @ 6:11 am
Garrett has worked with Justin previously on In the Shadows (The Ambient Remixes).
December 2, 2022 @ 8:59 am
Never heard of him but as the famous catchphrase made famous on American Bandstand many years ago said, “It’s got a good beat and you can dance to it.”
Wilson PIck It
December 2, 2022 @ 9:01 am
GTC remains an underrated talent. People Are Beautiful is a trip worth taking. Atmospheric, sure, but in the service of strong songwriting that is surprisingly moving at times.
December 2, 2022 @ 9:43 am
I surely found out about Garrett T. Capps on this site, but then I found Croy and The Boys all on my own! Check em out, they ride a fine line between “joke band” and John Prine level genius humor.
December 2, 2022 @ 12:42 pm
Don’t let me die in Waco is an outstanding, fun song. The only problem is when I listen to it becomes stuck in my head for days!
December 2, 2022 @ 10:27 am
If you are ever in San Antonio be sure to check out his bar The Lonesome Rose. They have great music every weekend!
December 2, 2022 @ 10:56 am
Jason Boland’s UFO concept album was a good listen. I welcome more of this stuff
December 2, 2022 @ 3:19 pm
One of my favorite albums of the year, probably top 2. GTC keeps impressing me and while he’s not a great vocalist, his lyrics and message always gets me ponderin’. It’s not the same old dirt roads and lonesome hearts, it’s a welcome change to my ears. Give it a try, everything in his trilogy is great.
December 2, 2022 @ 4:03 pm
NASA Country! Is it in space? Or maybe it’s the Netherlands? Both could be true. GTC is a national treasure over here (yes, I’m from the Netherlands), at least that’s what he says on his website. And I’m not the one to argue. I know one thing. GTC rocks! Just like Doug Sahm did in his days! Texas Rock For Country Rollers!
Jerry Clower's Ghost
December 3, 2022 @ 6:15 am
Garrett is absolutely one of my favorite artists. He’s weird as hell, and he doesn’t care what anyone thinks about it. My kind of guy. If you can’t get into the messages in this song, then you need to reevaluate. Crank this one up on a road trip as the sun is going down, and you will not be disappointed.
December 3, 2022 @ 7:21 am
I like Capps, but not a huge fan mostly due to his vocals. But he comes up with a pretty good song or two with each album. Alone With You and Neon Love Waltz come to mind. I’m kinda diggin’ People Are Beautiful (the song) here, but not sure on the rest. I’ll give it a few more listens and see if something catches my ear.
December 3, 2022 @ 9:45 am
Man, I think he is great, kinda like Wall of Voodoo meets Country music. Also reminds me of Terry Allen a bit
Southern Man, Country Fan, and Stuck Somewhere Else
December 3, 2022 @ 10:19 am
It’s happened before with many other artists, and once again, SCM has clued me in to a very cool artist whom it seems, somehow, I *should have* known about before now, but I had utterly no idea about him. Better late than never! Until reading this review, Garrett T. Capps was completely unknown to me, but I was intrigued and drawn in by the “country weirdo freak” description, and man, am I glad that I read the review and listened to the two songs here, because I’m lovin’ what I’m hearin’!
I don’t mind the not-so-polished-or-pretty vocals– if I can appreciate the albums in Will Oldham’s discography where his voice can get creaky and a bit off-pitch at times, I can certainly take Garrett’s unique, eccentric voice as part of the overall package here. As far as psychedelia, I’ve never taken drugs (beyond beer or liquor, that is!) and have absolutely no desire to do so, *but* as a longtime fan of bands like The Byrds, Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane, I *love* the combination of country and psychedelia here! The lyrics are great too. I will definitely be checking out this full album, and very likely buying it, and at least some of his other ones too.
This year has been quite a brutal one here, emotionally (no need for details– it has just been very hard, in numerous ways, with numerous losses and griefs), and hearing this music, very near the end of 2022, is just the uplift that my spirit needed! Thanks so much, SCM, Garrett, and NASA Country!
December 5, 2022 @ 11:28 am
Garrett is a star. Go see him and his awesome band live and you won’t be disappointed. Party On 4Ever!