Song premiere: Joel Rafael's Old Portland Town

(Image credit: Pino Bertelli)

In the late '60s, Joel Rafael migrated from Los Angeles to Portland, Oregon with a group of politically motivated writers and artists in an effort to avoid being drafted into the Vietnam War. During a city-wide sweep of the youth underground, Rafael was arrested and spent 14 days in a Portland jail, an experience the acclaimed singer-songwriter recounts in the wistful folk ballad Old Portland Town, which MusicRadar is premiering below.

Old Portland Town is the first single from Rafael's upcoming ninth album, Baladista, due out April 14 (April 10 internationally) on Jackson Browne's Inside Recordings label. The album also features Love's First Lesson, which Rafael wrote with his longtime friend and Eagles collaborator Jack Tempchin.

Rafael recorded and mixed Baladista at his own Bravebear Ranch in North San Diego County, California. "The album is homegrown in the truest sense," he says. "I used a simple, stripped-down approach and recorded the whole thing at home, here in my own studio." Joining him on the album are Greg Leisz, James "Hutch" Hutchinson, John Inmon and Terry "Buffalo" Ware.

Baladista is available for pre-order at iTunes and Amazon.

Joe Bosso

Joe is a freelance journalist who has, over the past few decades, interviewed hundreds of guitarists for Guitar WorldGuitar PlayerMusicRadar and Classic Rock. He is also a former editor of Guitar World, contributing writer for Guitar Aficionado and VP of A&R for Island Records. He’s an enthusiastic guitarist, but he’s nowhere near the likes of the people he interviews. Surprisingly, his skills are more suited to the drums. If you need a drummer for your Beatles tribute band, look him up.