Stepping through the history of Americana: Dustbowl Revival comes to Chico


Dustbowl Revival performs in Laxson Auditorium. Taken by Jolie Asuncion.

Consisting of 25 people and 15 different instruments, American soul group Dustbowl Revival rolled into Chico to show musical history through the theme of Americana.

From headlining festivals to selling out the Troubadour in Los Angeles, Dustbowl Revival creates harmonies from cut-to-heart, folk-rock ballads to honky-tonk tunes. 

The LA-based American soul band creates melodies that initiate positive, strong ideas through unique configurations of lyrics.

The band performed live on Sept. 9 with Jim Lauderdale at Laxson Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. for their Origins of Americana Tour. The evening was a thrilling, tender moment and journey through the musical history of Americana. 

Stage at Laxson Auditorium before Dustbowl Revival. Taken by Walker Hardy.

Encapsulating the Americana genre, lead man Zach Lupetin falls under the umbrella of folk, country and blues. The band aspires to lift up the listeners, challenge their minds and push them out of their comfort zones. 

“If just one person can be moved by just one song, that’s enough,” Lupetin said. “If you write a great song and it’s powerful, people will feel your passion.”

Years after finding their unique sound, the band evolved into a transformer-type band, binding all genres together. Dustbowl Revival formed after a series of “faithful happy accidents.” The core of the band consists of six founding members, with some having moved on and others having stayed. Yet, since touring, they’ve jumped from a seven to an eight-piece band.

Lupetin originally sought out his dream in LA of becoming a screenwriter. After experiencing nine-to-five burnout, Lupetin began playing music in his office after hours. The formation of the band remains a mystery, but Lupetin explains that the band chose him. 

The band recently released a song titled “Be (for July),” which is their most personal song to date. Lupetin’s initial inspiration for writing came from the profound transformation of preparing to become a father. However, his inspiration changed after his wife had a traumatic experience delivering their child. Instead, Lupetin wanted to write about the “process of beauty of new life, but also losing someone special.” 

Band members of Dustbowl Revival performing. Taken by Walker Hardy.

Dustbowl Revival emphasizes sticking up for what you believe in, something translated through Lupetin’s lyricism. Ignoring or being a passive musician doesn’t work anymore, people want to hear something from who they support. 

Not concerned with aggravating an audience, Dustbowl Revival does not shy away from political topics such as the overturning of Roe v. Wade or gun violence. 

The discrepancies and political climate between each venue or city plays a huge role in the band’s performance and what songs they choose to perform. The show performed in Nashville might not be the same show that the audience in Los Angeles receives. 

“You’re going to get a different kind of show every time you come see us,” Lupetin said. 

Through differences or disagreements from people’s lifestyle, DustBowl Revival emulates the theme of being together through the love of music. No matter where you call home or what you believe in, this band has helped represent what hardships, joy and confusion can feel like through well articulated melodies. 

During the pandemic, the band hosted five virtual festivals. With live music up and running again, the band has been touring all over the United States since August, ending in October. 

Dustbowl Revival’s trumpt player riffing. Taken by Jolie Ascunion

After their performance in Chico, the band will host their own festival on Oct. 15, in Agoura Hills, California titled “Paramount Anch Sonic-Boom.” 

During the month of the festival, keep an eye out for the anticipated release of the band’s next  EP. 

Ranging from country, to blues and soul, Dustbowl revival continues to push beyond what traditional, American-roots music used to mean. Through meaningful, lyrical melodies created by vocals, trumpet, trombone, bass and drums they continue to push the envelope. There’s always a message behind their music, whether a theme of hope, separation or politics. Dustbowl Revival achieves their goal if just one person connects emotionally. 

Jolie Asuncion and Walker Hardy can be reached at [email protected].