Named after the Band’s “The W.S. Walcott Medicine Show,” which found Levon Helm tipping his hat to the traveling medicine shows of his childhood, the Walcotts take a broad approach to their own brand of roots music, mixing twang, brass and bombast into songs like “Coalinga.” The tune’s new music video, shot on location in the western San Joaquin Valley, premieres today on Rolling Stone Country.
Tom Cusimano, the band’s frontman and chief songwriter, wrote “Coalinga” more than a dozen years ago while stuck in the titular town after his car broke down during a nighttime drive from San Francisco to Los Angeles.
“After talking to the mechanic who assured me everything would eventually be OK, I went back to the motel and wrote the song in one sitting,” he remembers. “I was stuck in Coalinga for two nights and ultimately had to have my car towed back the 200 miles to LA the third day.”
Years later, the Walcotts spent another couple days in Coalinga, where they filmed the song’s music video on a string of desert highways, windswept vistas and motel rooms. The result is an introduction not only to the coed band, whose debut record Let the Devil Win hit stores this September, but also the broader California landscape that shapes their music.
“Writing the song was cathartic, recording it felt like a victory and making a celebratory video about this time in my life only seemed fitting,” Cusimano adds. “We wanted to capture the town a bit, but without being too literal. We mostly wanted to focus on the positive aspects and the redemption theme behind the song.”