The BlackRaven Band
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The BlackRaven Band

Sedona, AZ | Established. Jan 01, 2006 | SELF

Sedona, AZ | SELF
Established on Jan, 2006
Band World Instrumental


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As a flute player I'm always in search of drummers/percussionist and, while surfing myspace in 2008, I ran across Gonzo Sandoval's page. His profile picture was him playing a djembe, hmmm. Cool thing is, I worked for his band Armored Saint as their roadie back in 1989 and it was good to connect again on myspace after all these years. Seeing something special we talked about working together, so I sent Gonz some tunes off BlackRaven's 1st record "First Flight" and got a surprising reaction from him. He laughed! He laughed because he never expected this Native American flute music was coming from me, an Irish dude living in LA in the music biz.

Without ever playing together in the spring of 2009, we booked our 1st engagement at the San Diego Independent Music Festival as The BlackRaven Band. We pulled it off with one rehearsal at the hotel we stayed at and the gig went well. Next, in May, we traveled to Lummi Washington where we were the recipient of the 2009 West Coast American Indian Music Awards - Traditional Instrumental Artist of the Year. Now, getting the BlackRaven Band involved with the La Music Awards in August 2009 we booked a show at the Whisky and brought Phil Sandoval in to do the show. With both Sandoval brothers on board, something great was about to happen! Not only did we win 2009 LA Music Award's Producers Choice for Instrumental Artist of the Year, we decided to record a new album!

The recording of BlackRaven's Native Knight began in Sedona on December 15th, 2009 and finished on Oct 15th, 2016, hopefully, you (the reader) will get the message that we've created for you through the making of this album. Just two things I wanted to say and they are;

1. I want to create an album that bridged my RocknRoll past with my present life and experiences with the traditional Native flute, drum, and song. Furthermore, to see what the future may bring by joining these two forces together, hence Gonzo and I were put together.

2. Quite simply, Gonzo and I wanted to make an album that heals.
Now, as our story continues, Gonz and I had talked about this concept. He and I agreed and made a pact to bring this idea to life. So, without a second thought, Gonzo packed his truck with ALL his stuff and headed to Sedona, Arizona to track BlackRaven's next album, Native Knight! For the next two and a half months our journey began. We talked about the healing of others and how powerful that could be, but we also realized that before you heal others you have to heal yourself first. The process had started for us. 

I arranged for Lee Plenty Wolf and the Plenty Wolf Singers (Lee's traditional Lakota drum group) to come to Sedona from Denver to make an appearance on our album in exchange for Gonz and me to record an album for them. I envisioned a prayer for the record. Why, may you ask? I felt, you can't have a mission without permission and I felt a blessing from Uncle Lee would really set the record straight. Unbeknownst to me, Gonzo and Lee were working on an introduction by Gonzo, writing it first in English and Lee translating it to Lakota. This introduction/prayer will be the first track you'll hear on the album. Our intention was set and it sounded really good. First, we brought in (or talked into) Christopher O'Brien to play keyboards and be a primary member of BlackRaven. 

Piece by piece it was coming together, and we hadn't even gotten to the base of the mountain yet. Finishing up the Sedona sessions I was sure we built a good foundation to move this project to Los Angeles. First, Gonzo and Phil jumped in with two feet and started with guitars, and guitars of every kind were brought to the table. I loved what Phil was doing, just fantastic! While at work in LA, Gonzo was talking to Bryan Carlstrom at Tranzformer Studios about mixing the album there, he listened and agreed to do it! On January 25th, 2013 Gonzo, Phil and I were at the NAMM show and Gonzo got a call. The message was that Bryan had passed away. We were shocked and all we could do was to stand and huddle together and pray. With the loss of Bryan, things were uncertain and making arrangements with Tranzformer to continue this project was now even more important than ever. So, teaming up with Annette Ciseros tracking and Dean Dichoso mixing we were ready to take this album to the next level. We did quite a bit of tracking at Tranzformer. We brought in Louis Metoyer into track bass for us, (killer s#*t dude)! More guitars from Phil and Mike Smothers, drums and percussion from Gonzo, the vocal cue for "Babe I'm Going To Leave You" was sung by the band and Winnie's crew, thanks, guys.



Daniel Hicks & The BlackRaven Band Celebrate ...

"Native Knight" Co-Produced by Daniel Hicks and Gonzo Sandoval

Mixed by Dean Dichoso & Annette Cisneros @ Tranzformer Studios Burbank, Ca

The BlackRaven Band has unfurled this musical opus "Native Knight" without restrictions of time or money as it took 7 years to complete. God being the Executive Producer! It is our intention to offer this new form of music to help heal the human condition that permeates all of humanity... Also, to bring these traditional indigenous instruments from the Native Americans to the mainstream platform for all to hear & enjoy… Blessings of Healing to you all! Rock on! Thank you from The Bottom of our Hearts, ~ The BlackRaven Band

BlackRaven has a new line up, a new sound, and a new album "Native Knight" due to unleash on 10-15-16! It will feature ~Daniel Hicks on Native American Flutes, ~Gonzo Sandoval on Percussion, Drums & Vocals ~ Phillip Sandoval on Guitars (both Sandoval brothers are from the legendary Pasadena/Hollywood rock band Armored Saint) ~ Chris O'Brian on Keyboards, other guest musicians include: Louis Metoyer on Bass (playing a Tobias Bass given to him by Michael Tobias specifically for this record...We thank Michael Tobias eternally), Mike Smothers on Guitars, Evan Perlman on Didgeridoo, Walter Bush & Michael Joseph on Bass, Lee Plenty wolf and the Plentywolf singers & Thunderbeat on Djembe' amongst others.

A message from BlackRaven's Co-Producer & percussionist Gonzo Sandoval ~

This Record was made, recorded, written & Produced with the exclusive help of other people..however you look at it, it was done with the support financially & otherwise of other people outside of us. The grace of the Lord and our Music shine together. ... If it touches your heart. go with it. Start your internal journey towards self-healing. ...go for it! ... Rock it! So many Thank yous are due! The record was conceived to help heal the human condition which involves us all! Peace and Love and Music be with you all! Now and Forever and a Day! 

Band Members