Devendra Banhart emerged as one of the most fascinating, unpredictable and inspiring artists of his generation. For the writing and recording of Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon Banhart set up housekeeping in a rustic hillside home in the longstanding bohemian enclave of Topanga, North of Los Angeles. Noah, Devendra and engineer Beauraymond Fletcher created their recording studio in a second floor recreation room with a panoramic view of the canyon. Basic tracks were laid down using a core lineup of Banhart (guitar, piano, cuatro, psaltery), Georgeson (zither, guitar, backing vocals, hammond b-3, bass, et al), Luckey Remington (bass, guitar, background singing, water drum and freedom chime), Greg Rogove (drums, tablas, supporting vocals, geese and duck calls, pots and pans, mop stomp), and Pete Newsom (piano, keyboards, backing vox). Where Devendra's previous album Cripple Crow sounded like Devendra trading licks with a never ending caravan of passing musical gypsies, Smokey is very much the work of a band. The vocal arrangements are noticeably more intricate and ambitious with lush harmonies running through many of these numbers. The instrumental performances are comfortably loose but in-the-pocket - a rich blend of acoustic and electric guitars, understated drumming and gentle percussion, diffident bass and a variety of downhome keyboards, subtly colored with the occasional lightest touch of strings or woodwinds.