Double Double Whammy
The debut full-length album from songwriter Alex Montenegro, better known by “Skirts,” is a convergence of Southwestern folk rock and contemporary percussion, adorned with Texas imagery and piercing guitar licks. Entitled Great Big Wild Oak, the record spans ten intimate tracks that paint sonic portraits of Montenegro’s memories through impressive arrangements and warmhearted vocals.
Growing up in Dallas, Montenegro was surrounded by music, citing distinct memories of her father teaching her how to place a needle on a record he was willing to sacrifice. Montenegro began to shape her own taste whilst working at record stores and discovering the burgeoning indie rock communities in Texas. After the release of Almost Touching, an EP of tracks home-recorded on a cassette 4-track, Montenegro took Skirts on the road, touring with the likes of LVL UP, Snail Mail, and Spencer Radcliffe (who lends vocals on delicate album closer “Annie”). Employing live bandmembers and friends Vincent Bui, Victor Bui and Joshua Luttrull, Montenegro picked apart demos and made space for Great Big Wild Oak to grow.
Recorded between various home studios in Dallas, Montenegro recalls Great Big Wild Oak as a “Frankenstein album” as forgotten demos came back to life and other songs were cut from the record. The album’s craft is displayed in its open-minded approach, from xylophone to pedal steel, banjo to clarinet — the vast array of instruments never outshine one another.