“Surrounded by an ethereal haze of guitars and billowing bass lines, Michael J. Winningham’s bittersweet vocals simmer as he croons over an ’80s-era snare” — SPIN
Palo Duro is the pulsating, technicolor universe of Michael J. Winningham, an Austin based songwriter previously fronting the band Gold Beach.
In July 2012, Michael reached out to his childhood friend, producer Sam Cohen (Kevin Morby, Benjamin Booker) to continue work on a new Gold Beach record. As teenagers, Sam helped Michael arrange his first song at a house party in Houston TX. They were 16 years old at the time. Fast forward many years later and this creative synergy proved to be strong—Instantly, in the studio, exciting and bold ideas emerged. Collaboration and endless possibilities informed the arrangements between Sam, Michael, and keyboardist Carlos Orozco, and a new spirit was born. This was no longer Gold Beach.
Two years flew by and a rotating cast of musicians were invited to join the recording process. New songs emerged from studios in Wimberley TX, New York City, and Los Angeles. In this time, 23 songs were recorded, and eventually, Michael would name the project Palo Duro. In the summer of 2016, the music was introduced to 30th Century Records founder Brian Burton, aka Danger Mouse, and plans began to release the music.
The first single, “Darken the Glow” is a William Onyeabor inspired pop song with scaling guitars, a dirty back beat and a chorus that soars in the direction of Quincy Jones. “Darken the Glow” embodies the trust, the celebration, and ultimately, the creativity of this body of work and the people involved. The found footage video, featuring hundreds of skeleton-clad Lucha Libre fighters dancing while eating ramen, sumo-wrestlers, and dragons falling from the sky, echoes this celebration.