Ancient River is a psychedelic rock band formed in 2008. The band was created by singer/songwriter James Barreto, and features Barreto (vocals/guitar/songwriter) and Alexis Cordova, Jr. (drums/vocals).
Formed in 2008, with friends and now past members Zachary Veltheim on bass (from Barreto's previous band The Ohm) and Chad Voight on drums.
The band name was taken from the Neil Young song "Thrasher": “Where the eagle glides ascending/There’s an ancient river bending/Down the timeless gorge of changes/Where sleeplessness awaits.”
In reviewing 2011's Songs from North America, the Knoxville Mercury described Ancient River’s music as reminiscent of "the sun-baked desert twang of the Meat Puppets and Crazy Horse."
Cordova and Barreto met when Cordova moved to Gainesville to join another band. In the Mercury interview, Cordova is quoted as saying, "when I found out about [Ancient River], if I hadn’t joined, they probably would have been my favorite band in Gainesville. I kind of feel like it was the right time, right place." Cordova now plays drums in the band, which was his first instrument growing up.
The band's origins can be traced back the music scene in Gainesville, Florida and its thriving home grown DIY scene. Barreto, who had trained as an audio engineer, had a home studio and was busy recording local musicians.
Ancient River made their debut at Austin Psych Festival on April 24, 2010. Cordova joined the line up in 2011 and the band began regularly playing the live circuit, playing Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia and Austin Psych Festival for a second time in 2012. Appearances at Los Angeles’ Psycho De Mayo and Desert Stars Festival Pre-Party followed in 2014 along with Milwaukee Psych Fest in 2015.