“It's a beautiful record!  And a brilliant idea.
Load up the woody with surf boards and head for the waves!  This record makes me want to be a Beach Boy!"

Stewart Copeland

DMME-LET IT ROCK 5.10.2023


THE REFUGEES – California

Wabuho 2023

Echoes from the Canyon bring back a little ensemble that loathe to rest on their laurels.

Once upon a time there were FUGEES and then there was another trio, THE REFUGEES, whose pedigree couldn’t be more stellar: among their many credits, Deborah Holland is known as one third of ANIMAL LOGIC, Wendy Waldman as a Grammy-nominated songwriter for Vanessa Williams and NITTY GRITTY DIRT BAND, and Cidny Bullens as an also a Grammy-nominated warbler prominent on the “Grease” OST. They got together in 2007 to release two LPs and one EP – only to stop in 2018 and come back five years later with an album of songs firmly associated with the late ’60s scene, the mostly serene pieces with multi-part harmonies that colored the period between the Summer of Love and Woodstock and are quite faithfully reproduced here. Given a slightly modern twist to confirm these numbers’ relevance, the classics still sound captivating and still caress the listener’s psyche in various ways.

It’s not that the group’s treatments of “So You Want To Be A Rock And Roll Star” and “Sin City” evokes – through the former’s sinister instrumental intro redolent of “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” and the latter’s slow burn – the Manson menace of the otherwise blissful era and passes the male voices of the originals to the female vocals, anchored at the bottom end by Bullens, a man now. It’s their tremendously spiritual renditions of “Sail On, Sailor” and “Good Vibrations” that build a sisterhood vibe where a brothers’ unity used to simmer, and it’s their imbuing Stephen Stills’ perennials with a fresh sensibility that turns the tremulous “You Don’t Have To Cry” and “For What It’s Worth” which bookend this album and set Appalachian gloom into the Hollywood Hills’ groove, plus “Carry On” sitting in the record’s very heart, into milestones of our age again and again. For the same reasons, if “Monday, Monday” and “Dedicated To The One I Love” explore familiar, romantic avenues with a new passion and a new sonic punch, Sly Stone’s “Stand!” has lost both the exclamation mark from the title and the vehemence from the delivery – all in favor of sweet lyricism oozing from “California” and lighting the world.

It’s that good.



Combining three stellar singer-songwriters and great classic rock songs is not a guarantee of success. Fortunately, Cidny Bullens, Deborah Holland, and Wendy Waldman know how to deliver tasty arrangements and stellar vocals. California, a tribute to the golden state, is a primarily acoustic affair produced by Waldman and Abraham Parker. The tender covers of classic California rock songs run the gambit from the expected (Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth) to deep cuts ( Sly and The Family Stone’s “Stand”).

The arrangements superbly match the band's vocal talents, as the acoustic guitars by Holland and Waldman, along with Bullens’ mandolin, sparkle.

The Rufugees shine in California, and the album is an excellent gateway to their solo and group catalogs.


"The Refugees offer up a terrific combination of engaging, passionate, and poetic songwriting, high-caliber musicianship, and gorgeous vocals. The combined musical pedigree of Cidny Bullens, Deborah Holland, and Wendy Waldman is unparalleled. Don't even think about missing an opportunity to catch them in concert."”

— Anil Prasad from Innerviews, Guitar Player and Bass Player

Project Name

“With decades in the music industry, Wendy Waldman, Cidny Bullens, and Deborah Holland formed The Refugees in 2007. Their soaring harmonies, indelible musicianship, powerful songwriting, and electric stage show, have been wowing audiences and DJs all over the North America. This award-winning trio brings passion and professionalism to every note.”

"Heavenly harmonies – Celestial singing. Sounds of stars in the making, with your songs as safe haven. Terrific."
-- Michael Nesmith. Owner of Videoranch, formerly of The Monkees

"Like the name implies, The Refugees have seen a lot and survived... Listen to the disc and you'll know how- through raw talent!"
-- Rob Reinhart, Producer of Acoustic Café

"The Refugees have a spirt and light that captures your attention right from the downbeat until they've left the building. These are not just 3 very talented women, they are great entertainers"
-- Sleepy John Sandidge, KPIG Radio

"The Refugees have something special. They can perform those harmonies that Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young could not nail at Woodstock. They can pick their guitars. Hell, Deborah even played an accordion, Cidny a mandolin. And the material resonates"
-- Bob Lefsetz, the Lefsetz Letter


Press Photos

The Refugees--Deborah Holland, Cidny Bullens, Wendy Waldman

The Refugees -- Cidny Bullens, Wendy Waldman, Deborah Holland

The Refugees--Wendy Waldman, Deborah Holland, Cidny Bullens

Sample Video