Local songwriter and bandleader Tyler Mechem eases into a melancholy mood on much of Crowfield’s new studio album The Diamond Sessions. The band named the 12-song collection in honor of promoter/manager Johnny Diamond, who died last fall. Mechem and his bandmates — guitarist Micah Nichols, bassist Ethan Ricks, keyboardist Whitt Algar, and drummer Parker Gins — recorded the album over the winter and spring at Black Dog Studios in Atlanta with acclaimed engineer Rick Beato.
The band raised nearly $20,000 through a Kickstarter campaign to finance the production. “It’s much different from our previous album, Goodbye, Goodnight, So Long Midwestern,” Mechem says. “We really loved that album when we got it done, especially the structure and arrangements, but we didn’t want to remake that type of album here. A lot of that came from Johnny Diamond working with us and going over what we were doing. He pushed us forward after Joe [Giant, the original pianist] left the band last year. Johnny was always there saying, ‘You gotta keep going.’”
Whereas the band usually perform new material on the road for at least a year before a recording session, they finished writing and arranging most of the songs on The Diamond Sessions on the spot in the studio. “Johnny encouraged us to go for a more stripped-down, organic sound like we had on the first album” Mechem says. “I was kind of feeling more like a singer-songwriter production anyway, so that turned into a situation that had more of a groove and more feel.”
Crowfield celebrates the release of The Diamond Sessions with a two-night stint at the Windjammer this weekend. They’ll be supported by N.C. band American Aquarium on Friday and by Nashville act A Thousand Horses on Saturday. Doors open at 9 p.m. each night. See a full interview with Mechem at City Paper's Music+Clubs section.
T. Ballard Lesemann
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