Long awaited – and
long overdue – followup to the two dB’s mainmen’s 1991 Mavericks album.
By Fred Mills
Way back in 1991, longtime pals Peter Holsapple and Chris
Stamey got together and recorded the critically acclaimed Mavericks album. Released on a Rhino Records imprint that soon
shuttered, the record went out of print, but was luckily resurrected a year or
so ago and reissued in expanded format by the Collector’s Choice label. For
fans of the pair’s erstwhile combo The dB’s, Mavericks was musical manna, brimming with elegiac pop and folkrock
(not to mention a striking Gene Clark cover song) and signaling that this
creative partnership was one worth savoring.
And holding out for, too: while the two men subsequently
worked apart for the remainder of the decade, not long after the new millennium
was ushered in they put The dB’s back together for a series of low-key reunion
gigs, eventually going into the studio and recording new material. The dB’s
remain an occasional performing enterprise, and the studio album will
eventually see the light of day, but concurrently Holsapple and Stamey have
been working on a followup to Mavericks,
unveiling several new songs a couple of years ago in Austin at SXSW.
That followup is finally en route: due from Bar/None on June
9 is hERE and nOW (yes, that’s how
the case lettering is officially done), a 14-song platter full of dB’s and Mavericks-worthy material. Included is
another eye-opening cover, this time a Holsapple-sung version of British cult
band Family’s “My Friend the Sun,” alongside a slew of original compositions. Self
produced by the pair, the album was recorded and mixed primarily at Modern
Recording in Chapel Hill, with additional tracking done up in Hoboken at Water Music. Sax great Branford
Marsalis plays on two tracks, while among the other guests are Superchunk’s Jon
Wurster, the dB’s Will Rigby and Gene Holder, members of Roman Candle, Chatham
County Line and the Weird Girls, and others. (Big shout-out to BLURT buddies
Robert Keely and Bob “The Pump” Northcott, by the way.)
BLURT’s heard the record, and while we don’t want to spoil
any surprisesby spilling the beans prematurely, suffice to say that it’s some
of the purest pop you’ll hear all year, complex yet buoyant, and aglow with Everly
Brothers-like vocal harmonies guaranteed to have you humming along late into
the night. And in keeping with what’s apparently THE hipster instrument of
choice these days, there’s a tune titled “Ukulele” – but trust us, you haven’t
exactly heard the uke strummed quite like this before.
Mark – as the saying goes – those calendars, kids.