Photo | Submitted
Black Mouth Cur recorded its debut single with the help of Mulligan Brothers drummer Greg DeLuca.
Band: Yeah, Probably & Black Mouth Cur Single Release Party
Date: Friday, Jan. 11, 10 p.m.
Venue: The Merry Widow, 51 S. Conception St. (Mobile), themerrywidow.net
Tickets: $8 in advance/$10 day of show; available through Ticketfly
The Merry Widow will soon be hosting a different kind of release party. On Jan. 11, the show will feature fresh tracks from a local favorite and a neighboring up-and-comer.
New-school soul outfit Yeah, Probably will unveil its latest track, “For Ya.” So far, the band has done a great job of building anticipation among its fans. Its tease across social media proves the band is nurturing its trademark “indie pop soul” sound, which has attracted listeners from all walks.
The newer band, Pensacola-based Black Mouth Cur, will introduce its new song, “Take Me There.” Some might consider the band as an attractive mix of Kings of Leon, The Decemberists and The 1975.
According to Black Mouth Cur frontman/guitarist Garrett Howell, “Take Me There” tells the story of a remorseful prisoner corresponding with his dedicated wife beyond the cold, steel bars. The prisoner maintains his sanity by reminiscing of better times with his wife in order to escape his jailhouse reality, through shared precious memories.
The release of the single represents the completion of a high school daydream shared by Howell and guitarist/vocalist Cory Dickinson. In those days, Howell says he and Dickinson established a love affair with what he describes as the “essence” of being a rock band. The two romanticized creating music that established an emotional and social connection with all who heard it.
As Howell and Dickinson grew older, they each began performing. With each passing day, the magic of rock ‘n’ roll established in their teen years began to fade. Eventually, the two crossed paths again and decided it was time to bring their dreams to life.
“We had been playing in these bands, but for some reason it had become more of a business or task,” Howell said. “It wasn’t as fun anymore. At some point, we were just like, ‘Let’s just go back to that original vision.’ It was going on tour and having fun and connecting with the audience. We set up a plan to do that, and it’s been a dream come true.”
Howell said the first step in his plan was to recruit members who shared their dream. At the time, Howell was playing in a worship band at a Baptist church in Pensacola. He noticed the teenage guitar player to his side demonstrated talent on the strings. After much persuasion, Howell said, he convinced Nick Touchstone to pick up the bass and join Dickinson and him on their musical journey.
Dickinson also discovered keyboardist Marcus Baggins (brother of Yeah, Probably drummer Phillip Baggins) at the same church and added him to the mix. After a year of performing with this lineup, Howell brought guitarist Zac Wilkins into the fold. Then, Howells says, Black Mouth Cur’s lineup was complete.
After a few rehersals, Howell says the next step was booking live shows. Since he had no venue contacts or connections in the Mobile or Pensacola music scenes, Howell said this step was initially intimidating. At first, he said, he was only able to convince a couple of dive bars in Bay Minette to feature Black Mouth Cur. While this was not the ideal environment, the band’s persistence and dedication helped them rise in the local scene.
Eventually, they found fans at Pour Nelson’s Pub in Daphne. Another positive reception at Bamboo Willie’s on Pensacola Beach led to regular performances. Recently, Black Mouth Cur performed at The Wharf’s Reelin’ in the New Year Street Party. Along the way, Howell established the local connections that he lacked in the band’s infancy.
“We used our resume to get a little bit better gigs,” Howell said. “Now, I’m playing sideman with a guy named Cam Lewis, and I just went on tour with Abe Partridge. I’ve been writing with Drew Nix [Red Clay Strays], and Greg DeLuca [Mulligan Brothers] produced our album.”
According to Howell, the connection made with DeLuca has helped bring their sound to life in the studio. Black Mouth Cur first laid tracks for “Take Me There” with a friend at what Howell describes as a media group in Lucedale, Mississippi. Howell says the act of finally recording an original song with this dream band was exhilarating. After laying tracks, the media group provided Black Mouth Cur with a mix and the master.
While performing at Manci’s Antique Club in Daphne, Howell says he was approached by DeLuca’s brother/Manci’s co-owner Garrett DeLuca, who insisted he work with his brother. However, Howell said, he was hesitant to contact him.
“I was really kind of scared to call him, because he’s the drummer for Mulligan Brothers,” DeLuca said. “I’m not anybody, and this guy’s got a touring band that goes all around the world. We were debating whether we should use the mix and master that we had got from the media company. I played a gig at Callaghan’s for the hurricane. Greg Deluca just happened to be there. So, one of my friends introduced me to him, and he told me to send a track.”
After listening, DeLuca promised to bring the band’s concept to life within a week. With the time and money already spent on the track, Howell admits he was skeptical. But as he worked his studio magic, DeLuca called Howell every night to update him on progress. With each phone call, Howell says he was taken by DeLuca’s excitement for the track.
“By the end of that week, it was sounding a thousand times better than the track we had, and we had used all of the same guitar tracks,” Howell recalled. “He sent it to his buddy in Nashville to mix it. It was a no-brainer at that point that Greg really knew that he was doing.”
This single release party is just the beginning for Black Mouth Cur. Not only is it a chance to celebrate the release of the band’s debut single, it is also a chance for Black Mouth Cur to celebrate being part of this musical community. In light of this, Howell said the night will conclude with a “communal jam” between the members of Yeah, Probably and Black Mouth Cur.
As far as the next step in Howell and Dickinson’s plan, the public can expect another Black Mouth Cur single to be released by the end of February. The group also has plans to release an EP before touring this summer.
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