After years of helping steer the lauded and eclectic careers of both of his bands, Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven, co-founder and frontman David Lowery has seen fit to present a collection of songs recorded apart from those iconic indie & alternative rock entities. Stopping short of calling it a solo record, Lowery has collaborated with a handful of trusted musical cohorts associated with his Richmond, VA-based studio, Sound of Music - an inner circle that Lowery has relied on for over 17 years and who’ve been instrumental in helping create the sounds heard on this album as well as past projects. David recorded and produced The Palace Guards in conjunction with John Morand and Alan Weatherhead. Key players include Miguel Urbiztondo on drums, David Immergluck on guitars and bass, Craig Harmon played organs and Ferd Moyse on upright bass and fiddle. Special guest appearances include Cracker mates Sal Maida and Johnny Hickman, as well as the late Mark Linkous (Sparklehorse) who played keyboards on “Big Life.” The Palace Guards will be available everywhere February 1st, 2011 through 429 Records.
The Palace Guards took David several years to complete. Lowery felt it liberating to write the songs without the constrictions of how they might fit in with the Cracker or Camper canon of songs and performances. The easy rapport and powerful creative chemistry that Lowery shared with his studio pals allowed his introverted musical inclinations to shine through. Apparent in this collection of nine songs is a willingness to push the envelope stylistically—from the Appalachian-woven folk of the album’s first single “Raise ‘em Up on Honey” to the swirling, languid psychedelia of “Deep Oblivion” and eclectic Syd Barrett-inspired title track, to the rocked-out “Baby, All Those Girls Meant Nothing to Me,” Lowery enjoys the freedom to write and record just about anything that pleases him at that moment.
“One of the reasons the album sounds the way it does is that I have pretty strong personalities playing with me,” says Lowery, “guys who I’ve worked with for years, who have done engineering or playing on Camper and Cracker albums. There’s that instant easy rapport that shines through. Working with them brought out the more extreme edges in these songs and amplified them. It was also liberating to start with no preconceived notions of what they would end up sounding like or worrying about how they might sound in a live setting, as I have to do when I write songs for Cracker."
This is all in advance of what will certainly be a very busy year for Lowery in 2011. In addition to promoting The Palace Guards, he'll also be doing a string of East Coast this January with both Camper Van Beethoven & Cracker as part of their Key Lime & Kerosene Tour, where both bands will be performing their signature albums (CVB's Key Lime Pie and Cracker's Kerosene Hat) in their entireties. David has also currently been writing new music with Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven for upcoming albums from both bands (this will mark the first new material from CVB since their lauded 2004 New Roman Times release). In addition, David also plans to continue working on his popular 300 Songs project - a blog chronicling all of the songs he's written and recorded with both Cracker & CVB. Plans are also in the works to turn these wry, humorous and informative musings on his songs, bands and, ultimately, the music business in general, into his first published book later in the year.