THE DEEP VIBRATION: Quiet! Recording in Progress

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

I heard a story about The Deep Vibration over lunch one day, back when the band was more aptly calling themselves The Attack. (There was a ‘60s band called The Attack, so they changed it.) Two of this apocryphal story’s characters are Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, who, after receiving a demo from the band at the Ryman Auditorium, pulled out of the parking lot blasting the tunes from their top-down convertible.

I heard a story about The Deep Vibration over lunch one day, back when the band was more aptly calling themselves The Attack. (There was a ‘60s band called The Attack, so they changed it.) Two of this apocryphal story’s characters are Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, who, after receiving a demo from the band at the Ryman Auditorium, pulled out of the parking lot blasting the tunes from their top-down convertible.

It’s the kind of story you want to believe and that you think has the right feel for a rock and roll legend in the making. It’s backed up by the fact that Gillian appears on the early track “Tennessee Rose,” adding some haunting harmony vocals to singer/songwriter Matt Campbell’s cracked account of adolescence that winds up (where else?) in the desert. “Tennessee Rose” is one of those songs that makes you stop what you’re doing, and, like the great American songs, puts an original voice in a pair of very old shoes.

Things picked up again for the band when friend and manager Will started interning at Nashville indie Dualtone Music Group. Guitarist Jeremy Fetzer met Matt Campbell at Belmont Univeristy and the two played with a rotating rhythm section cast before solidifying the current lineup with the soulful drumming of Luke Herbert and Adam Binder’s bass playing, which do a kind of balancing act against the band’s dominating, guitar-driven sound. When Dualtone signed them to a label/management deal and they needed a new name, they headed back to the Ryman for inspiration, whereupon Lou Reed re-christened them “The Deep Vibration.”

It’s a statement to being young and having already logged long studios hours that the band could show up at our office one evening to break the inaugural champagne bottle on the American Songwriter deck recording series. The deck series was probably dreamed up late at night over a ping pong match, with equal desire to showcase up-and-coming Nashville talent and to test drive Digidesign’s one-stop shop recording suite.

So The Deep Vibration is here, setting up for their en plein air debut on Music Row. Once engineer Brian Threlkeld finishes positioning mics around them, the band gets (or gives) the nod and launches into a song on a jagged minor chord called Veracruz, (which, it turns out, will also be the name of the band’s upcoming EP produced by Niko Bolas). The song cuts through the evening, sounding great with the acoustic, stripped-down treatment.

They move indoors and Campbell listens to playbacks obsessively, becoming the session’s ersatz producer. Satisfied or abandoning the rocker « Veracruz », the band tumbles into a new song, one part Sun-era Memphis rock and roll, two-parts New Orleans sing-along. The song calls for a “Sweet Virginia”-esque chorus of room noise so off-key back-up vocals, foot stomps, and jangling keys are added. “New Orleans” is the best take of the evening, and having cut a few great tracks for the deck series, The Deep Vibration decides to call it a night.

After everyone heads out, a couple of us sit around discussing the band’s future. We wonder what’s the appropriate dose of rock and roll revisionism to make an impact on today’s listeners. How much help do fans need today to conjure up images of a time in which there existed an altogether purer musical vision? Maybe we should just ask Gillian Welch.


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