That company would be Roadrunner Records. “We got to pick our producer and we got to pick our own artwork. We got to pick who we wanted to work on it. They are very responsive to the things we want, as far as maintaining the ability to keep our creative aspects in the forefront,” offers the lanky, sarcastically witty axe slinger.
Jaquire King produced the record, with his past credits including The Kings Of Leon, Tom Waits and Modest Mouse. Even during the summer months of 2007 before The Parlor Mob left for North Carolina in anticipation of the pending sessions, they bubbled with the thoughts of the upcoming collaborative connection.
“Jaquire had contacted us a while back, when we were making the EP with the guys from Capitol. He said he was interested in doing a record, when we were talking about it amongst the band, I guess he just happened to be following up with us. He took the time to approach Roadrunner and our management, basically telling them he really wanted to do this record,” Ritchie offers. “We had a mutual friend who he did a record with and we were fans of his engineering. Plus, we wanted to work with somebody who really wanted to make a record with us.”
“A big part of it was him contacting our label rather than our management reaching out to him,” says Bey.
“He helped us with arrangements and helped us pick the best performances of our songs,” continues Ritchie. “The album is performance based. We played all of the instruments on there and all of the main tracking was done live. It was basically about picking the right performance and getting the right sound. Jaquire is a well-rounded and creative producer.”
Then Bey adds, “The brilliance of his work didn’t hit us until we returned home and started rehearsing the songs the way we recorded them. It hit us then, how amazing he is. For example, we wanted the record kind of aggressive because a lot of the songs were upbeat. When we used to play live, we were always concerned with the spontaneity of dynamics, but when we got into the studio, all he would say was, ‘play hard and play loud!’”
The album was recorded in the famed Carolina religious sanctuary of Echo Mountain Studios, Paul Ritchie gladly divulges. “We recorded it in the same room they used to conduct sermons in, and it was the same room that the Avett Brothers recorded Emotionalism. The band there before us was The Band Of Horses,” referencing Sub Pop’s glowing gem. “They had a house that was about a mile away from the actual church, which the studio was in, where we could live. We are all pretty respectful people, but there might have been times when things got a little out of hand,” says Ritchie, chuckling, for the on the record comment. I would bet the story off the record would be filled with enough one-liners to leave a man squirming on the floor holding his stomach in joyous pain. But that exchange would have to wait for another day.
The featured tracks on And You Were A Crow include the blues inspired “When I Was An Orphan,” “Real Hard Headed,” the extended opus of “Tide Of Tears,” the chorus line of “My Favorite Heart To Break,” Sam Bey’s drum work on “Bullet,” and the boogie stomp closer of “Can’t Keep No Good Boy Down.”
The band’s tri-state area return will be the first since a sold-out performance at The Bowery Ballroom back in January supporting Nicole Atkins’ first Delancey St. headlining bill. As a result of that very performance, the band embarked on a two month nationwide tour-leg with the longtime friend and Columbia Records songstress. Most recently, four performances at South By Southwest earned the band increasing exposure.
“No matter what happens to us after this, we are not going to stop creating music together. This is just what we do. It is not about what is perceived to be cool in music,” Ritchie concludes, “it is about what has conviction.”
The Parlor Mob will be performing at Maxwell’s in Hoboken on April 15, a residency at NYC’s Annex starting on April 16, and an in-store appearance at Jack’s Record Shop in Red Bank on April 19. For more information on The Parlor Mob you can visit their homepage at myspace.com/theparlormob