By Terrah Baker
If walking through the Fayetteville Farmers’ Market or biking down the hills of Mount Sequoyah on a bright and warm spring morning had a soundtrack, then Benjamin Del Shreve’s new album “The Diamond” could be it.
It has elements of folk and indie, as Shreve suggested when we met, but add to that some tribal beats, bluesy vocals, lyrics that hit close to home and a refreshing variation of relaxing yet upbeat tones in each song.
He and his producer, Adam Putman at Insomniac Studios in Fayetteville, worked together on the album for most of 2012, just attempting to, as Shreve said, “hear the stuff I was hearing in my head.” So if he heard a mandolin, he needed to learn that section of music — like in the song “Mount Sequoyah.”
Shreve said the album is a far reach from albums he’s done in the past, and because he likes the style, he hopes the music lovers do, too.
“I like the lifestyle with it a lot better. If you talk to me, I’m not a billy bad ass. I’d meet people and they’d assume I was a cocky asshole. And I’m just like ‘Hey, I like flowers.’ This one’s more my personality — room temperature,” Shreve said.
He began playing music when he was young with his brother and a friend. When their bass player left, Shreve — the little brother who had a backstage pass to every practice but never played — was handed a bass guitar and told, “Pretty much if you find the wrong note, the right one is either up or down. We had our first show two weeks later,” he said.
Since then, he’s recorded almost seven album’s worth of self-written and performed songs of his current genre; with “The Diamond” being the first compilation to be released. He and his producer began tracking last spring for this project, he said, but since he’s always recording, there was no rush to get it done.
“I always try to record just in case I ever go on a long trip or die in an airplane (crash). I want to get all of my music recorded first.”
He thinks the album’s relaxed yet optimistic feel comes from getting off the road and in a “normal” environment, not living his life on the road and for the hour he had on stage each night.
“First time my boss had to get on to me about something I was grinning because I felt normal,” he said.
Rehearsals for the album release party — set for Dec. 7 at George’s Majestic Lounge on Dickson — had begun when we met on a warm Nov. 30 afternoon, and he was relearning piano parts he had forgotten. But, he’s excited to bring a collaboration of local musicians together, and if the live show is anything like the album, I’m excited, too.