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"You think you want to have the band as big as you can possibly have it," says Loyd, noting that they employed extra reeds, trumpets, an auxiliary drummer, and a Dave Matthews Band-covering "Viking." Like it or not, paring down became necessary "[when] you've got someone onstage dancing around like a leprechaun when he has nothing to do."
The band did retain the services of organ player Travis Engler for the record and invited Mikel Lander from the Sugar Thieves to add a bluesy dobro coda to "Trouble," a track that also features background vocals from their friends in Future Loves Past.
"We were blessed by a lot of music fairies, I guess you could say," beams Dehaan. "Mikel let us use his father's banjo, we had the pedal steel technician for Robert Randolph, [and] John Ricker, who came in and did two tracks in 45 minutes, and then did a third one because we paid him for an hour."
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"And Curtis Grippe, our producer, played percussion all over the record," says Loyd before remarking, "It takes a village to make an album."
After making a seven-song EP in 2010, Banana Gun was champing at the bit to do an album but debated the wisdom of doing so in an era when everyone has a phone with them at all times and would be lucky to be able to hear two songs without interruption. The band's lineup woes informed some hesitation to create a 15-cut album; after all, the less you hear everything else, the more you can hear what's there. But the band's affection for the LP format won out in the end.
"It was going to be a dozen songs, but Kevin came with three songs during the two weeks we set aside for recording," says Dehaan. "And how could we leave off a song like 'Devil's Daughter'?"
Indeed, if albums are done for, you might as well cram variety in your repertoire just to show that rare breed of person who hears one of your MP3s and wants to see if you have the goods to back it up. All it takes is overhearing one song at a happenstance show or a clicking a YouTube video to jump-start that.
Well, maybe not a video where you mash up your folk song "Light On" with a Sesame Street skit. "Now," says Dehaan, "people think we're the fuckin' Wiggles."