The High Divers are an Americana group with a surfy edge. Their eclectic debut, Riverlust, is a smart record that shows off a group that is as catchy as they are ambitious. “Tall Promises” is a duet showcasing the smooth contralto of Mary Alice Connor alongside Luke Mitchell’s powerful tenor that sounds like a contemporary reworking of Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazlewood. It’s a sun-swollen affair sweetened with a plucked marimba about a troubled relationship. Luke joined us for a brief chat about open tunings, mumble tracks, and writing on the road.
The High Divers recently were in an intense car crash while on tour. Donate some money to their Venmo [The High Divers CHS] and pick up a copy of Riverlust.
SC: I love how the structure of the verses in this song with each verse couplet separated by a melodic interlude. Can you tell me a little bit about how you came up with the structure?
LM: I had been experimenting with a lot of open tunings when I was 17 or 18 and that melody stayed in my head even after all those years. The repetition of that phrase makes it seem more like a mantra, and something to look forward to throughout the song.
SC: This song is an interesting duet in how the female and male vocals trade the verse/chorus. Can you tell me about why you made that choice?
LM: Mostly we made that choice because of Mary Alice and I's different vocal ranges. My voice seems to have a little more grit in that range, and it caused the chorus to pop more, so we went with it.
track home with him and wrote most of the lyrics off of my mumble track. He also added some really beautiful things here and there, including some really cool guitar parts throughout the song.
SC: Tell me about your normal writing process. Do you keep a songwriting schedule? Or do you wait for inspiration?
LM: I used to be better about writing all the time, but being on the road constantly has really cut into any normal schedule I used to stick to. I have to be alone normally to be able to get any real work done. I usually bring in a pretty fully formed song and we just try different versions and arrangements. Mary Alice has a similar process of writing, and will share her ideas with me usually before we try it with the band.
SC: How does your songwriter community influence your work?
LM: It's always really inspiring to hear other people's songs, and even more fun to see them out there playing them for a bunch of people. In Charleston, we're surrounded by some really talented songwriters. When the Scene SC sampler came out, I listened to She Returns From War and Jenna Desmond and Corey Campbell’s songs over and over again. It makes me so happy to not only listen to great music, but great music made by people you love. It's a really unique feeling.
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