Deep Gold’s is an instantly identifiable voice. The Maine-based singer-songwriter is a dark and sultry crooner, quietly grinding the vocal gears a la Leonard Cohen on “Everybody Knows” or Bob Dylan circa Time Out of Mind. There’s a gravelly, slow-burning richness to his delivery that can mesmerize with a howl or a whisper, not to mention a subtle, fatalistic wisdom well beyond the enigmatic twentysomething’s years.
The name Deep Gold means many things to its creator. It’s the color of the guitar he plays, a Gibson Les Paul Gold Top. It reflects the honeyed tone of his voice, and also hints at something precious that’s been unearthed, like gold from a mine, a once-buried nugget of truth or beauty now revealed in song. It also invokes his publishing company, The Golden Door, an image taken from the inscription at foot of the Statue of Liberty.
In 2016, following the demise of his Brooklyn-based band JOAN, the Miami native moved from New York to a remote island off the coast of Maine, and began writing the songs from which he’d cull his new self-titled debut. “Where I live now, it’s a pretty isolated place—you can only get there by ferry,” Deep Gold says. “Last summer, though, I happened to meet this songwriter from Nashville, Willie Breeding, who was in town with his girlfriend visiting. It’s funny—he was a bit of a fish out of water here, but we shared our music, and he was very kind. He set me up with what he thought would be the best producer and studio for my music. I trusted him, and it worked out nicely.”
The studio and producer Breeding recommended for Deep Gold? Nashville’s The Bomb Shelter, where Alabama Shakes famously recorded their breakthrough record Boys & Girls, and Jon Estes, who has worked with artists from Kesha and Robyn Hitchcock to Steelism, Music Band, and Natalie Prass. When Deep Gold made the trip south, Estes recorded the core tracks to tape, giving the music a rich, authentic sound. He also handled bass and keys on the sessions, tapping Jeremy Fetzer of Steelism to play guitar, Bryan Brock on percussion, Alexis Saski and Maureen Murphy on backing vocals, plus three-piece horn and string sections, which added some lush counterpoint to Deep Gold’s sparse, moody songs.
The songs on Deep Gold’s self-titled debut, due out September 28, have a wide thematic range, drawing on politics, social commentary, relationships, and environmental destruction among other topics. Though he admittedly doesn’t listen to much music (preferring to draw inspiration from either personal experience or classic American authors with “a strong sense of dramatic story and moral reckoning”—writers like John Steinbeck, Tennessee Williams and James Baldwin), Deep Gold holds Randy Newman in the highest regard as a songwriter, and also acknowledges the impact of a holy trinity of iconic artists—Waits, Cohen and Dylan—on his aesthetic.
Today Glide is excited to share “The Hellhounds”, one of the standout tracks on the album. Reminiscent of the loping street jazz of Tom Waits and the gothic Americana of The Handsome Family, the song marries a swampy, organ-tinged rock groove with gravelly, Dylan-esque vocals and lyrics. While lyrically exploring the solace art can provide in a competitive and cruel society, the song makes subtle use of brass and guitars to conjure a dark yet free-spirited mood to make Deep Gold one of the more intriguing acts to emerge as of late.
Deep Gold is out September 28. For more music and info visit deepgoldband.com.
Photo by Courtney Mooney