Paul DeHaven Creates Echoes and Overtones

Paul DeHaven
Paul DeHaven Daniel Sharkey
Paul DeHaven's artistry cannot be contained in a single band. A former member of celebrated indie-folk group Paper Bird, which called it quits at the end of 2017, DeHaven could have thrown in the towel. Instead, the ambitious singer, songwriter and guitarist went on to form a new outfit, Heavy Diamond Ring, with vocalist and trumpet player Sarah Anderson while continuing to pursue his own work on the side.

The 36-year-old resident of Evergreen, who grew up in Arvada and Golden and also lends his talents to a recently created and well-received Grateful Dead-inspired project called Street Cats Making Love, releases his second solo effort, Echoes and Overtones, this week. DeHaven marks the occasion of his sophomore solo drop with a show at the Ubisububi Room at the Thin Man Tavern on Thursday, March 5.

"I had a glut of songs, and I was in the middle of writing and rehearsing a full band record, when I realized I had a collection of these more mellow, acoustic-guitar-based songs that fit really well together," relates DeHaven, who also enjoys creating ambient music as part of another project, Saskatoon, with his wife.

So in the midst of his weekly band rehearsals, the ambitious songwriter, husband and stepfather spent his days at his home studio recording his latest pared-down collection of acoustic tunes. DeHaven says it's a record that those close to him have been urging him for years to make and that he now has the material and the confidence to pull off.

"I tried not to get too experimental with this release," he says. "I have a tendency to want to hide behind cool, complex arrangements and clever studio tricks. On this record, I'm trying to stay out of the way and let the songs speak for themselves. It was nice to put it out without trying too hard, I guess. It was about getting the right takes and choosing the right songs."

DeHaven says some of the songs on the release, one of which aims for a "Nebraska-era Springsteen" sound, were written a few years ago, but the rest of them are freshly penned.

"I did a lot of writing for this record. I'm a guitar player first, so singing and recording my voice has been an interesting journey for the last two years," says DeHaven, who does most of his writing and some of his recording at his home studio in Evergreen.

"There's  a cool moment on this album where, at the end of a song, you can hear some crows crowing in the background," he explains. "I left them in there because it was such a beautiful accident. It's nice to include the environment in your songs instead of taking it out, which is sometimes what happens when you record. Having lived up here [in Evergreen] for ten years now, it's a part of who I am. You can't separate yourself from the environment. Subtle textures, overtones and echoes of the moment are what this album is about."

The instrumentation on the release is mostly acoustic guitar, while some tracks also include electric guitar, drums and percussion (congas), with DeHaven's bandmates from other projects contributing.

"I try to keep the content coming. It seems people consume music pretty quickly these days," he observes. "The world is moving faster."

Paul DeHaven's Echoes and Overtones release party with Lake Mary takes place at 8 p.m. Thursday, March 5, in the Ubisububi Room at the Thin Man Tavern, 2015 East 17th Avenue.
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Nick Hutchinson writes about music for Westword and enjoys playing his guitar when not on deadline.
Contact: Nick Hutchinson

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