Released Tuesday, April 14, 2015, “Mostly True Stories” is the first full-band album recorded by The Leavelles. The Americana/indie rock band’s roots go much deeper, however.
The Leavelles (pronounced “LUH-velles”) formed in North Texas in the early 2000s.
The band was, initially, just a way for a few guys to blow off steam playing punked-up versions of country and classic rock songs.
Guitarists came and went, with singer-songwriter Frank Colwell, bassist Jeff Bullard and drummer Ryan Conditt forming the group’s nucleus.
Singer-songwriter and guitarist Joe McClour joined The Leavelles in late 2005.
With the addition of the Southeastern Oklahoma native, the band’s focus shifted to writing and performing original songs.
The lineup lasted long enough to write 14 songs, play a few local gigs and record an EP in Van Alstyne, Texas.
Frustrated with the five songs they tracked, as well as personality differences, McClour left the band in the summer of 2006.
The Leavelles ceased to exist for the next six years. Colwell and McClour remained friends, though, and matured as songwriters and musicians.
In 2012, they began recording the band’s debut album, “Echo,” in a log house outside Atoka, Oklahoma.
McClour and Colwell tracked the entire album as a duo, using only a few programmed bass tracks and computer drum tracks to round out the rhythm section.
“Echo” was released on digital streaming and downloading sites Oct. 15, 2013.
Drummer David Mahaffey began practicing with Colwell and McClour on existing, as well as newly written, songs in late 2013.
The band considered continuing on as a power trio but really wanted a bassist to allow Colwell and McClour to continue to split duties fronting the band and playing guitar.
They got their wish when Justin Russell, bassist for a local blues-rock band, agreed to rehearse and record with them.
The Leavelles had around 15 songs when they began working out arrangements for the new album in November 2014.
After demoing and discussing the new material, the frontmen decided to record 10 of the tracks.
The group practiced hard and heavy in November and January, taking December off for work and family holiday celebrations.
In February 2015, they entered AudioStyles Studio in Colleyville, Texas, where they recorded “Mostly True Stories” in four days.
During the recording sessions, Colwell and McClour asked Russell to officially join the band, and he accepted.
The fifth creative member of the “Mostly True Stories” team was producer, engineer and mixer Taylor Tatsch. In addition to running the recording sessions at his studio, Tatsch was a crucial sounding board for the band as they fine-tuned arrangements.
He even went so far as to offer his own musical contributions, ranging from harmony vocals to Hammond organ parts.
McClour’s sister, Hezra Moore, contributed harmony vocals on two tracks.
The band members kept it a family affair after the album was mixed, tapping Colwell’s brother, Rob Colwell, to master the album at his business, Bombworks Sound, in McKinney, Texas.
The album was released on iTunes, Amazon and other streaming and download sites Tuesday, April 14, 2015. In addition, the band is selling “Mostly True Stories” on CD at their shows.