WINFIELD — Winfield’s nationally acclaimed band will soon have a new album ready for the listening. The Dirty Clergy, a vintage and indie rock group, has songs written for an album titled “Hymns for the Trying,” which is due out sometime this fall on Cornelius Chapel Records out of Birmingham. It will be the group’s fourth album to date.
The group’s leader and guitarist, Brian Manasco, mentioned 40 songs for the album have been written over the past two and a half years and that they have narrowed down the selection for an album.
“‘Hymns for the Trying’ can mean one of two things,” Manasco explained of the title. “Both apply here. For the ‘trying’ person, they are usually difficult in a lot of ways. Whether they bring it on themselves or it being their reaction to the way they have been treated. It’s also for the people who continue to try and try and put forward the effort and may seem to come up just short of their efforts and goals. I came up with it before I ever wrote a song for (the album) and just kind of kept it in mind as I was writing. Hymns kind of goes with the Clergy,” he added and laughed.
While the songs for the new album have been described as more singer/songwriter oriented, there are three tracks which are covers. Since part of their style is vintage rock, it is no surprise one of the songs is the popular “Draggin’ the Line,” written by the famous Tommy James and Bob King and originally recorded by James in 1970. It appeared on his 1971 album “Christian of the World.”
The frontman for the 1960s act Tommy James and the Shondells, James is known for the number one hits “Hanky Panky” (1966) and “Crimson and Clover” (1968), among others such as “Crystal Blue Persuasion,” “Sweet Cherry Wine,” “Mony Mony” and “I Think We’re Alone Now.”
Paying homage to Tommy James, Manasco added tremolo on “Draggin’ the Line,” which was used on the vocals at the end of James’ “Crimson and Clover” for a vocal effect.
The other two covers are “All I Have to Do is Dream” (1958) by the Everly Brothers and “Because” (1965) by the Dave Clark Five.
“I thought it would be cool to do some old covers,” Manasco said. “We’ve never done old covers like that, from the 1950s and 1960s.”
All three covers feature vocals by Amber Lullaby, a singer/songwriter who lives in France.
“I met her on Facebook,” Manasco explained. “We shared each other’s music and talked about doing music together, and this is what it’s come to. We’ve filmed a video for the Dave Clark Five cover. She filmed her part in France, and we filmed our part in Huntsville...I thought that was cool. It’s something you don’t see every day.”
Manasco said “Because” and “Draggin’ the Line” were mixed and mastered by Dan Konopka, the drummer for the group OK Go.
“They had the music video a few years ago that had the synchronized treadmills...they have a lot of good pop songs.”
The other cover, “All I Have to Do is Dream,” was mixed and mastered by Manasco, while the original songs are mostly being mixed by Lester Nuby III of Birmingham, the engineer who usually works on the group’s material, according to Manasco.
The new album was recorded at Ol Elegante Studio in Homewood. The plans are to include the songs “Thank You for Understanding,” “Salvation,” “Where the Palms Survive,” “False Positive,” “Eyes on You,” “Bad Dreams,” “Sign of Life,” “Need You Now,” “Winston,” “Lost & Found,” “Tonight” and the three cover songs.
The band, which also consists of Ky Carter of Hamilton, has released the following albums: “Revival” (2011), “Rattlesnake” (2016) and “In Waves” (2020). They have also released the “Shake” extended play in 2012 and a live EP the same year. Their 2014 non-album single “Shake, Shake” featured American Idol contestant Johnny Newcomb.
The album will be released on CD and for digital download.
See complete story in the Journal Record.