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Crook & The Bluff

'MONOLITHS'

Crook & The Bluff 'MONOLITHS'

Crook & The Bluff
'MONOLITHS'

Darren's Contributions
Album Notes
By Crook & The Bluff

Song Genre: Rock

This is the sophomore album of Crook & The Bluff. It is an epic 93 minute album that took three years to complete. Each song is rich in texture from a variety of instruments. The core of the album was recorded live.

Track Listing

  1. Tumulus
  2. Booze Tooth
  3. Ballad of Blue 52
  4. Tennessee Storm
  5. G.T.T.
  6. Red
  7. Monoliths
  8. Goner
  9. New Shade of Blue
  10. Saturn
  11. My Girl
  12. Electric Cathedral
  13. Trenches

MONOLITHS should not exist.

Truth be told, the entire reason behind naming this monstrosity “MONOLITHS” lies in the fact that with every single step we took forward, we had to stop dead in our tracks, reassess our priorities and learn to walk again. Both personally and as a group, there were monolithic obstacles we desperately sought to survive. The loss of two close family members to terminal illness, a long time lover and (since the release of “Down to the Styx”) eight members were among these Monoliths.

The monumental scope of this sisphophisian undertaking (especially as an unsigned band) was dwarfed by our drive to capture the magnitude of these songs. And in no way are they conventional. Genre bending, time signature/tempo changes and non-pop oriented structures are all geared at story telling rather than the traditional verse/chorus template. Not to mention, most of the tracks weigh in around 6-8 minutes and the album finale, “Trenches” at 22.

Conceptually, we aimed at creating audio textures (“texshuz” as the band would call it) that pushed the listener past the threshold of their sanctuary and down our sonic rabbit hole. Less is more, song is king and story is paramount (These words written in block letters on the wall of our rehearsal studio). Silence and space were equally as important as the instrumentation and tone. Priding ourselves in the ability to provoke the question in the listener: “How the fuck did I get here?”, we intended to seamlessly transcend genres to whatever the song called for. If the narrative beckoned for a heavy metal ending, we’d go there- with bells on.

The lyrics for MONOLITHS were not easily written. This was a painfully introspective analysis of how I love, mourn and empathize. If you’d like to learn more about the meaning behind some of these lyrics I’ll be posting a journal entry along with the song lyrics here.

Over the course of the last 5 years, we’ve played countless shows across the western United States and Europe. This, along with a myriad of “enhanced” rehearsals and writing sessions was critical in developing each and every moment of the record. If there was only one word to describe this album from our perspective, it’d have to be: intentional. These songs which were written over the course of 7 years were part of a much larger batch that we trimmed down from 22 to 13 tracks. 

There’s no way around it, Wes Johnson is the man. Engineering this album was no small feat especially with the outlandish requests made by yours truly on a daily basis. From recording guitar solos outside against a warehouse wall to micing the sound of planes as they flew overhead to managing over 300 tracks on “Trenches” alone to scrapping almost 100 hours of tracking because “it just doesn’t fit the vibe” to dealing with the oil spills that leaked out of our old-ass vehicles on his newly paved driveway to putting up with our temper tantrums, Wes was there with us every step of the way maintaining a cool head and saying “sure, we can do that” at every oddball request. A more patient man has yet to be born. And in his words to the next band recording at Archive Studio after we finished tracking MONOLITHS when asking to mimic the sound of a rattlesnake, “Well,” he said, “ if the Bluff Boys were here, they’d have hired an actual rattlesnake...” We love you dearly Wes.

To our fans: Immeasurable are the number of times we’ve been unequivocally humbled by you. From the bottom, top, port and starboard of our hearts we thank you for collectively acting as first mate and co-piloting this ship through stormy seas. We’re grateful for every drop of sweat, every worn out dancefloor, every psychedelic trip, every festival in the middle of nowhere, every closed down bar, every round of shots, every joint and every meal we’ve gotten to share with you. Trust me when I say, when we’re not with you in the physical form, we’re plotting how we can be again. Your support is the wind in our sail that propels us through the dark and foggy night. We’re beyond fortunate to have you on our team. You truly afford us with the ability to continue bringing our music into this fucked up and exquisite world. Your embrace both physically and audibly is what keeps us creating. Thank you for that.

A very special thank you: to the incredible musicians (and bassists ;) who played on this album and helped us see our vision through to fruition. Let’s just say we ended up hiring about half of Salt Lake City in search of the right players. However, upon finding these select few, you can bet your bottom dollar that we’ll be working with them on projects to come. 

Death is undeniable on this album, but through this “incredible loss”, these songs were birthed into the world. Our deepest desire is that this album touches others as it has us through creating it, even if it's only by the sheer release of raw emotion. I think we're all missing that in one form or another right about now.

Album Credits

  1. TUMULUS
    • Guitar- Kirk Dath/Ryan Arnold
    • Percussion- Darren Farnsworth
    • Bass- Greg Shaw
    • Violin- Aaron Ashton
    • Trumpet- Seretta Hart
  2. BOOZE TOOTH
    • Vocals- Kirk Dath
    • Guitar- Kirk Dath/Ryan Arnold
    • Percussion- Darren Farnsworth
    • Bass- Greg Shaw
  3. BALLAD OF 52 BLUE
    • Vocals- Kirk Dath
    • Guitar- Kirk Dath/Ryan Arnold
    • Percussion- Darren Farnsworth
    • Bass- Nate Simpson
    • Piano/Hammond- Adam Fifield
    • Backup Vocals- Kirk Dath/Michelle Gomez
    • Tenor/Baritone Saxophone- Mason Peterson
    • Trumpet/Flugelhorn- Gus Bogdanow
  4. TENNESSEE STORM
    • Vocals- Kirk Dath
    • Guitar- Kirk Dath/Ryan Arnold
    • Percussion- Darren Farnsworth
    • Bass- Greg Shaw
  5. G.T.T.
    • Vocals- Kirk Dath
    • Guitar- Kirk Dath/Ryan Arnold
    • Percussion- Darren Farnsworth
    • Bass- Nik Grainger
    • Backup Vocals- Kirk Dath
  6. RED
    • Vocals- Kirk Dath
    • Guitar- Kirk Dath/Ryan Arnold
    • Percussion- Darren Farnsworth
    • Bass- Nate Simpson
    • Backup Vocals- Kirk Dath
    • Hammond- JD Rouillard
  7. MONOLITHS
    • Vocals- Kirk Dath
    • Guitar- Kirk Dath/Ryan Arnold
    • Percussion- Darren Farnsworth
    • Bass- Nate Simpson
    • Backup Vocals- Kirk Dath
    • Violin- Aaron Ashton
    • Synth- Brice Okubo
  8. GONER
    • Vocals- Kirk Dath
    • Guitar- Kirk Dath/Ryan Arnold
    • Percussion- Darren Farnsworth
    • Bass- Greg Shaw
    • Backup Vocals- Kirk Dath/Michelle Gomez/Darren Farnsworth
  9. NEW SHADE OF BLUE
    • Vocals- Kirk Dath
    • Guitar- Kirk Dath/Ryan Arnold
    • Percussion- Darren Farnsworth
    • Bass- Nate Simpson
    • Orchestra Bells- Kirk Dath/Darren Farnsworth 
    • Rhodes- Nik Grainger
    • Aaron Ashton- Violin
    • Cello- Nicole Pinnell
  10. SATURN
    • Guitar- Kirk Dath/Ryan Arnold
    • Percussion- Darren Farnsworth
    • Bass- Greg Shaw
    • Slide Guitar- Dustin Swan
    • Piano/Rhodes- JD Rouillard
  11. MY GIRL
    • Vocals- Kirk Dath
    • Guitar- Kirk Dath/Ryan Arnold
    • Percussion- Darren Farnsworth
    • Bass- Nate Simpson
    • Backup Vocals- Kirk Dath/Michelle Gomez
  12. ELECTRIC CATHEDRAL
    • Vocals- Kirk Dath
    • Guitar- Kirk Dath/Ryan Arnold
    • Percussion- Darren Farnsworth
    • Bass- Greg Shaw
    • Hammond- Adam Fifield
  13. TRENCHES
    • Vocals- Kirk Dath
    • Guitar- Kirk Dath/Ryan Arnold
    • Percussion- Darren Farnsworth
    • Bass- Nate Simpson/Nik Grainger/Kirk Dath
    • Violin- Aaron Ashton
    • Cello- Nicole Pinnell
    • Trumpet- Gabe Slesinger

All folly and sound effects were recorded by Crook & The Bluff with the exception of the heartbeat and bloodthirsty mob in the track “Trenches”.

No autotune or pitch shifting was used in the making of this album.

Music Written by: Crook & The Bluff

Lyrics Written by: Kirk Dath

Produced by: Crook & The Bluff

Engineered by: Wes Johnson at Archive Recordings

“Ballad of 52 Blue” Engineered & Co-Mixed by: Jay William Henderson at Archive Recording

Mixed by: Wes Johnson at Archive Recording

Mastered by: TW Walsh

Album Photography: Mike Brown/Kirk Dath

Cover Art: Oğuzhan Aydin, David Farnsworth

Players in a row:

  • Ryan Arnold - Guitar
  • Nate Simpson - Bass
  • Greg Shaw - Bass
  • Nik Grainger - Bass
  • JD Rouillard - Piano/ Rhodes/B3
  • Adam Fifield - Piano/B3
  • Brice Okubo - Synth
  • Aaron Ashton - Violin
  • Nicole Pinnell - Cello
  • Seretta Hart - Trumpet
  • Gabe Slesinger - Trumpet/Flugel Horn
  • Michelle Gomez - Backup Vocals
  • Dustin Swan - Slide Guitar
  • Mason Peterson - Saxophone
  • Gus Bogdanow - Trumpet