The High Divers
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The High Divers

Charleston, SC | Established. Jan 01, 2014

Charleston, SC
Established on Jan, 2014
Band Americana Rock

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Still working on that hot first release.

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After a horrific crash in June—in which a semi truck hit and flipped their tour van, injuring all band members and crew—caused an unexpected delay, Charleston's The High Divers will at long last release Chicora, their follow-up to 2015's Riverlust, on March 2, 2018 via True Blue Records.

It's been a long road to recovery, but the band was always determined to return to the stage as soon as possible. “For a while, all we wanted to do was stare at a wall,” says frontman Luke Mitchell. “Getting back to playing got my heart beating again…We had just been sitting there in painful suspended animation, but getting back to playing shows gave us something to work towards, a goal to struggle for." 

Chicora takes its name from the Charleston neighborhood the band calls home, and it's fitting, given they did all the recording in their living room. And although the album was already finished before the van accident, it also serves as a reminder of the community that rallied around the band in its time of need.

"The scene is really ridiculously, strangely supportive," Mitchell says. "I've lived in Austin, Texas, and I've lived in Boston when I went to music school, and everywhere else I've lived, there's always this huge competitive edge to everything you do. But I feel like in Charleston, people just genuinely want everyone to be okay, be their best selves...It's an amazing community of people, and they really went out of their way to make us feel better after the wreck, and that was huge for us."

That sense of community carries through Chicora, which Mitchell put the finishing touches on shortly before marrying bandmate Mary Alice (keys/vocals), staying up until 7 am on the eve of their rehearsal dinner mixing the record. Its 11 tracks showcase the give-and-take present in any relationship, whether it's a romantic pairing, a friendship or a family bond. On "Never Let You Down," you can feel the love ("That's the one I'm most proud of personally, just because I think it really encapsulates how Mary Alice and I feel about each other," Mitchell says). "Side Man," on the other hand, is inspired by a string of divorces in the pair's hometown after they graduated high school, and "Bend" is a tribute to Mitchell's mother.

"That song's about my mom and kind of growing up how I did," he explains. "We lived in a really crappy apartment, but I never noticed how crappy until I went back one day and was like 'Oh, yeah, this wasn't what I remembered.' But while we were living there, my mom just worked her ass off to make things really seem great, and she did an amazing job because I never noticed anything bad about where we lived...My mom had a really hard life, and she made things really beautiful for me and my little sister, so yeah, I guess it's kind of pulling the wool over your kids' eyes but in the best way possible." 

Musically, Chicora is a bit of a departure from Riverlust, as time on the road—including opening slots with Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Delta Spirit, Drive-By Truckers and Shovels & Rope—allowed fresh influences to seep in.

“We made a conscious choice to experiment with straying from our southern roots on this record,” Mitchell says. "On our first album, we had some things intertwined on some of the songs that were a little bit country-ish leaning, almost twangy, and we're kind of staying away from that and focusing on different styles we really enjoy. Some of it's kind of Motown-inspired. Part of my family is from Michigan, and Kevin our bass player was actually born outside of Detroit, so we're really inspired by that kind of music. It's a little more rock and roll, even though it has some obvious ballads on it. I think it still sounds a lot like us."

The band played over 50 shows just a month after their crash, and The High Divers will be hitting the road again in January, with an extra taste of home with them this time around: they'll be joined by Mitchell's sister and her band, Hannah Wicklund & The Steppin' Stones, on the aptly named Sibling Rivalry Tour. 

 It's just one example of how the band heeds its own advice, taking to heart the message behind Chicora and keeping loved ones near. "Hold people close that you trust because there's not a lot of people out there that you can," Mitchell says. "I think throughout the years of struggling in a band, finding people you can trust their opinions and that want the best for you is really an amazing thing to have."

Chicora will be released on March 2, 2018 on True Blue Records. 

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