Starting four years ago as a wishful music fantasy, The Third Mind has now become a powerful and thrilling sonic reality.
This same extraordinary cast of like-minded musicians who recorded that first Third Mind album, return for a new one, The Third Mind 2. Since the inception by Grammy award winning singer-songwriter/guitarist Dave Alvin on electric guitar and Victor Krummenacher on bass guitar, (Camper Van Beethoven, Cracker, Monks of Doom, Eyelids), they gleaned drummer Michael Jerome, acclaimed for his many years with Richard Thompson, as well as recording/touring with artists like John Cale, Me’shell Ndegeocello, The Blind Boys of Alabama, Charlie Musselwhite and Better Than Ezra, and guitarist David Immerglück, known for his lengthy career as a member of Counting Crows, The Ophelias, Monks of Doom and Camper Van Beethoven, as well as a noteworthy stint with John Hiatt. Jesse Sykes, who has made several critically acclaimed albums with her Seattle based group, Jesse Sykes And The Sweet Hereafter joined this stellar lineup on vocals and acoustic guitar.
With the release of this second album, The Third Mind 2, The Third Mind have developed into a cohesive and eclectic ensemble while retaining their original concept of recording spontaneous group improvisations. For many years, Krummenacher and Alvin had discussed trying to make an album outside of their comfort zone using the free-form studio techniques pioneered by Miles Davis on albums like Bitches Brew and Jack Johnson. This meant no rehearsals and no preconceived arrangements, just agree on key, turn on the tape machine and see what happens. Not surprisingly, the “no safety parachute” approach was something most traditional rock and roll musicians had little experience with or much interest in. As Alvin stated, “We had a crazy idea and were looking for musicians who perhaps didn’t think it was so insane”. Eventually, they found a crew of adventurous musicians excited to join them, and this unique group recorded their 2020 debut release, The Third Mind (Yep Roc Records), in a three day marathon session.
The repertoire on The Third Mind 2, like the songs on their debut, is a collection of songs originally written in the 1960s with the notable exception of “Tall Grass”, which was specially written by Sykes and Alvin for this record. The band focused on the songs from the 60s because they felt the material captured many of the member’s influences as well as the band’s freewheeling approach to music making. From the opening track, “Groovin’ Is Easy” (originally recorded by Michael Bloomfield’s Electric Flag), to the closing song, Fred Neil’s bittersweet “A Little Bit Of Rain”, these songs were well known on that era’s underground, free-form folk/blues/rock scene, but weren’t Top Forty hits. The only tune that was a major hit is “Sally Go Round The Roses”, originally recorded by the Jaynets in 1963 reaching #2 on the Billboard Top 100. As with the other songs on The Third Mind 2, “Sally Go Round The Roses” is transmogrified from the original pop/r+b version into a twisting, turning, bluesy, other worldly soundscape that only The Third Mind could come up with.
The Third Mind’s sound reflects the band members’ varied collective musical histories with part emotionally dark folk/rock combo, part abstract blues outfit, part moody psychedelic garage band, part avant-garde jazz ensemble and part brash alternative rock and roll mischief makers.