The Deeves deliver on second studio album

After a year of Facebook Live concerts and Deeves in the Driveway garage jams, the Grundy County rock and roll outfit The Deeves got back in front of a full audience at Becktoberfest on Oct. 2. Pictured are, from left, Trevor Schellhorn, Del Schellhorn, Jon Love and Greg Ehrig. The band recently released their second original album, “Lo-Fi Modern Way” on 12-in LP vinyl. -- Photo by Darvin Graham

Over the past two years, a rock and roll band with strong roots to the Reinbeck community have crafted and self-published their second original album.

The Deeves, composed of Trevor Schellhorn, Del Schellhorn, Jon Love and Greg Ehrig, released “Lo-Fi Modern Way” in 2020 and earlier this summer put out the record on 12-inch LP vinyl.

The Deeves formed in 2017 when husband and wife duo Trevor and Del Schellhorn started putting songs together. Trevor had played drums for many years with other groups and was looking to move to playing the guitar. With scarcity came opportunity. Unable to find a drummer in the area, Del offered to learn to play drums so the band could get on its feet.

Trevor remembers encouraging Del by saying all she needed to do was keep a steady right foot on the kick drum.

Up to that point the only other musical training Del had was playing clarinet in school when she was growing up.

The Deeves’ sophomore album “Lo-Fi Modern Way” hit streaming platforms in March 2020 and in August 2021 got a second release on 12-in LP vinyl. The album was recorded and produced at Flat Black Studios near Iowa City, a premier destination for some of Iowa’s best indie acts including William Elliott Whitmore, Elizabeth Moen, Pieta Brown and Modern Life is War. Cover art for “Lo-Fi Modern Way” was done by Adam Lowe and illustrates how the band has grown compared to the hand-drawn aesthetic of their self-titled debut album. – Photo by Darvin Graham

As the project took off, The Deeves added Greg Ehrig to play keyboard and most recently Jon Love who plays bass guitar and sings.

All four members of The Deeves grew up in the Reinbeck area and either still live in town or live close by.

The band sometimes wears work shirts with their emblem on the back when they play shows. It seems fitting for the group who are all in their 30s and 40s and have full time jobs and lives outside of the band.

“You don’t have to be a virtuoso to write songs or to play music,” Trevor Schellhorn said. “I think this album is living proof of that. It’s something we’re very proud of.”

The Deeves’ latest album was a project born inside the quarantine days of spring 2020.

Bassist Jon Love of The Deeves croons along with the music during the triumphant return of Becktoberfest in Reinbeck on Oct. 2. Love joined the band in early 2020 as they were beginning to write songs for their newest album “Lo-Fi Modern Way”. Love, who lives in Reinbeck, had double-duty during the festival, also playing a set with his dad Joel in the band Janey and the Growlerz. -- Photo by Darvin Graham

Bassist Jon Love had just joined the band and the first few songs that would eventually end up on the album were in their early stages when the COVID-19 pandemic threw the entire country off track in March 2020.

With Trevor and Del still able to practice at home, the band plugged away at writing songs and practicing online.

The group recalls even putting up a clear plastic divider in the Schellhorn’s garage so they could practice with the full band while remaining safe at the same time.

In the summer of 2020 The Deeves got together with Luke Tweedy at Flat Black Studios south of Iowa City and, over four days, put down 10 tracks that would become “Lo-Fi Modern Way”.

The record was released on streaming platforms a year later in the spring of 2021.

Trevor Schellhorn celebrated a return to Becktoberfest during The Deeves performance earlier this month. The Schellhorns operated Broad Street Brewing in downtown Reinbeck from 2011-2018 and organized the fall festival during those years. The Deeves’ new record is now on sale at the Dig Inn, a craft beer bar and record store located in the former Broad Street brewing facility. – Photo by Darvin Graham

Comparing The Deeves’ most recent record with their 2018 self-titled debut, it’s clear they’ve grown and defined their creative voice over time.

“Lo-Fi Modern Way” gives listeners exactly what the title advertises. It’s garage rockabilly with a good heart and an eye toward modern alternative rock aesthetics.

The band cites influences ranging from The Beatles, Carl Perkins, AC/DC and early Motown artists with songs like “Some things” and “Bop Boom Pop!” drawing listeners of all ages out to the dance floor.

Schellhorn’s full-throated baritone holds all of the attitude bestowed upon rock and roll vocalists from Little Richard and James Brown, but with a Midwestern outlook that is at once kind and lonely.

Ehrig’s keys oscillate between driving honky-tonk melodies and electric underlayment that bring melancholy synth and organ sounds to songs like “Boy No More” and “I’m So Lonely”.

Keyboardist Greg Ehrig gets down during the closing song of The Deeves’ set at Becktoberfest on Oct. 2. Ehrig flexes a dynamic style with the band, offering textures to the music that include 80s synthesizers, honky-tonk melodies and sweltering organ vibrato. – Photo by Darvin Graham

“Lo-Fi Modern Way” credits Trevor Schellhorn as the songwriter for the majority of the tunes with the exception of three in which Love had a hand.

Love’s influence injects atmosphere and contemplation into the turned-up sensibility of the Schellhorns. At points in the album, shades of Orville Peck and Neko Case appear as Schellhorn’s Gretsch hollow body rings out a distant surf tremolo and reverb effects send the vocals toward the horizon.

While the learning curve has been steep for Del Schellhorn, her drumming fits The Deeves to a tee.

The righteous thump of her kick drum paired with Trevor’s singular blues twang vocals draws a beeline right to The Black Keys who have made their living over the past two decades off stripped-down retro rock.

The album as a whole brings listeners into a house party where the living room is a dance floor, there’s a couple kissing in the hallway and outside a few loners nurse their heartbreak in the light of the moon.

In 2017 drummer Del Schellhorn started on a mission to teach herself the drums, the first instrument she’s played since high school. Since then, she’s become the steady center behind The Deeves melodies. Through 10 tracks on “Lo-Fi Modern Way” she also lends her voice to background vocals, including a coy call-and-response on the song “Shoulda Asked Her Faster”. – Photo by Darvin Graham

The Deeves returned to the stage in the past month, playing Becktoberfest in Reinbeck on Oct. 2 and last weekend at one of their favorite venues, Octopus College Hill in Cedar Falls.

The band’s two albums, “The Deeves” and “Lo-Fi Modern Way”, can be purchased online at thedeeves.com.

Vinyl copies of “Lo-Fi Modern Way” are also on sale at record stores around the state including The Dig Inn (Reinbeck), Wax Xstatic Records (Marshalltown) and Record Collector (Iowa City).

The Deeves playing in front of the Reinbeck skyline on the evening of Oct. 2 at Becktoberfest. – Photo by Darvin Graham