Back in 2015, Conor Obrest heard a 1972 covers compilation called Them Old Country Songs owned by his then-housemate, MiWi La Lupa. Inspired, the Bright Eyes frontman decided to form his own country covers outfit, Dolores Diaz and the Standby Club. The group only played five shows, but now recordings from two of those sets are being collected on a new live album, Live at O’Leavers.
Dolores Diaz (a play on Doris Day) is the stage name of Corina Figueroa Escamilla, Oberst’s now-ex-wife. She was visiting her Mexico City hometown when La Lupa and Oberst hatched their idea for the band, and was convinced to sing lead on the project upon her return. A trained audio engineer, she would often sing along while working in the studio, so Oberst and La Lupa knew she had the pipes to lead the group.
The Standby Club is rounded out by fellow Omaha, Nebraska artists: Bright Eyes’ Mike Mogis, The Good Life’s Roger Lewis, Cursive’s Matt Maginn, Dan McCarthy of McCarthy Trenching, Ben Brodin, Phil Schaffart, and Jim Schroder. They typically performed at the local pub O’Leavers, which just so happened to be owned by some of the Cursive members. Live at O’Leavers captures two such sets, one from January 2016 and another from August 2018.
In a statement, Oberst described playing with the country outfit as “pure joy.” He continued,
“There is a unique thrill in learning all those classic songs and getting to perform them with a giant band of old friends. And on top of that, it was amazing to watch Corina embrace her alter ego. She is normally a pretty reserved person, but when she slipped on those cowboy boots and stepped on stage she instantly transformed into Dolores and always blew the roof off the place. We all had so much fun and I think you can hear and feel that on these recordings.”
Live at O’Leavers is due out December 11th via 15 Passenger. As a first listen, Dolores Diaz and the Standby Club have shared their takes on Bob Dylan’s “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere” and Loretta Lynn’s “Don’t Come Home a-Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ on Your Mind)”. Oberst takes lead on the former, while the latter sees Escamilla at the helm.
Take a listen to both tracks below, followed by the Live at O’Leavers tracklist.
Live at O’Leavers Tracklist:
01. Your Good Girl’s Gonna Go Bad (Tammy Wynette)
02. Once a Day (Connie Smith)
03. The Weather Is a Dead Man (Dan Reeder)
04. Is Anybody Goin’ to San Antone (Charlie Pride)
05. Jolly Coppers on Parade (Randy Newman)
06. Amos Moses (Jerry Reed)
07. Just Someone I Used to Know (Porter Wagoner, Dolly Parton)
08. Don’t Come Home A-Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ on Your Mind) (Loretta Lynn)
09. You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere (Bob Dylan)
10. So Long, Charlie Brown, Don’t Look for Me Around (Sammi Smith)
11. Crazy (Patsy Cline)
12. Stay All Night (Stay a Little Longer) (Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys / Willie Nelson)