When Conor Oberst fled the midwestern winter for Tepoztlán, Mexico, in early 2008, his plan was to record a collection of songs in beautiful surroundings with some friends. The band he put together for the recording sessions (all done in an adobe house halfway up a mountain) was released in 2008 as Conor Oberst, his first non-Bright Eyes release since 2001. The band then took to the road as Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band, named for Valle Místico where the recording took place. While touring in support of Conor Oberst, the talented 6-piece began to write new songs, each band member sharing their compositions and working them out on the road. Energized by the live performances, and eager to capture the synergy they felt onstage, Oberst took his musical compadres to Sonic Ranch Studios in Tornillo, Texas, outside of El Paso to capture these gems on tape. In recording sessions in November and December 2008, The Mystic Valley Band recorded 16 songs, and this time they shared the songwriting. The result, the sparkling Outer South, is the first album credited to Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band and features the fruits of their enticing musical symbiosis. Oberst’s songwriting and delivery remain an engaging presence, but the addition of songs by Taylor Hollingsworth (guitar), Nik Freitas (guitar), and Jason Boesel (drums) make for a multi-textured and colorful collaboration.
Along with Oberst, Hollingsworth, Freitas, and Boesel, the Mystic Valley Band includes Macey Taylor (bass) and Nathaniel Walcott (piano/keyboard).