Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band

photo by Butch Hogan

About One of My Kind

When Conor Oberst fled the mid-western winter for Tepoztlan, 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 half way up a mountain) was released last year 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 Mystico 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 08 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).

About the Film

Philip Schaffart was not hired by Conor Oberst to make the film “One of My Kind.” He was hired to make sure the guitars stayed in tune. But Phil had a video camera with him as the Mystic Valley Band came together for the first time at Valle Místico in Tepoztlán, Mexico in January of 2008 and so he started filming what he sensed was something special.
“When I started filming, none of us had the intentions of turning what was being shot into a film,” says Phil, “but the things we were seeing, feeling and capturing with the music proved to be inspiring in ways we were not prepared for.” Later that year after touring for the Conor’s self-titled Merge release the Mystic Valley Band went back into the studio, this time at the Sonic Ranch outside of El Paso, Texas where they recorded their follow-up release, “Outer South.”
This album was a reflection of what the MVB had become over the preceding 10 months. Now, the song writing was no longer Conor’s sole responsibility as the other members of the band all spread their own musical and compositional wings. All the while, Phil continued to film what was going on with the band, capturing the year of touring, the almond orchards in Texas, the temples and steep cliffs of Mexico and the evolution of a group of musicians that started as not much more than an idea for a different way to make a record, and ended up being a fully realized rock band.
“Something was happening between the six members of the band musically that was effortless and natural in a way I had not seen before;” Phil continues: “In Texas we started thinking that the footage could be turned into a documentary film.” Phil returned to Omaha later and enlisted the help of the H Minus Production team and after many grueling hours in the edit suite, a film was born.
Team Love is proud to release the final version of the film, “One of My Kind.” To accompany this, we are including eleven songs compiled from the outtakes of both Mystic Valley Band sessions. We use the phrase, for the fans, because that is what this project is; a release for those that were lucky enough to experience the magic and excitement of the Mystic Valley Band when their jackets were still clean and their chemistry was bursting with ideas and potential.