Seasoned songwriters Salim Nourallah, Billy Harvey and Alex Dezen are teaming up on a new record called And the Devil Went Up to Portland. The 11-song LP features a rollicking mix of songs recorded at Martie Maguire’s (Dixie Chicks) HEK studio in Austin, Texas.
NHD, an abbreviation for Nourallah Harvey Dezen, features all three musicians playfully swapping songwriting, vocal and instrumental duties. “We had been touring originally as songwriters in the round. After a string of kicka** shows, we were gifted our name at Strange Brew in Austin,” said Billy Harvey. “The marquee read, ‘TONIGHT! Nourallah Harvey Dezen’ and we said, ‘That’s a lot of plastic letters…NHD it is!’”
“This whole thing came together with us goofing off and playing on each other’s songs in a round-robin songwriter setting,” said Dezen jokingly. “One night we looked up simultaneously and said ‘This is actually pretty cool!’ We put some thinking behind the whole thing, booked some studio time, and went to work. It’s a beautiful thing to be able to collaborate with your friends, especially when they’re such uniquely talented people.”
NHD’s debut is the first official release to come out of Martie Maguire’s home studio. Maguire is also a close friend that has often made appearances at the trio’s Texas shows. Another established Austin musician, Bob Schneider, who actually introduced Nourallah and Harvey years ago, contributed the album’s artwork and design.
“It’s an anomaly that we actually formed a group together because there’s usually only enough air in room for one lead singer at a time,” said Nourallah. “With us, it’s more like a mutual admiration society so that kind of ego nonsense has never factored in.”