During an afternoon off in late 2015, Dallas-based trio NHD found themselves riffing on acoustic guitars in band member Salim Nourallah's apartment. What started as horsing around turned into a cover of Thin Lizzy’s “The Boys Are Back In Town."
The song is the lead track on the trio's debut LP, And the Devil Went Up to Portland, due Friday, Oct. 20, via Palo Santo Records. Last week, NHD released a music video for the song that was shot in Deep Ellum.
“The Boy Are Back In Town” has three verses, which made it a good choice for a group with three singers. The sing-along style chorus in NHD's version is as catchy as the original, but it's not a traditional Thin Lizzy cover.
“I know this might sound like rock 'n' roll sacrilege to some, but I was never particularly fond of this song,” Nourallah says. “The verse lyrics always struck me as being ridiculously macho and silly. I wanted our version to have as little testosterone as possible and kind of stand it on its head. Enter the mandolin — not exactly a ‘tough’ instrument.”
Nourallah's bandmates Alex Dezen and Billy Harvey live elsewhere — Dezen in Los Angeles and Harvey in Nashville. Nourallah says the song’s chorus “is certainly applicable to our group situation. We worked it up at my apartment on acoustic guitars, and it cracked us up instantly, so it stuck.”
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The scenes in the video are playful, featuring NHD preparing a meal in a kitchen, having a tea party and playing chess. “We wanted to play with the fact that the three of us are pretty far from being tough guys,” Nourallah says.
NHD chose to film the video in Deep Ellum because it was in town rehearsing for its upcoming tour. “Deep Ellum seemed like a lot better idea than … um … Plano or Frisco," Nourallah says.
NHD has a string of live shows coming up, beginning Oct. 26 at the Townsend in Austin. The group will play Dallas' Sons of Hermann Hall the following day, and in November, it'll visit Los Angeles and three cities in Colorado: Steamboat Springs, Denver and Fort Collins. In Colorado, Rhett Miller will join the group.
“I’m looking forward to what I always look forward to when Alex and Billy come back to town — seeing two of my best friends and having fun traveling and playing music with them,” Nourallah says.