MANKATO — The longevity of Mankato folk-rock band The Divers (and the friendship of its four members) is immediately apparent when the four get together to talk music.
The conversation goes something like this:
The Divers have been a band for 21 years.
I think it's 23, actually.
Isn't that weird? Twenty-three years. Wait, when did we get started?
We'll just say the band got together in the early 1990s when the guys were in their early 20s. The lineup originally included Will Bauermeister of Dazy Head Mazy. Jason Gray, now a solo artist, was another musician who came and went as a Diver in the '90s before the final lineup was set — Pete Bloedel, Andy Overn and brothers Loren and Eric Halvorson.
Since the beginning they wrote their own music, and it was fun to look back on how their sound has evolved since those early days. At first the music was more acoustic — just two guitars, a mandolin and vocals — which could be heard on the first two albums: the one they call the “White Album” in 1991 and “Water” in 1994.
The addition of drums made the sound more rich, they said. And the song-writing became deeper over time as well. At first there were a lot of “relationshipy” songs, and songs about growing up, Eric said.
“Now it's sort of a collection of stuff,” Eric said, including songs about parenting, their wives and even love songs written for other couples they know.
“They're not about trying to date somebody,” Pete said, referring to the early days. “And there's some fun novelty songs. We like to sing about stuff nobody else is singing about — like snow-blowing and llamas and eating hamburgers.”
The Divers' third album in '99 was called “Walkies in the Park,” “which we still call our new album, and it's 14 years old,” Bloedel said with a laugh.