About Crystal City
Dave Helmer is a Midwestern singer/songwriter from Marshalltown, IA, with blue-collar roots. Heavily influenced by Paul Westerberg and Tom Petty, Helmer’s songs are approachable and relatable, touching on themes of love, the importance of being good to each other, struggles with loss, and celebrating the life we are given.
In 2009, Helmer teamed up with choral singer Sam Drella to form his current project, Crystal City. The group draws its name from the Gram Parson’s song “Las Vegas”, and finds inspiration from the strong, interdependent harmonies of Parsons and Emmylou Harris.
The duo quickly got to know each other through music, recording their self-titled acoustic EP just three months after forming. The romantic partnership that developed in these months added an undeniable dimension of authenticity to their already intimate songs and performances.
Helmer’s appetite for all things music led him to Minnesota to study Guitar Building and Repair while Drella studied Jewelry Manufacturing and Repair, both in Red Wing. Helmer regularly performs on unique instruments that he built himself, like his slope-shoulder dreadnought guitar embellished with brass bridge pins by Drella – a finely crafted complement to his songs.
Currently based out of Iowa City, IA, Crystal City’s full-length album “Change” is available now.