Red Wanting Blue, The Trews – Tickets – Gypsy Sally’s – Washington, DC – May 4th, 2019

Red Wanting Blue, The Trews

Gypsy Sally's Presents

Red Wanting Blue

The Trews

Run Come See

Sat, May 4, 2019

Doors: 6:30 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

Advance $15/Day of Show $18 + Fees

This event is 21 and over

Advance $15/Day of Show $18 + Fees

Red Wanting Blue
Red Wanting Blue
“In every odyssey, there comes a time when you must accept that what you are pursuing is no longer a rational decision,” Scott Terry writes in the liner notes of Red Wanting Blue’s new album, ‘The Wanting.’ “It’s a choice that does not feel like a choice. It is a hunger.”It’s been more than twenty years since Red Wanting Blue first began their long, strange odyssey, and while much has changed for Terry and the rest of the band over those two remarkable decades, the hunger remains. Like the North Star, it’s fixed in the firmament, a guiding light perpetually out of reach. Hunger has been their fuel, their motivation, their essence. Hunger has steered every step of the group’s extraordinary journey, and now, it’s at the heart of their most powerful record yet. Produced by acclaimed singer/songwriter Will Hoge, ‘The Wanting’ showcases Red Wanting Blue at their finest, with Terry’s epic, heartfelt vocals soaring above the band’s gritty, driving rock and roll. Alternately triumphant and melancholic, the songs are both muscular and nuanced, equally at home blasting from a car stereo as they are drifting through a pair of headphones late on some lonely night. Though the record draws on many of the band’s traditional strengths—indelible melodies, infectious hooks, explosive performances—the making of it pushed Red Wanting Blue far outside their comfort zone and forced them to take an unprecedented, nearly year-long break from touring.“We’re a touring band,” Terry explains matter-of-factly. “We’re on the road all the time, so much so that it’s painful when we’re not. When I was younger, I used to get heart palpitations if I was in the same place for more than four days.”It’s that insatiable appetite for the road that helped Red Wanting Blue establish themselves as one of the indie world’s most enduring and self-sufficient acts. Hailed as “Midwestern rock heroes” by American Songwriter, the band
has spent most of their career operating outside of the confines of the traditional music industry,earning their legion of lifelong fans through decades of relentless touring. Over the course of ten studio albums, theybrought their passionate, unforgettable liveshow to every city and townthat would have them,blazing their own distinctive trail through the American heartland as they built up the kind of fanatically dedicated audiences normally reserved for arena acts.Along the way, they notched appearances everywhere from Letterman to NPR and climbed all the way up to #3 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart. In 2016, they celebrated with a 20th anniversary retrospective album/concert film entitled ‘RWB20 Live at Lincoln Theater,’which captured the band in all their glory at a sold-out hometown show in Columbus, OH.Despite the group’s distinctly Midwestern beginnings, the origins of‘The Wanting’ lie not in Ohio,or even in Brooklyn (where Terry currently resides), but rather in Mexico. It was there, on a day off during the band’s sixth annual trip aboard the Rock Boat cruise, that the seeds of collaboration with fellow performer Will Hoge were sown.“We’ve gotten really close with Will over the years, and on that trip he basically just said, ‘I think we should make a record together,’” remembers Terry. “He told me, ‘I’m a fan of your live show and I get the energy that your band is about, and I feel
like if you give me the darts, I’ll get closer to the bullseye than any other producer you’ll meet.’”The band decided that if they were going to switch things up and work outside their own studio, then they were going to go all in. For the first time ever, they cleared their touring schedule for the better part of a year to focus solely on writing, recording, and mixing the most fully realized material of their career. Hoge made multiple pre-production trips to Columbus while the band rehearsed and recorded extensive demos, and when it was finally time to cut the album, they headed south for their first studio sessions in Nashville, TN.“We made the album in the big room at Sound Emporium,” says Terry. “We were like kids in a candy shop in there. We’d gotten really used to recording in our warehouse studio in Columbus, and suddenly we didn’t have to worry about any of those old limitations any more. We had this big beautiful space where we could all play together live, and we knew exactly what we wanted to do as soon as we got in there.”One listen to ‘The Wanting’ and that clarity of vision is immediately apparent. The record opens with the rousing“High and Dry,” a feel-good rocker that also serves as something of a mission statement for a fiercely independent group that’s as much a band as they are a family, with Terry singing,“I want to stand on my own two feet again /And when I mess up / That’s when I hope my friends will pick me up.”On “Ulysses,” the band channels early Phil Collins with pulsing synths and larger-than-life drums, while the tender“Glass House” crescendos from a delicate whisper to a triumphant roar, and the dreamy “I’ve Got A Feeling It Hurts” calls to mind the hypnotic drive of REM mixed with a touch of Jayhawks jangle.“This is really the most collaborative album our band has ever made,” Terry says of the wide range of influences. “It’s the first record where every member really contributed to the writing, which is a huge deal because the music got so much better. It’s everyone’s voices this time, and I feel like we all matured as writers because of it.”“Younger Years” offers a dose of youthful confidence that absolutely begs for an audience sing-along, while “When We Choke” and “This Is The End” both spin dark takes on the weight of love, but perhaps the emotional highlight of the album comes with“The Real Thing,” a passionate ode to the present.“It’s a reminder that just because you’re not where you thought you’d be, that doesn’t mean you’re not where you’re supposed to be,” says Terry. “It’s a love song, but like most of my love songs, it can be just as much about your significant other as it is about your band.”If it’s hunger that drives Red Wanting Blue, then it’s love that sustains them: love for the band, love for their fans, love for the journey.After all, desire is nothing without love, and ‘The Wanting’ is nothing if not a testament to the power of desire."It is beyond reason that the heart wants what it wants...yet still it persists,” Terry concludes in the liner notes.“I imagine wherever there is the breath of life....with it will be the wanting."
Red Wanting Blue is: Scott Terry(Vocals, Tenor Guitar, Ukulele) Mark McCullough(Bass, Chapman Stick, Vocals)Greg Rahm(Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals)Eric Hall(Guitar, Lap Steel, Vocals)Dean Anshutz(Drums & Percussion)
The Trews
The Trews
You’d think a celebrated veteran band like The Trews — with countless radio hits, ecstatic fans from Dublin to Des Moines plus multiple EPs, a pair of live albums and a retrospective — would regard studio album number six as a cinch.

After all, it’s their career equivalent to Led Zeppelin’s Physical Graffiti or REM’s Green, the Beatles’ Rubber Soul and The Tragically Hip’s Phantom Power; the apex of decades-long musical ingenuity arriving at a juncture where there is nothing, truly not one thing, left to prove.

Yet you’d be dead wrong. In what can only be described as a rage against stasis, The Trews approached Civilianaires, their electrifying and wildly original follow-up to 2014’s The Trews, the way a contractor tackles a kitchen reno: tearing things down to the studs, then building out piece by new piece.

“We’re almost in existential-crisis-mode if we don’t have new songs we’re excited about,” guitarist/songwriter John-Angus MacDonald howls on behalf of singer/songwriter Colin MacDonald and bassist Jack Syperek. “With us it’s always ‘What’s next?’ We’re most galvanized while we’re creating. And this new album is a completely fresh take on what we’ve done before.”

Which is not to suggest Trews fans will be bewildered by the towering and multifaceted songs on Civilianaires. Dazzled is more like it, though #jawhitsfloor will doubtless trend when heads wrap around tracks like the seething, staccato, and synth-goosed corker “Harder To Love,” “Is It Too Late” — a sombre, almost hymnal anthem buoyed by piano and a choir — and the cheekily poetic “Bar Star,” its gargantuan chorus described by John-Angus MacDonald as the band’s best ever.

Coming from the rock and roll bruisers who delivered the absurdly sticky "Rise In the Wake," "Beautiful & Tragic," and "Hold Me In Your Arms," that’s a whale of a claim. But nothing about Civilianaires scans as even remotely garden-variety. It’s almost as if the new album leveraged all the obsessive musical minutiae the band has been stockpiling in its collective noggin since their kiddo days playing together in small-town Nova Scotia. (They now call the fast-rising cultural hotbed of Hamilton, Ontario home).

And it’s not just the sonics that are soaring. The lyrics on the year-in-the-making Civilianaires also carry gravitas, as evidenced by the blistering agit-prop rant (and bona fide rock-radio hit) “The New US,” which takes aim at a certain orange-hued world leader, a.k.a. “the little man who isn't home, his little hands arm the drones.”

“We’ve dabbled with politics before,” John-Angus MacDonald confirms. “We have a song called ‘Gun Control’ from our third record (2008's No Time for Later) that refuses to go away because the issue refuses to go away. But who can ignore what’s going on now? It’s a rage-r of a song about a rage-r of a topic.”

Indeed. Still, if there is an overarching takeaway from Civilianaires — apart from the fact that it’s a head-spinner from start to finish — it’s that The Trews were fearless in confronting potential creative inertia, even if that meant discarding a proven jam-to-studio method that has so far earned near-universal critical acclaim and a heap of prestigious gigs with the likes of the Rolling Stones, Robert Plant, and Bruce Springsteen.

“This whole process just felt exciting to us,” John-Angus MacDonald offers of Civilianaires’ bold creation. “The record sounds like now to us, and when the songs come as easily as these ones did, you know you’re onto something.”

The dawn of The Trews Version 2.0 can be traced to 2016 and the arrival of Time Capsule. The band had some misgivings about issuing a greatest hits album despite its serving as a handy snapshot of their excellent output to date while adding four new songs that foreshadowed the prismatic intensity of Civilianaires.

“We’re always paranoid about landing on the hot dog-and-fair circuit,” John-Angus MacDonald laughs, “just cranking out the hits.”

Fate swiftly intervened to ensure that wasn’t in the cards. “We had lots of material, but we just couldn’t focus,” Colin MacDonald says. “We demoed some stuff with (Arkells mainman) Max Kerman in early 2017 (‘Is It Too Late,’ ‘Vintage Love,’ and ‘Jericho’) then we went on tour with Weezer.”

“By summer 2017 we were in Vancouver with Bob Rock fully intending to do a good portion of the record with him,” John-Angus MacDonald continues, noting that the band had met the super-producer (credits include Aerosmith, The Cult, Bon Jovi, Mötley Crüe, Metallica) at South by Southwest in 2016 and kept in touch.

But for various reasons, The Trews demoed only four songs with Rock at the fabled Warehouse studios, owned by Bryan Adams: “Leave It Alone,” “Amen,” “Civilanaire” and bonus track “Way Too High,” the latter two co-writes with singer/songwriter Serena Ryder who Colin MacDonald credits with teaching him the ineffable power of singing softly, a newfound technique that propels Civilanaires’ title track and the sparkling “No More Saying Goodbye.”

“We were keen to do something different,” John-Angus MacDonald says of the Kerman and Rock sessions, “but nothing we did to that point felt different enough.”

Enter Matthew Vlahovich, A&R man at Cadence, The Trews’ new record label. “Matthew is what we’ve always wanted in an A&R man, and as a onetime singer/songwriter in Young Empires, he knew exactly what it was like to be on the other side of the equation. He introduced us to Toronto producer and musician Derek Hoffman. And that changed everything.”

Says Colin MacDonald: “I can tell you we were sceptical at first. Derek is quite a bit younger than us and doesn’t have a huge track record. But we agreed to do one session at his Fox Sound studios to see what he had. And that one session yielded ‘Time’s Speeding Up.’

“One of the great things you learn in the business over time is how to spot talent quickly. Derek just had an abundance of talent,” Colin MacDonald continues. “And we said to ourselves, ‘We didn’t come this far to overlook this feeling.’ We followed our gut. We did, like, two sessions with him before Christmas 2017 and a few more in mid-January 2018, and the record was done.”

By that point, The Trews had also permanently added drummer Chris Gormley (ex-Big Sugar) who quickly distinguished himself as an exceptional songwriter as well as a musician: “We wrote [the knock-kneed, horn-driven] ‘Up Sweet Baby’ with Chris at my house last summer,” John-Angus MacDonald says. “His contribution was invaluable.”

“Our approach this time out seemed counterintuitive and yet it worked,” Colin MacDonald adds. “For example, my friend Brett Emmons from the Glorious Sons suggested I go through the head-clearing journals I’ve been compiling since about 2014 to see if there was anything that could be turned into a song. So last summer, I started highlighting random lines, which yielded a bunch of lyrical sparks that we developed into songs, like ‘Bar Star’ and ‘Time’s Speeding Up.’ Never done that before.”

As well, the MacDonalds marvel at how the writing and recording with Hoffman — who they say engaged the trio in a series of barrier-melting “thought experiments” in the studio — happened virtually simultaneously and wholly collaboratively.

Meanwhile, amid that invigorating creative burst, the band also inked a new management deal with heavyweight New York firm Gold Village Entertainment, helmed by legendary music executive Danny Goldberg. Now, with new representation, a new label, new drummer and a brilliant new album in the can, The Trews are ready for their proverbial close-up… some 15-odd years after they began.

“REM was such an inspiration for us,” John-Angus MacDonald says. “Every record was an adventure. That’s what I love about rock and roll. It’s pretty simple — drums, bass, guitars — yet you have to go into the wilderness of creativity to find something new and bring it back.

“That’s what making Civilianaires felt like to us. In some ways it feels like we’re taking a calculated risk, but we also believe we’re sitting on some of our strongest songs ever. And we are all really proud.”
Run Come See
Run Come See
Run Come See is a project of DC musicians John Figura (guitar/vox), Tom Liddle (bass/vox), Fred James (drums), and Ahren Buccheister (pedal steel, guitar, vox). From it’s roots as a trio of songwriters that included Liddle, Figura, and the DC blueswoman and singer/songwriter Lauren Calve, Run Come See enters its next chapter as an alt-country quartet with fresh faces that continue to push its own boundaries.

Vocals, Guitar / John Figura
Vocals, Bass / Tom Liddle
Drums, / Fred James
Pedal Steel, Guitar, Vocals / Ahren Buccheister
Venue Information:
Gypsy Sally's
3401 K Street NW
Washington, DC, 20007