Photo Credit: Jeff Kane
Red Wanting Blue
Live at the Ludlow Garage, 342 Ludlow Ave, Cincinnati, OH
8:15pm, $15, $17
In the years since vocalist and songwriter Scott Terry formed Red Wanting Blue, the band has gone on to establish itself as a quintessential example of American perseverance and hard work, building an exceedingly loyal fan base based on non-stop touring, all without any industry support.
Known for making instant fans of the uninitiated with one of the most engaging and passionate live shows on the road today, Red Wanting Blue found even bigger audiences after the release of its 2012 From The Vanishing Point album, which landed in the Top 10 of Billboard’s Heatseekers chart and at #1 for the band’s home region.
Appearances on The Late Show with David Letterman, VH1’s Big Morning Buzz Live, and NPR’s Mountain Stage followed, and while the band continues to reach new and bigger career milestones, Red Wanting Blue is also staying true to its roots. This is evident on the latest album Little America (released July 2014) the band’s most personal and promising recording to date.
Little America celebrates a community spirit Red Wanting Blue shares with its audience that goes beyond fans who simply give back the passion that comes off the stage. Red Wanting Blue’s hard work is matched by fans who work hard, too. It’s not unexpected for members of this growing legion to take days off of work and cross state lines to follow the band, to learn just-written tunes from wobbly YouTube videos, and to sing every word at every concert.
Just prior to recording Little America, Red Wanting Blue wrapped up over two years of touring that brought to the rest of the nation what the band’s long-time followers in the middle of the country already knew about. Packed rooms and sold-out performances throughout the U.S. and Canada proved that Red Wanting Blue wasn’t just a regional phenomenon. It also gave band leader Terry some newfound perspective on his art and his profession.
“There are several reasons why this album is called Little America,” he explains.
On a white-knuckle drive from Salt Lake City to Denver through a Wyoming snowstorm in the early winter of 2013, the band’s converted mobile home nearly hit a jackknifed tractor-trailer.
“The truck came to a halt just before getting to us,” Terry remembers. “There was debris everywhere and we sat in awe for a moment before we maneuvered around the wreckage and slowly made our way down the mountain. We pulled off at the first truck stop we saw – it happened to be named ‘Little America.’”
Little America also represents an ideology that stems from Terry’s childhood.
“As a child, America was the most enormous thing I knew, and as I got older, it became an epic and unconquerable wilderness that I thought I would spend my whole life discovering. My relationship with America has gotten so much more intimate than I ever could have dreamed. It’s ‘Little America,’ like the nickname you can only give to someone after you’ve really gotten to know them.”
Terry also acknowledges the influence of Simon & Garfunkel’s classic song “America” on the album, and his life in general.
“I started playing music to get to see this country through the eyes of a rock n’ roll band,” he says. “‘And we walked off to look for America’ is one of my favorite lyrical images ever. ‘We walked off to look for America?’ But, aren’t we already here? I suppose so, if it’s just a name of a place. But it’s so much more than that.”
Terry continues, “I’m trying to experience the America I romanticized from the lyrics of rock n’ roll songs. I wanted to know what it felt like to ‘pull into Nazareth’ like The Band’s ‘The Weight’ described. ‘On the road again, like a band of gypsies, we go down the highway,’ ‘Baby, we were born to run,’ and on and on and on.”
Terry sums up his connection with these songs and his connection with Red Wanting Blue’s fans this way: “These songs are the soundtrack of my life, and it’s my calling to give that back with the hope of having our songs be the soundtrack of someone else’s.”