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 beenmore thantwenty years since Red Wanting Blue first began their long, strange odyssey, and while much has changed for Terry and the rest of the bandover those two remarkable decades, the hunger remains. Like the North Star, it’sfixed in the firmament, a guiding light perpetually out of reach. Hunger has been their fuel, their motivation, their essence. Hunger hassteeredevery step of the group’sextraordinary journey, and now, it’sat the heart of their most powerfulrecordyet.Produced by acclaimed singer/songwriterWill Hoge, ‘The Wanting’showcasesRed Wanting Blueat their finest, withTerry’sepic, heartfelt vocalssoaring abovethe band’sgritty, driving rock and roll. Alternately triumphant and melancholic, the songs are both muscularand nuanced, equally at home blasting from a car stereo as they are driftingthrough a pair of headphones late on some lonely night. Though the recorddraws onmanyof the band’s traditional strengths—indelible melodies, infectious hooks, explosive performances—the making of it pushed Red Wanting Blue far outside their comfort zoneand forced themto take an unprecedented, nearly year-long break from touring.“We’rea touring band,” Terryexplainsmatter-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 insatiableappetite for the roadthat helped Red Wanting Blueestablishthemselves as one of the indie world’s most enduring and self-sufficientacts. Hailed as “Midwestern rock heroes” by American Songwriter, the bandhas spent most of their career operatingoutside of the confines of the traditional music industry,earning theirlegion of lifelong fans throughdecades ofrelentlesstouring. 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 audiencesnormally reserved for arena acts.Along the way, they notched appearances everywhere from Lettermanto NPRand climbed all the wayupto #3 on the BillboardHeatseekers chart. In 2016, they celebrated with a 20thanniversary retrospective album/concert filmentitled ‘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’sdistinctlyMidwestern beginnings, the origins of‘The Wanting’ lie notin Ohio,or even in Brooklyn (where Terry currently resides), but rather in Mexico. It wasthere, on a day off during theband’ssixth 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 energythatyour band is about, and I feel
like if you give me the darts, I’ll get closer to the bullseyethan 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 schedulefor the better part of ayear to focus solely on writing, recording, and mixingthe most fullyrealized material of their career. Hoge made multiple pre-production trips to Columbus while the band rehearsed and recordedextensive demos, and when it was finally time to cut the album, they headed south for their firststudiosessions in Nashville, TN.“We made the album in the big roomat 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 limitationsany 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 aswe got in there.”One listen to ‘The Wanting’ and that clarity of vision is immediately apparent. The record openswiththe rousing“High and Dry,” a feel-goodrocker 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 bandchannelsearly Phil Collins withpulsing synths andlarger-than-life drums, while the tender“Glass House” crescendos from a delicatewhisper to a triumphant roar, and the dreamy “I’ve Got A Feeling It Hurts” calls to mind the hypnotic drive of REMmixed 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 youthfulconfidencethat 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 mostof my love songs, it can be just as much about your significant other as it isabout 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, desireis nothing withoutlove, and ‘The Wanting’ is nothing if not a testament to the power ofdesire."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.

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