Red Wanting Blue: Columbus’ Hidden Gem

If I had the cojones, this article would simply read: “Just go see them live!”  Heck, I could just make that the title.  But, there is long dusty road Red Wanting Blue took to get to this point, and I’m certain some of you, in this information age, need a little more to go on .  So, let us begin.Back before “DIY” referenced an aesthetic more than how you actually created something, RWB was born in Athens, OH.  The year was 1996.  By 1999, RWB made Columbus, OH their hometown.  Maybe home port is a better term, because since its inception the band has always lived it’s life from one show to the next.  That life, touring across America, has come across in their music since their 2000 breakthrough album Model Citizen.  With stories of a disenchanted man (“Wake up, Dreamer”), bittersweet love (Ginger (Sweet Love), and an empty bed (“When Your Sun Shines in My Eyes, I Make an Ugly Face”) RWB introduced the world to the honest anthems that would be their signature.  I think that core of honesty is what has resulted in RWB’s constantly growing fanbase, especially these days when cynicism and indifference are the norm.  People have latched on to the honest stories of RWB.  Sure some of them may be painful tales, but everyone has been or knows the people that populate these songs.  It helps, when the storyteller, Scott Terry, has an unfairly cool baritone.

Photo Credit: Jason Mowry ; Columbus Wired

That honesty extends beyond just the lyrics.  It’s how RWB have carried themselves as a group.  From 2001 to 2008, RWB put out four more studio albums, one live album, and constantly toured with no backing from a label of any sort.  Not that they weren’t offered deals.  They were just never offered a deal they were comfortable with.  They stuck to their guns, and built their fan base by touring relentlessly behind albums like 2003’s Souvenirs of City Life, and 2004’s critically acclaimed Pride: The Cold Lover.  It wasn’t till last year that they signed with Fanatic Records and its “mom and pop” attitude.  Considering how much RWB accomplished on their own, what would they do with proper label backing?  Well RWB did what they always do.  After Fanatic Records re-released their 2008 album, These Magnificent Miles, RWB toured relentlessly gathering more fans with each stop along the way.

That leads us up to the present.  RWB have come out of the studio with, From The Vanishing Point, another batch of anthems set for

Photo Credit: Jason Mowry ; Columbus Wired

release on January 10th, 2012.  To give the fans a taste of what they are in store for, RWB are once again back on the road.  Last week, they treated Columbus to not simply a concert, but an event at the Newport, for those fans that have been there throughout the years to support them.  The first set (Yes, I did say “first” set) was their upcoming album in its entirety along with a video shoot.  Starting 13 days before the show, the band streamed a track from the new album each day leading up to the show.  I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised that some of the fans were singing the new songs’ lyrics back to the band, but to have that many singing back shows the hunger RWB’s fans have to get some new songs.  It also takes “just a bit” of confidence on RWB’s part to play a whole set of brand new songs, and not only be certain the fans will love them, but also that they can pull every song off live.  Which being the road tested band they are is what they did.  The slow building rocker, “Dinosaur,” built to back to back guitar solos by Eric Hall that culminated into a roar from the crowd, and Terry jumping around with a big smile at song’s end, indicating the band knew they just nailed the hell out of it.  I know “Audition,” with drummer Dean Anshutz providing a shuffle back beat, is the lead single.  Still, “White Snow” with its strong melody, the bouncy fan favorite “Walking Shoes, or the destined classic “Love Remains,” would all be great lead singles.  Hearing the whole new album live it’s clear these songs progress the band to new territories, but still sounds familiar and worn in.  The second set was packed with fan favorites like “U.S. Bumper Sticker,” “The

Photo Credit: Jason Mowry ; Columbus Wired

World is Over,” and every mom’s favorite “You’re My Las Vegas.”  The crowd sang every lyric to every song.  They cheered each opening lick in anticipation that their “other” favorite song was coming.  Bassist, Mark McCullough’s face was a constant grin as he took in the audience.   Just behind me I noticed two ladies in their 60’s singing along and dancing around to “Finger in the Air.”  It’s at this point that I made up the goofy term “sweet spot music” to describe this band.  I could have brought my 65 year old father or my 12 year old niece, and they would have had the same smile everyone else did as they left the Newport.  That night RWB two sets for a combined 25 songs and still left the crowd wanting more.

So that is Red Wanting Blue: A hard working band from Columbus who play honest rock and roll that will be stuck in your head for days (or weeks).  If they don’t hit your town on this tour, don’t worry.  Go buy their albums and prepare.  More likely than not, Red Wanting Blue will be hitting your town soon.  That’s just what they do.


Bradford Iten; Columbus Wired [cincopa AUAA-uqQmr6o]

Comments ( 2 )

  • Holly

    Very well written article. My daughter first introduced me to them in about 2004 I liked a few songs – then in 2008 my son asked me to go to hear them at a local Youngstown bar on valentines day – that was it I was hooked – seeing the passion on that stage was incredible – since that time I’ve been to most concerts from bowling green to Youngstown. The band signed a flag I had specially made for my sons 21st birthday and they were so gracious about it – there music is now all I listen to. They have worked so hard I wish them all the best with the label and the new cd – it’s wonderful been streaming it on my phone all day every day!

  • julie

    really nice article.

    as a long time follower & fan of red wanting blue, i would agree with just about everything written. in my humble opinion, they are THE hardest working, most talented & passionate group of musicians around. their genuine love & dedication to their tunes & fans is evident during their shows, in their lyrics & also in chatting with them off stage. these guys definitely live, walk, breathe (& sometimes razor scooter) their love & commitment for what they do every day.

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