Red Wanting Blue singer determined to stay true
To Scott Terry, singer-guitarist-songwriter of Red Wanting Blue, the Beatles provide the perfect blueprint for how to progress musically as a band.
“From the days of ‘Hard Day's Night' and the evolution of their music from record to record, it's like they continued to progress. They continued to move,” Terry says. “But it was always just enough that you still swallowed it easy. It was never medicine that had to be taken. It was always what you wanted next.
“That, to me, is the mark of a successful musical record.”
Terry won't call Red Wanting Blue, who perform Saturday at Club Cafe, another Beatles, but the idea of not getting ahead of the band's audience might have been more important than ever with the band's current CD, “From The Vanishing Point.”
That's because a decade and a half after forming the group and self-releasing seven CDs, for the new album, Red Wanting Blue signed with a label, Fanatic Records. The label involvement invited worries from fans that the group would alter its sound in an effort to reach a wider audience.
But Terry says he was determined to stay true to the sound Red Wanting Blue had established.
“There are very definite similarities between ‘These Magnificent Miles' and ‘From The Vanishing Point,' ” he says, also mentioning the previous Red Wanting Blue CD. “It's not like it's all different now and the band's identity has changed as a result of signing with this label.”
It makes sense that Terry would respect the history of Red Wanting Blue, considering the tenacity he has shown in leading the group throughout its history.
While the group has built a loyal, if not large, following — especially in the Midwest — plenty of musicians in Terry's position would have thrown in the towel on the band and a career in music a long time ago.
In fact, the three musicians who joined Terry when the group was formed in fall 1995 in Athens, Ohio, have long since left the fold, as have five other musicians who have been in the group over the years.
Terry admits that he has asked himself more than a few times why he has stayed the course with Red Wanting Blue.
“Literally, I do think that,” he says, noting that a song on “From The Vanishing Point” addresses the ongoing quest for success. “That's the song ‘Hope On A Rope.' At the end of the song, ‘Our hope/Like a carrot on a rope/Always off in the distance/There she blows.' That's what it's been. Sometimes I just feel what we do is crazy. I mean, it really is.
“Sometimes, I hate this so much,” Terry says, addressing the grind of touring. “But what the hell else would I be doing? I'd still rather be doing this than just about anything else.”
Terry is very pleased with how “From The Vanishing Point” turned out. And, as the band intended, the CD stays true to the basic Red Wanting Blue sound, which Terry describes as “American rock and roll.”
On “From The Vanishing Point,” the group, which includes bassist Mark McCullough, guitarist-keyboardist Greg Rahm, guitarist-multi-instrumentalist Eric Hall and drummer Dean Anshutz, turns out an unpretentious set of heartland rockers and ballads. The band hits a high point right off the bat with “Stay On The Bright Side,” a full-bodied, mid-tempo rocker with a striking melody. Nothing else on “From The Vanishing Point” quite equals that opening track, but there are plenty of other worthy tunes, including the mid-tempo anthem “Audition,” the melancholy “Love Remains,” the country-flecked “Cocaine” and “White Snow,” a rocker that is just a bit friskier than most of the other songs on the CD.
Such songs translate well to a live show that Terry says will lean toward material from “From The Vanishing Point” and other recent CDs, along with a few fan favorites from early albums.
“There are some songs that have always stuck through,” he says. “For example, there's an old song that was on the very first album we ever made, called ‘Venus 55' that got a very cultish following that still follows us around 15 years later.”
Alan Sculley is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.