Sunday, December 21, 2008

Roe: 93.3's 2008 Hometown for the Holidays winners!

Originally published in Colorado Music Buzz, December 2008

Backstage at the Aggie Theatre, hours before the release show for Roe’s new album Letters and Lights, bassist Nick Daniluk drops a bit of a bombshell: “This album saved the band. It got to a point about a year ago,” he says, “where we all kind of sat around and were like, ‘Well, we’re kind of ready to go our own ways, or start playing something we all want to play.’”

The end seemed inevitable. Back then, the group’s original four members – vocalist/keyboardist Jake Espy, vocalist/guitarist David Anderson, drummer John Breeding, and Daniluk – considered each other associates rather than friends. The four had struggled to find their desired fifth, a lead guitarist in touch with Roe’s sound and approach. Playing tracks off their 2006 release, Frame By Frame, had gotten tiresome.

Something had to be done, so last winter, the Pop/Rock outfit disappeared from the scene and buckled down in the studio. It was time well spent. The group finally found their missing guitarist in Jake Breeding, John’s brother. The band also took time to revise their songwriting process, using a group-based effort when working out new tracks (Espy had written six of Frame By Frame’s seven tracks.)

The five mapped out nearly 30 tunes using their new method, but they won’t deny that some painstaking breakups along the way helped get the creative juices flowing. “It’s so interesting how you can be so much more in touch with your emotion when you’re sad and depressed then when you’re happy,” says Anderson. “That’s when, I think, true writing comes out.”

“Some of the songs on this record did span outside of relationships,” Espy adds. “’Coming Down,’ the first song on (Letters and Lights,) I wrote about how I struggled with certain aspects of my religion. David wrote ‘Excuses’ about friends, and one of David’s songs is about his uncle, who was going through a really hard time. Outside of the first layer, it seems like a lot of our songs are about relationships, but that’s not necessarily what it’s all about.”

It’s easy to make that impression with Letters and Lights, an album of crooner Rock n’ Roll that swings between autumnal acoustic offerings and bold carnival rides of rhythm and guitar. Just be careful when tossing out comparisons to The Fray. “We get that cause we’re a Colorado piano band,” says Daniluk. Espy adds, “They really thrive on that smooth sound. We’re more raucous.”

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