Red Wanting Blue (or RWB) is one of those bands that I will go see over and over again. For a band that has spent most of their career on the road, they still put their heart and soul into every single show.
RWB is a touring band. For the past 22 years, they’ve spent the majority of their lives on the road, playing over 200 shows per year some years. This past year, they took a break from the road to focus on recording their new album – The Wanting. With the album coming out earlier this year, RWB has returned to the road with a mix of songs from the new record, as well as classics every RWB fan wants to hear.
I had the chance to catch their show in Sellersville, PA the other night. The show was so amazing, that my husband and I decided to hop in the car and do the 2-hour drive to NYC to catch them the next night. Keep reading to learn more about the shows and why I think this band is the greatest little touring band out there!
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The Sellersville Theater 1894 is located in Sellersville, PA. The theater sits on the site of the Moyer Livery Stable, which was built in 1894 on the grounds of The Washington House. Legend has it that the Liberty Bell rested on the grounds overnight on its way from Philadelphia to Allentown. The Liberty Bell was moved from Philadelphia temporarily in 1777 to escape the British.
After the theater was built, it operated as a movie theater. In 2001, William Quigley and Elayne Brick did extensive renovations to the building and it is now used as a theater for live performances.
Tip #1: There is plenty of parking in the area. There is a municipal lot just across the street that is free of charge. We were able to find parking on the street right in front of the venue that was also free of charge.
Tip #2: Sellersville is a very small town, and there aren’t a lot of options for dinner before the show. The Washington House Restaurant is right next door, so it’s very convenient for dinner.
Tip #3: There is a bar in the lobby of the theater that sells water, soda, coffee, beer, wine and snacks. The bar is cash only, so come prepared. Prices are very reasonable. If you are sitting at a table, you can buy beer by the pitcher and wine by the bottle.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Liz Brasher is based out of Memphis, TN. Brasher’s diverse background – ½ Dominican and ½ Italian but born and raised in the South – has led to her diverse musical style. She grew up singing Baptist hymns in an all-Spanish church.
Brasher started performing after moving to Atlanta, where she fronted a 3-piece live band. She eventually re-located to Memphis, where her songwriting flourished. It was there that she wrote her EP – Outcast – and her first full-length album – Painted Image.
Brasher took the stage shortly after 8:00 p.m. Accompanied by a bassist and a drummer, Brasher handled lead guitar duties as well as singing. She kicked things off with “Blood of the Lamb” and then went into “Living Waters”, which had a very bluesy sound to it.
Brasher’s third song – “Day Time” – was completely instrumental, and showed off her guitar skills. The remainder of the set showed off Brasher’s vocal range, which is impressive. The overall sound of her music definitely shows off her southern influences, as it has both a blues and an “old-school” country feel to it. Don’t let that fool you though. Brasher can rock!
Brasher closed out her 30-minute set with “Elijah”, which really showed off her voice. Impressive!
Brasher is currently on the road opening for Red Wanting Blue through the end of June. For more information on her and future tour dates, check out her website at www.lizbrasher.com.
RED WANTING BLUE
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Red Wanting Blue got their start in 1996 in Athens, OH. In 1999, the band moved to Columbus, OH, which has remained their home base ever since.
Above all else, RWB is best known as a touring band. Even though they have recorded and released 11 studio albums over their 20+ year career, they have spent most of their time on the road trying to build their fan base.
RWB was started by front man Scott Terry, while he was attending Ohio University. Today, the band is made up of Terry (vocals, tenor guitar, ukulele), Mark McCullough (bass, chapman stick, vocals), Greg Rahm (guitar, keyboards, vocals), Eric Hall (guitar, lap steel, vocals), and Dean Anshutz (drums, percussion). Shortly after forming, the band recorded and released their first album – Velveteen. They released their second album – The Image Trigger – while they were still in college.
The band’s first taste of success came with the release of their third album – Model Citizen – and the song “Audition”. The clothing chain Abercrombie & Fitch placed in on their rotation that played in their stores across the country.
By the early 2000’s, RWB had released two more studio albums – Sirens and Souvenirs of City Life – and were touring across the country heavily with bands like O.A.R., The Roots and 311. While they were slowly gaining a devoted fan base due to their extensive touring, they were still struggling as an independent band.
In 2008, RWB recorded and released their seventh studio album – These Magnificent Miles – which was produced by Grammy nominee Jamie Candiloro. Despite their desire to stay independent, RWB decided to sign with Fanatic Records in 2010. They liked the “mom and pop” feel of the record label, and they were hoping that by signing a record deal, it would open up doors for them that they had not been able to open on their own.
Their second album on Fanatic Records was From The Vanishing Point, and was released in January of 2012. The benefits of having a record label seemed to start paying off. The band was playing bigger and bigger venues. They also made their first appearance on The Rock Boat and played several shows with their friends Carbon Leaf. Most significantly, they made an appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman in July of 2012.
RWB recorded their third album produced by Jamie Candiloro – Little America – in 2014. The album was the third of a three-record deal with Fanatic Records, and their relationship ended after its release.
The band celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2016 with a live album and DVD called RWB20 Live at Lincoln Theater.
For their latest album – The Wanting – RWB has switched record labels and producers. The album was released April 27th on Blue Élan Records and their friend Will Hoge produced it. As a band that is always on the road touring, RWB took a different approach to making this album. They took nearly a year-long break from the road.
In addition, rather than recording the record in their home studio, they traveled to Nashville, TN and used the recording studio at the Sound Emporium. More than on any previous album, the songs on The Wanting are a true collaboration, with all the band members contributing to the writing.
RWB took the stage about 9:15 p.m. They have a new stage set up featuring the heart drawings that are part of their new album. We had the chance to sit right next to Scott Terry’s parents at the show, and they told us that Scott’s brother drew the heart image. I have to admit that I miss the campfire set and the RWB Lite Bright that they’ve used in the past, but the new stage set up definitely complements the theme of the new album.
RWB started off their set with three songs from the new album – “High and Dry”, “Ulysses” and “Younger Years”.
I was a little concerned about seeing RWB in this venue. I always stand and dance during a show, particularly when it’s a rock show like this. Because of the setup of the theater seating, it really wasn’t conducive to standing. Luckily, we were seated at a front row table all the way on the left, so we were able to stand up and dance and not be in front of anyone.
After some new songs, RWB gave us some of their classics including “Spies and Lovers”. Before playing “Audition”, Terry mentioned that playing a room like this one always makes him a little nervous because it’s a fancy place. He invited the crowd to sing along to make it more like a typical RWB show.
RWB brought Liz Brasher back on stage, and she joined Terry on vocals on “I’ve Got a Feeling It Hurts”.
As the show got going, a few other people moved out in the side aisles so they could stand and dance as well. By the time RWB got to “You Are My Las Vegas”, a good portion of the audience was on their feet. If Terry’s mom is in the audience, you’re guaranteed to hear “Vegas”. Terry always dedicates it to his mom, as it’s her favorite song. Brasher also joined the guys on back-up vocals on “Vegas”.
After a very quick encore break, just Terry and Hall came back on stage to do an acoustic version of “My Name Is Death”. The rest of the band then came back on the stage and they wrapped up the show with “Love Remains” and “Hope on a Rope”, which is one of my favorites to see live. Terry’s vocals on the song are mind blowing.
Red Wanting Blue is wrapping up their current tour in June. They have already announced that they will be playing on The Rock Boat in February. You can keep up on all their news at their website at www.redwantingblue.com.
Set List (click on any link to download the song directly from Amazon): High and Dry, Ulysses, Younger Years, Walking Shoes, Glass House, Spies and Lovers, Audition, Keep Love Alive, This Is the End, When We Choke, I’ve Got a Feeling It Hurts, You Are My Las Vegas, Finger in the Air, The Real Thing, Where You Wanna Go, Hitchhiker’s Lullaby Encore: My Name Is Death, Love Remains, Hope On A Rope
BONUS! THE BOWERY BALLROOM IN NYC!
As I mentioned in the introduction, we had so much fun at the first show, that we decided to jump in the car and catch them in NYC. I really wanted to just enjoy the show for myself that night, so I won’t do a full write up of the show. However, I’ll share a few highlights.
First, the Bowery Ballroom is a great room! Really cool inside, and the acoustics are fantastic. It’s located right near Chinatown and Little Italy, so there are plenty of places around to grab something to eat before the show as well.
I was happy to see a big crowd show up for RWB. You could sense that the large crowd really boosted their energy. The show was fantastic. They even had a horn/string quartet accompany them on some of the songs. Terry said this was the first time they’d done anything like that.
Their friends from The Alternate Routes were in the audience so they invited them on stage as well.
I’m so glad we decided to take a last-minute road trip to see RWB again! They really are an amazing live band, and I recommend you check them out.
Have you heard of Red Wanting Blue? Have you ever seen them live? Let us know what you think by commenting below or e-mailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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