(This article is sponsored by MyTone Records.)
It’s been a hell of year for the guys in Rollin’ Trainwreck.
They won the British Columbia Country Music Association’s Horizon award, they established a residency at the Lamplighter Public House, they built up an impressive fan base, and—just yesterday—they released a new album.
“It feels good, it feels like we’re on the right track,” says Jesse Burch, the band’s lead singer and guitarist. “We’re having fun and doing what we like to do. I think that’s why people like our music. They can see it’s authentic, so they have fun too.”
Although Rollin’ Trainwreck often invites additional players into its lineup, the band’s core consists of a power trio made up of Burch, Phil Bell on stand-up bass, and Phil Puxley on banjo. Thanks to some serious musical talent, the three manage to create an incredibly full sound that seamlessly slides between bluegrass, new country, country & western, and southern rock. It’s a mix that listeners can enjoy in all its glory on their new album, Stomp, available on MyTone Records.
“The album’s all local,” explains Burch. “It’s a six-song EP, basically self-produced and recorded locally at Monarch Studios, Afterlife Studios, and Greenhouse Studios. Everybody writes, everybody puts progressions together, and everybody helps produce, so it’s a joint effort. It’s been a great process.”
Clearly, Burch is pleased with the pure sound they’ve managed to lay down.
“We always record live off the floor so everyone’s a part of it. While a lot of bands are using back tracks and trying to fill up their sound, we’re doing the exact opposite, just trying to be as real as we can. If you can’t do it in the studio you can’t do it live!”
And, by all indications, the album is shaping up to be a future fan favourite: the first single, Already Gone, recently scored a staggering 97 percent approval rate on JRfm’s “Hot or Not” challenge.
Happily, Rollin’ Trainwreck’s BCCMA win also helped catapult the band into the public consciousness.
“Oh, man—winning the Horizon Award was the best,” Burch declares with obvious pride. “It’s so nice to get recognized for all the hard work we’ve done, it opens all sorts of doors, and it gives you credibility in the industry. The big guys—the producers and managers—start looking at you. It’s all about making connections and building relationships.
“We also got some really great shows because of it,” he continues. “We’re playing RiverFest this year, and we’re working on some other festivals so a win like that leads to all kinds of things.”
Of course, that’s in addition to Rollin’ Trainwreck’s standing gig, the Bluegrass Brunch at the Lamplighter—every Saturday at 11 a.m.—which features the band in its three-piece form.
“It’s a really cool crowd,” Burch says, “and it’s growing. We see the same faces every week and they’ve started bringing their friends. People are ready to shake off the hangover from the night before and it’s a really laid-back atmosphere, we might even invite a few people up to sing some tunes. It’s a really good opportunity for us to build our chops.”
It’s also physically taxing, as the band plays the Lamplighter gigs without a percussionist.
“We perform three 45-minute sets of original material every week,” Burch explains. “That’s a lot of work when you don’t have a drummer! Afterward, my hand can feel like a car ran over it. During the show, I don’t ever stop playing acoustic guitar, and I’m playing it like a drum a lot—I’m always scraping and scratching at it, and hitting it. With bluegrass, it’s so fast it never stops.”
As difficult as it can be, Burch is obviously having the time of his life.
“You know what? I’m overwhelmed with the traction we got in such a little amount of time. How many bands in Vancouver get a gig like this?”
Never one to sit still, Burch reports that Rollin’ Trainwreck has even more on the go. For starters, they’ve already begun working on a new album.
“We just have so much original material. We figured instead of adding to the EP, we’d just start a whole new album with a whole new feel to it.”
And, always looking for a good time, the band has just lined up a spot at the Roxy’s Raise ’Em Up New Year’s Party at the Vogue, with best-selling Nashville band Blackjack Billy.
As for the future, Rollin’ Trainwreck is content doing what they do best: playing songs and enjoying themselves while they’re doing it.
“If the music’s good,” Burch says, “hopefully it’ll find its way out there. Right now we’re just playing, working on our craft, and developing a fan base. Writing and recording wicked music and playing as many gigs as we can, that’s the magic right there. You just have to run with it and have fun with it.”
Looking for the perfect gift for a country music fan? Look for the new six-song album, Stomp on iTunes. Rollin’ Trainwreck—they don’t get their name for nothin’! Tickets for Rollin’ Trainwreck at the Roxy’s Raise Em’ Up New Year’s Eve Party are available online.