Bronze Radio Return know what it takes to get to the heart of American roots music. You have to go to America’s roots.
When it came time for the band to record their latest full-length album Up, On & Over, they found themselves in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains on a farm in the tiny town of Louisa, Virginia. In their journey as a band, recording in different parts of the United States has opened up their ears and minds. “We find it’s easier to get into a creative zone when we’re outside of our element,” lead singer and guitarist Chris Henderson explains, “we were surrounded by goats, chickens, and farmland.” The trek south this year was just the latest venture for Bronze Radio Return (Henderson, drummer Rob Griffith, lead guitarist Patrick Fetkowitz, keys player Matthew Warner, bassist Bob Tannen, and harmonica/banjoist extraordinaire Craig Struble) who are no strangers to recording in new – and sometimes remote – places.
Their story starts in Hartford, where members orbited each other at The Hartt School, one of the country’s top music conservatories. After finding each other and solidifying their line-up in 2008, they began writing music and found that their surroundings played a huge part in their creative energies. While writing their debut album Old Time Speaker, they bounced between the buzzing urban community in Hartford, where Henderson says melodies and chord progressions come naturally, and a remote Maine town, where they holed up to focus on lyrics. When they went into the studio in 2009, they went, as Henderson says, to “a place we’d never been before with a producer we’d never met to play a bunch of songs we’d never played before.” The producer was Chad Copelin (Ivan & Alyosha, Ben Rector), who would go on to form a solid and lasting partnership with the band.
Nearly five years since his break with major label Universal Music -- a relationship that spanned four years, two albums and saw Colton perform on The Tonight Show, The Late Show, debut videos on TRL and more – Colton will preview his new album Lonely Ones (out January 2014) this Fall on tour with his band. The new album marks a huge leap forward, seeing Colton move away from his singer-songwriter past and into an entirely different direction. After reconnecting with himself as an artist outside the world of major label influence, Colton began collaborating with good friend and fellow Oklahoma City musician Wayne Coyne and The Flaming Lips. Coyne inspired him to experiment and change the way he looked at the songwriting process.
“Wayne loaned me some keyboards and told me to push buttons and songs would appear,” said Colton. “And they did! It's amazing what happened when I put the guitar down.”
Colton holed up at Blackwatch Studios in Norman, OK with producers/ bandmates Chad Copelin & Jarod Evans for 18 months to write and record the album. They enlisted Steven Drozd (Flaming Lips) to aide in the early recordings and offer new textures and sounds that Colton wouldn't otherwise use. The result is ten tracks of lush indie/psych pop gems, each with its own interesting twist. Playful touches like handclaps and la-la-las accent ear-wormy melodies. As the follow-up to 2010’s Pacific Coast Eyes and 2008’s Twenty Something EP, Lonely Ones shows not just growth but almost complete reinvention – an exciting move for an artist who has already seen his share of commercial success.