Over the past few years, Vintage Trouble have wowed audiences across the globe by opening for The Rolling Stones in London’s Hyde Park, touring North America and Europe with The Who, and playing sold-out headline shows worldwide. Now, on their debut album for Blue Note Records, the Los Angeles-based foursome — singer Ty Taylor, guitarist Nalle Colt, bassist Rick Barrio Dill, and drummer Richard Danielson — channel the vitality of their live show into a fresh and urgent take on guitar-powered rhythm & blues. Produced by Blue Note president Don Was (a three-time Grammy Award-winner known for his work with the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Al Green, and Iggy Pop), 1 Hopeful Rd. finds Vintage Trouble building off the groove-fueled sound that Yahoo! once painted as “James Brown singing lead for Led Zeppelin” and blending blues, soul, and riff-heavy rock & roll with joyfully gritty abandon.
Recorded at L.A.’s East West Studios and mixed by Tom Elmhirst (Mark Ronson, U2, The Black Keys), 1 Hopeful Rd. borrows its title from the album’s opening number and lead single “Run Like the River.” With its foot-stomping rhythm and gospel harmonies, “Run Like the River” embodies the infectiously irrepressible mood that runs throughout 1 Hopeful Rd. and gives even the album’s most pained moments an electrifying edge. The follow-up to Vintage Trouble’s debut album The Bomb Shelter Sessions — a self-released effort praised by Paste magazine as “the stuff the best soul ’n’ roll is made of” — 1 Hopeful Rd. matches that emotional intensity with a raw yet sophisticated musicianship that’s prompted BBC Radio 6 to crown the band “the heirs of rhythm and blues.”
After kicking off with the bluesy snarl of “Run Like the River,” 1 Hopeful Rd. rolls on to offer up everything from lovesick ballads (the falsetto-laced “From My Arms”) to fired-up anthems (the thrillingly frenetic “Strike Your Light”) to stripped-back soul-folk tunes (the sweetly breezy, acoustic-guitar-driven closing track “Soul Serenity”). On the world-weary but determined “Doin’ What You Were Doin’,” Vintage Trouble slips into a soul-soothing melodicism and lyrics that gently plead for reflection and renewal (“Why don’t we allow ourselves to be the legends while we’re living?” asks Taylor in his show-stoppingly smooth vocals). And with “Angel City, California,” Vintage Trouble lay down a dirty and glorious, -rock-inspired ode to their hometown and all its sleazy charms.
Longtime devotees of incendiary artists like Ike & Tina Turner, Little Richard, and Chuck Berry, Vintage Trouble possess sharply honed instincts for rhythm and groove and unabashed showmanship. Now based in L.A.’s Laurel Canyon neighborhood, the band first played together in 2010 and soon brought their high-energy brand of soul to weekly residencies at local venues like the Edison and Harvelle’s Blues Club. As they steadily amassed a following, Vintage Trouble eventually drew the attention of Doc McGhee (a legendary music manager best known for working with KISS, Bon Jovi, and Mötley Crüe). Once under McGhee’s wing, the band set their sights overseas and — by 2011 — had taken the stage at Britain’s influential TV show Later...with Jools Holland, delivering powerful performances of “Blues Hand Me Down” and “Nancy Lee” (a stirring serenade to Taylor’s mother, penned from his father’s perspective).
After joining Queen guitarist Brian May on tour in May 2011 and Bon Jovi on tour that June, Vintage Trouble put out The Bomb Shelter Sessions and quickly saw the album hit the UK Top 40. Also charting as the No. 1 R&B album and No. 2 rock album on Amazon UK, The Bomb Shelter Sessions had its U.S. release in April 2012 and fast earned acclaim from such outlets as NPR, The Wall Street Journal, and Billboard. By the end of the year, in the pages of the New York Times, critic Val Haller had hailed Vintage Trouble as a modern-day answer to Otis Redding (“Like Otis Redding,” Haller remarked, “Vintage Trouble makes music that is a little bit of everything”).
Along with appearing on Late Show with David Letterman, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The View, Conan, and Jimmy Kimmel Live! — as well as at major festivals like Bonnaroo, Coachella, and Glastonbury, Vintage Trouble, under the management of Doc McGhee, has kept up a grueling touring schedule; This has included opening for such artists as The Who, The Rolling Stones, AC/DC, Lenny Kravitz, Paloma Faith, Joss Stone and Willie Nelson. At a hometown gig at the El Rey Theatre in summer 2013, Don Was caught the band live for the first time and found himself floored by their explosive performance. “Half of the songs were brand new and totally unfamiliar to the audience…yet the place was rocking from the first notes straight through to the final encore,” recalls Was. “Do you know how hard it is for a new band to pull that off? It requires tremendous charisma, thundering power, incredible grooves, and top-notch songwriting.” By the following spring, Vintage Trouble had inked their deal with Blue Note Records, and set to work on 1 Hopeful Rd.
With Vintage Trouble fiercely dedicated to constantly playing and creating new music — including a 2014 fan-only EP called The Swing House Acoustic Sessions, in addition to 1 Hopeful Rd. — Don Was isn’t the only music legend struck by the band’s passion and musical prowess. Admirers also include Prince (who name-checked Vintage Trouble in an early-2014 interview with MOJO) and Lenny Kravitz (who noted that the Vintage Trouble live experience bears the same feeling as “being at the Monterey Pop Festival of 1967”). When describing their own sound, Vintage Trouble use the term “formatted recklessness”: a fantastically paradoxical phrase that captures the spirit of a band whose music is wildly unhinged but rooted in real musicality, gut-punching but thought-provoking, steeped in the heritage of old-school soul but utterly and irresistibly timeless.
It’s that kind of passion, together with hard work, talent and luck, that are taking Vintage Trouble right where they deserve to be: on our radios and our televisions, in our headphones and our cars, at our favorite venues and on the soundtrack of our most memorable moments in life.
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