Red Wanting Blue – From the Vanishing Point

January 01, 1970



Slowly but surely, Red Wanting Blue’s
star has been rising. Hey, wider exposure’s only been 17 years in the making.
The title of the band’s latest release speaks to eons of hours spent aboard
tour vans leading in and out of the group’s Columbus, Ohio, base – which, while
a few states Northeast of the U.S. mainland’s geographical center, presents as
pretty darned heartland-ish. With a passionate balance struck somewhere between
Grunge, Folk-Rock, and Arena excitement, 
Red Wanting Blue might just be one of several essentially
quintessential, contemporary U.S. units.


Even if the more minimalist stomp and
sizzle of Garage Rock’s been gaining a well-deserved hold on America’s beer and ticket dollars,
it seems safe to estimate that even more Americans facilitate gridlock, pound
along treadmills, and endure long lines for something else. That something else
might be described as the working-man-makes-it-(for all of us)-through-music
story. If that story’s delivered with grit and sincerity; if resonant hooks
pepper the songs, and the songs are delivered with commitment, Americans can
shed some of their depression over unemployment, environmental deterioration,
necessary-evil transience (or feeling utterly stuck), and alienation. 


On “Love Remains,” Scott Terry sings, “Don’t
give up/You can keep up, keep on moving/Chasing the sound of the sun somewhere
going down,” and “Don’t give up/Holding on for life/My love remains/Our love
remains.”  The pumping fists and
harmoniously bobbing bodies at a typical RWB show testify to the response the
band’s fans have to its generally uplifting messages. Which might not be the
case if the band glossed over the pain beneath and around the sunshine. “Hope
on a Rope” indicates fatigue; acceptance,
and possible defeat: “Compass is broke, it gives me no direction/It reads like
a riddle, gotta see through the smoke/‘Stay the course’ folks would always say/From
port to port but they never know the way/Deliver me, Lord some kind of answer/This
dream’s a cancer and I can’t paddle no more.”


To these ears, From the Vanishing Point is a stronger set of songs than that on
RWB’s last release, These Magnificent
. Regardless of the band’s current status – apparently poised on, or
in the midst of,  what’s known as a
“breakout” (to greater success and exposure) – tracks such as “Stay on the
Bright Side” are successes in themselves; revealing how a band’s creativity and
expressiveness can be fueled by exhaustive hours on the road, in sleeping bags,
and onstage. With the right material in hand, Terry’s in his intensely sweet
spot; combining the emotive colorings of Richie Havens and Joe Cocker with ragged
denouements. When the tune falls repeatedly into the bittersweet buoyancy
heralded by this refrain, there’s an instant classic: “The deeper the doubt,
the harder it rains/What we have in common is we don’t want our colors to fade
/It’s lights out for us all some day/But stay on the bright side of things,


“Stay on the Bright Side” is one helluva
cup of spirit. Good thing the band’s performing it – the napkin-scrawl lyrics
printed on the poster-sized CD insert are, at least to these eyes, mostly


DOWNLOAD: “Stay on the Bright Side,” “Love
Remains,” “White Snow,” “Playlist,” “Walking Shoes,” “Pour It Out” MARY LEARY



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