Athens, Ohio natives Red Wanting Blue, rolled into City Winery on Thursday night to a packed venue ready to party. The band formed in Athens, Ohio – which is where I blossomed from a boy to a man in the shadows of Ohio University. So, it was a nice reminder of both of our pasts to see their on-stage décor including woodland tree cutouts, a teepee tent, and a miniature bonfire signifying the bands Appalachian roots of southeast Ohio. It was there and eventually to Columbus where the band cut their teeth and polished their Midwestern roots rock/Americana sound.
The group released their most recent album, Little America just over a year ago and has been touring constantly in support, which is how we found ourselves in the West Village wine bar/venue getting down with the pride of Athens. You know a band is from the Midwest, namely Ohio, when four out of the five members on stage wear jeans and casual button downs.
“We don’t need to settle down, we live our lives upside down,” sang lead singer Scott Terry as he opened the show with “Spies and Lovers.” It’s a pretty reflective lyric from a band that has spent their almost fifteen-year professional career constantly working and touring. Although Terry didn’t seem too aged and carried a simple youthfulness to him and their music as he played ukulele on “Walking Shoes” into “Halelelujah” and “Black Canyon” to open the set.
After tearing through “Cocaine” and the more folk-based “Name is Death,” both off 2012’s From The Vanishing Point, the band went into an acoustic style section playing “Audition,” “Drawing Board,” “Finger in the Air,” and finishing the bluegrass part of the show with a duet between Terry and his drummer on a washboard, covering Tom Waits’ “Pasties and a G-String” before turning things back up with “You Are My Las Vegas” and “Hope on a Rope.”
They had the whole venue roaring for a two-song encore to close out the night with “Little America” and “Love Remains” to end their 18-song set. Their twangy Appalachian rock and roll represented everything that Midwestern transplants in NYC love about the band, including yours truly. Their honest lyrics paint a picture of the blue-collar man/woman just trying to get through life in the most melodic of ways, and anyone who has ever seen them live appreciates their music and showmanship to the fullest. That’s why almost twenty years after their formation, they’re still packing venues all across the country. Not bad from a band from Athens, Ohio.
Article: Tom Shackleford
Photos: Shayne Hanley