The Alternate Routes’ name suits them well. They’re a band that‘s never really fit in — in a good way. Without a definitive genre to reference or an established scene to rally behind them, they’ve been something of a rogue wave in an ocean of bands. They built a fan base the old fashioned way, by driving around the country in a big, white Ford Econoline van, winning crowds over one-person-at-a-time with solid, catchy songs and an explosive live show. Since their genesis in 2004, co- founders Tim Warren (vocals, acoustic guitar) and Eric Donnelly (lead guitar) have taken their group through the dizzying heights and frustrating lows of the modern music industry, and have learned some valuable lessons along the way.
The culmination of all these experiences to date is a new record called Lately that exemplifies the new focus and attitude of a band that knows who they are and what they want. Produced by Teddy Morgan at The Bario East in Nashville, Tenn., the Routes’ updated sound on Lately is more spontaneous and raw than what we’ve heard from them in the past, but it retains the melody, depth and power of their previous efforts. This less-glossy version of the band is more true to the no-holds-barred, uplifting live show that put them on the map in the first place.
As road warriors of the 21st century, the band’s experiences are numerous and varied. They’re known for staying after the club ‘til last call, playing fan requests in the parking lot after the show on acoustic guitars. They’ve been the musical guest on Late Night with Conan O’Brien, opened a tour for O.A.R. to college-age crowds at arenas and drank moonshine out of a ma- son jar, jamming with the Mountain Stage house band in Charleston, West Virginia (following their taping of the down-home, nationally-syndicated radio show). But they’ve also hosted Patty Griffin in the studio to sing delicate background vocals on a track and have played fully acoustic shows at dinner theaters across the country to standing ovations.
They’ve got tear-jerking ballads, in-your-face rock anthems, bizarre, experimental songs, campfire sing-alongs, futuristic space jams — it’s all fair game. On their previous album A Sucker’s Dream, radio stations spun nine different songs, each one ap- pealing to a different format and demographic. They’re a hard band to label, but an easy one to like.
And that’s what it all comes down to. It’s not about viral videos or name-dropping, trending topics or artificial internet buzz; when the smoke clears all that remains is the music. The Routes’ output is timeless and strong – it’s going to be around for a long time, no matter what you call it.
Opening Band: Brian Torff and the Phantom Pluckers
Phantom Pluckers is a rock power group combining a veteran jazz, blues and rock bassman with younger talents. Bassist, vocalist and composer Brian Q. Torff is a music professor at Fairfield University with Chicago blues-rock and jazz roots. Torff says “I wanted to work with talented young players who have new ideas and a fresh perspective. They are former Fairfield University students of mine. It is the same model I experienced when I was in my 20’s. I worked with much older musicians who influenced me on and off the bandstand. We pass on our musical traditions and it is time for me to do the same. This band mixes music with spoken word, resulting in a free-wheeling, improvised and electric sound.” He’s also performed with jazz legends Erroll Garner, Cleo Laine, George Shearing and Mel Tormé. “This goes back to my blues-rock roots when I first started in music.”
Doors Open: 7:00pm
Opening Act – Brian Torff and The Phantom Pluckers: 8:00pm
Show Starts: 9:00pm