One of the defining characteristics of Red Wanting Blue has always been the band's refusal to sign with a record label.
"It just never seems to work out," frontman Scott Terry said. "It seemed like the doorway to darkness."
The Columbus pop-rockers have fielded numerous offers since starting in Athens in 1996. But they've stayed afloat this long without a label, and they weren't exactly eager to jump at a deal after other bands' horror stories about creative shackles, shelved records and mounting debt.
Still, there's only so long you can tour the same college towns before you get restless enough to take a risk.
Enter Fanatic Records. The label re-released Red Wanting Blue's 2008 release "These Magnificent Miles" this summer and will push the band's next album, set to be recorded this winter.
Fanatic is tied to major music powers EMI and Caroline Distribution but is taking a mom-and-pop approach, Terry said.
"This is as close to the best of both worlds as I can see," Terry said.
These business changes follow much artistic evolution, Terry said. The band has toured relentlessly through Middle America, and the region's rootsy side has rubbed off.
"I feel like I could write a really good Bob Seger record about truck stops," Terry said.
Though Terry didn't disown Red Wanting Blue's early material - the band will break out some oldies Friday at the Newport - he said those songs feel distant now, like old photos from high school. He suspects people who haven't heard Red Wanting Blue for nearly a decade might be surprised.
"I would hope that people would give us a second chance," Terry said, "so that we could re-educate them."
E-mail your local music news to cdeville@columbusalive