Local music: Red Wanting Blue

By
From the May 10, 2012 edition

Red Wanting Blue has been slugging it out in the trenches for more than a decade. Their lives have been defined by endless stretches of highway punctuated by gas stations, fast food and passionate performances in local dives.

The album titles tell the tale; 2010’s “These Magnificent Miles” gave way to this year’s “From the Vanishing Point,” a record about the road born out of the busiest era in the band’s history.

“Our lives were still the same,” frontman Scott Terry said, “just dizzier.”

Red Wanting Blue’s grassroots campaign began in earnest upon relocation to Columbus in 2000 after four years as an Ohio University party band. Through sheer force of determination, they’ve become this city’s definitive “nose-to-the-grindstone” band.

The ceaseless slog is getting a lot more glamorous. The band is scheduled to play “The Late Show With David Letterman” this July, just one of the opportunities that unfolded after they linked up with Fanatic Records in 2010. Terry had long espoused the virtues of being an unsigned band, and he believes all those grueling years were sowing the seeds for what’s happening now. Still, he can’t help but notice the rapid acceleration lately.

“There’s certainly a small part of me that says, gosh, look how much progress we’ve made so quickly. Maybe I shouldn’t have been so stubborn when I was younger about being able to do it all by myself,” Terry said. “But I think that Fanatic Records is a very different label … I think that, had that opportunity showed up five years ago, I probably would have taken it.”

With appearances at major festivals Summer Camp and All Good coming up after Friday’s Newport show, Terry was expecting a boom even before Letterman came calling. He’s hoping to continue the climb with his city at his back, especially local radio stations.

“I want to let people know that we’ve been in your backyard for 12 years,” Terry said. “Lift that stuff. Don’t suppress it.”