Recent Columbus expat returns home for album release show

Last year, Andy Gallagher moved from Columbus to San Diego and got engaged. This year, he got married and became a father in the span of three months. And just last month, he released a new album from his long-running musical project, Trains Across the Sea.

The move away from Columbus was precipitated by his partner's new teaching gig at San Diego State University. For the first three or four months in California, Gallagher spent his mornings searching for jobs and his afternoons working on a new record, Before It Ends, which he had already begun tracking back in Ohio with drummer Keith Hanlon (Bloodthirsty Virgins), bassist Matt Gochenauer, pedal steel player Corbin Pratt (Sean Marshall), pianist Jack Doran (Keating, Hello Emerson), organist Kevin Ashba and singer Anna Sudac.

“I just had a big backlog of songs that were written and recorded, so I kind of had to catch up,” Gallagher said recently by phone.

Between Before It Ends and the previous Trains record, 2013's What a Day, What a Time We Had, Gallagher co-wrote and produced the trucker musical “Semi Fame: A Truck Route to Broadway,” and the experience taught him a few things. “That was a very good lesson in learning the limits of my voice,” he said. “For this one I was very consciously moving songs into keys that I could sing better. And I thought there were parts of side B of my last record that were the first time I really discovered what I thought I sounded good doing, so I was like, ‘If I can make a whole record just zooming in on what I did on the second half of that last one, I can get there.'”

Some songs on Before It Ends date back to 2014 and were written out of the ashes of previous relationships. But songs like “Breathe in Deep” and “I Choose You” are less about ashes and more about the flame. “For the first time in a long time I've actually got two love songs, positive songs, on here,” Gallagher said. “That comes straight out of my relationship that I'm in now.”

The title track, though, takes a stark look at the world in the wake of the 2016 election. “The earth is catching up with all those dinosaurs we've burned,” Gallagher sings.

“It's just something that's on everybody's mind, and it would feel neglectful not to mention the elephant in the room,” he said.