Although I rarely leave Center City Philadelphia, the fondness I’ve had in recent years for Americana revivalists apparently suggests that I may actually quite like what’s currently going on in Tucson, Arizona. I recently had the pleasure of meeting Tucson five-piece Run Boy Run… albeit on an unfortunately technologically glitchy six-way phone chat (I apologize to the band for anything I may have missed as our connections cut in and out quite significantly.) The band, comprised of siblings Matt Rolland (fiddle, guitar) and Grace Rolland (cello, vocals), sisters Bekah Sandoval Rolland (fiddle, vocals) and Jen Sandoval (mandolin, vocals), and bassist Jesse Allen, are set to release their Something to Someone LP October 28th on Sky Island Records. I first inquire about their locale and they explain to me that the area has quite a bit to offer in terms of the arts, especially for those who enjoy the bluegrass, folk, and country scenes.
“Music and arts are very vibrant in Tucson. A lot of people from throughout the country move here throughout the year and they bring music with them from wherever they come from. There’s also a pretty lively folk and acoustic music scene and a few festivals that are really big. We draw some really big bluegrass and folk festivals, most significantly Pickin’ in the Pines.”
The band tells me that the high point of their career thus far is when they decided to dedicate themselves to the band in full and the experiences and opportunities that has offered: “Going full-time is a really big highlight, deciding to go full-time and take the band on the road, which happened last summer, was a really big deal. But also, kind of experiencing different cultures of different festivals and getting to mingle with artists you’ve admired has been a big deal. Prairie Home Companion was a big highlight.”
Something to Someone sees an evolution in Run Boy Run, both in their sound and their mindsets as musicians. They’ve not only dedicated more time to songwriting, but allowed their sound to broaden from their roots: “This album has mostly originals, while the previous were mostly traditionals, with a few originals. It’s also a deviation from our previous sound, which was a little more traditional bluegrass.” They tell me that this evolution in their sound is likely most indebted to their time on the road as the full-time band they currently are: “Touring has been a major inspiration, a lot of those experiences are encapsulated in it. The road is the most significant influence.”
The album was produced by Seattle-based musician/producer/engineer Ryan Hadlock, best known for his work with The Lumineers on their self-titled album (But also Gossip, Milo Greene, and Blonde Redhead.) Something to Someone was recorded in Seattle with Hadlock, who the band tells me was also a major influences on their latest ouput: “We really hadn’t expanded ourselves, sonically, to that degree, before that, but we felt comfortable to expand our sound and doing all sorts of weird stuff we wouldn’t have done, if we were in a studio back home. Being there and living there was so beautiful and so relaxing, which helped in getting the best sound and being so relaxed.”
Run Boy Run are currently on the road, with dates taking them through mid-November. Although they have no Philly dates currently scheduled, they tell me that there is certainly more touring in the works and that they hope to be in the area in the near future. When I ask what they’re hoping and planning for in 2015 Matt tells me, “We’re expecting to be swimming in money [laughs]. No, but really, we’re excited to get out on the road and have a really good festival run.” They also tell me, hesitantly, “I’m not sure we should commit to this but, “Potentially, we’d like to have another album… and that’s an absolute potential.”