The Runaway Grooms release sophomore album, “Violet Lane”
“Violet Lane” was released on Friday, Oct. 22 and is now available on all streaming platforms
The Runaway Grooms, a local rock band formed and based out of Eagle County, released its second album, “Violet Lane”, this Friday. The album is now available on all streaming platforms, including Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon Music.
The band’s sophomore album marks a clear transition from the folk-Americana sound that defined their 2020 debut album, “Tied to the Sun”, into a grooving, psychedelic-rock jam band that channels influences of The Grateful Dead and The Allman Brothers Band.
A new sound
The development of The Runaway Grooms’ latest sound results from the addition of two new members to the band, bassist Zach Gilliam and keyboardist Cody Scott, who joined the original three-piece arrangement of frontman Adam Tobin, guitarist Zac Cialek and drummer Justin Bissett in 2019.
The expansion of the band took place right before the COVID-19 pandemic, and when the venues closed and the world locked down, The Runaway Grooms used the time to develop their first album as a five-piece band.
“It’s a compilation of songs we wrote during COVID, influenced by a variety of styles and genre boundaries that were crossed,” Gilliam said. “We just hunkered down and wrote music, and this is the product of that.”
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During the first album, Tobin wrote most of the songs solo on his acoustic guitar, then brought them to the band to flesh out as a group. This time around, the songs are being written in a collaborative manner between the five members of the band, which has brought a broad array of styles and voices to the music.
“We have at least three songwriters now, and a lot of the writing process we do in the band room together,” Tobin said. “Different members bring different styles to the band, styles that I wouldn’t personally bring. Cody brings a funk and jazzy element, and Zachy G on the bass brings a lot of that funk-style bass and pocket grooves that really just add a whole new flavor to The Runaway Grooms’ music.”
The six songs on the “Violet Lane” album are vibrant, high-energy grooves that put a strong emphasis on instrumentalism while maintaining the band’s folk roots in songwriting and storytelling. Lyrical themes touch on various aspects of the band members’ lives, and attributes of the time period during which the album was written and recorded also shine through.
“One of the songs that I think represents some of the angst of COVID doesn’t have any lyrics, ‘Belladona’,” Tobin said. “It’s this jazzy dark piece that has this controlled chaos within it, and that’s most representative of that dark COVID time period.”
Another track called “See Where You Land” was inspired by a lighter subject – keyboardist Cody Scott’s passion for paragliding.
“It talks about ‘hold yourself higher and see where you land’, and we wrote it about Cody, but if you don’t know that it can be interpreted in more of a motivational and inspirational way,” Gilliam said.
“Take risks, hold yourself to a higher potential and see where you land,” Tobin agreed.
On the road again
While the album was written during a global shutdown, all of the band members were creating music with a live audience in mind.
”The way that I was envisioning these songs while writing them was I want to play for a live audience, and I want to be in a festival scene and have people dancing and moving to it,” Tobin said. “Movement – whether it be skiing, snowboarding, just getting up in the morning and grooving – that’s what I see for our music.”
The Runaway Grooms just returned from their first national tour, during which they were on the road for 15 weeks playing in 20 different states across the country. The tour gave them the opportunity to finally play “Violet Lane” as it was meant to be experienced – in a large crowd of people dancing and moving together.
“When we get the crowd that is our type of people, the people who want to get down and boogie, there’s no better feeling than seeing your music motivate people to just dance and move freely and just have fun,” Tobin said. “We play a better show when people are dancing, and then people dance more, so it’s this cycle of exchanging energy.”
The album title “Violet Lane” comes from the name of the street in Eagle County where the record was produced and recorded by local sound engineer Brett Scott of Altitude AV. The album was mixed and mastered by Jeremy Horn, former sound engineer at Ardent Studios in Memphis, Tennessee.
The energy and the intention of the album is also clearly reflected in the intricate album art for “Violet Lane”. Pen-drawn by artist Shane Sedlack, who the band found through Instagram, the album cover shows a group of flower-headed figures, a symbol of the band that they call the “Silly Lily Man”, gathering in a lush field while light radiates from the band playing in the background.
”It being an illustration of this big gathering really pairs well with our intention for the music, of it being a live experience,” Tobin said. “We love writing music, being in the studio is really fun, but I think we really thrive off of playing live and being able to curate jam-band live music experience, and it’s cool how that’s reflected in the album art as well.”
The Runaway Grooms are still on the road, finishing up a regional tour that will take them through Wyoming, Utah and Colorado, and they will return to play in their hometown of Eagle County on Nov. 11 for an acoustic set at Vail Brewing Company in EagleVail. The band will perform again in the valley on Dec. 11, with a full electric set at Shakedown Bar in Vail Village.
You can find The Runaway Grooms’ latest album “Violet Lane” on all streaming platforms. For more information about upcoming shows, visit therunawaygrooms.com.