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Train is back on track

Rachel Kiely
newsroom@vaildaily.com
VAIL CO, Colorado
Special to the DailyGrammy-winning band Train will perform at Ford Park Saturday night as part of Spring Back to Vail.
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After an abrupt touring and recording halt in 2006, no one expected Grammy-winning band Train to jump back on the tracks.

The release of their fourth album “For Me, It’s You” was a flop. The band was frustrated and fed up.

“For all we knew, we were breaking up as a band,” said drummer Scott Underwood.

For some, the transition from a folk/indie band to a pop band was difficult, while other members felt the negative effects of stardom.

“With the success of the band – it’s good – but it adds a lot of pressure,” Underwood said. “Our choices were made on making a hit song. The dynamics were completely wrong.”

A three-year hiatus ensued; the band dropped off the radar and far from the public’s listening ear. However, a change was taking place with three of the original members. Lead singer Patrick Monahan recorded a solo album released in 2007 titled “Last of Seven.” He felt the pull to make music, and he was not the only one.

A phone conversation between Monahan, drummer Scott Underwood, and guitarist Jimmy Stafford ensued.

“We started thinking ‘we’re very lucky to have a band,'” Underwood said. “We started appreciating each other.”

With a new outlook, the band rekindled their sound. Dropping from five members to a core three, they began work on their most recent album “Save Me, San Francisco.”

“We made the record in London. The room was full of vintage instruments, couches and windows,” Underwood said. “We were sort of aiming for indie rock; we wanted to keep it simple.”

Refraining from layered strings and elaborate orchestral arrangements, the band produced the sweet crooning track “Marry Me,” which climbed the charts and also played on “The Bachelor” finale.

The driving beat, coupled with the lively strumming on “Hey, Soul Sister,” gained universal appeal: it is the most-downloaded iTunes song of 2010, the best-selling single of Columbia Records, and won a Grammy Award for best performance by a Duo or a Group with Vocals.

Sandwiched in between “Hey, Soul Sister” and “Marry Me” was the second single of the album: “If It’s Love,” topping the charts with its passionate chorus and the lyrics written by Monahan as a tribute to loyal fans.

All three hit singles grace the tracks of “Save Me, San Francisco” and are nestled among other positive and upbeat numbers on the album. Lead singer Pat Monahan wrote the lyrics and his word choices reflect his current state of life.

“We’re happier now,” Underwood said. “Pat is happier now.”

As they should be: Train committed a legendary move in the music industry, a move that Brittany Spears tried but couldn’t replicate: they came back better than ever before. The return was without drama and without scandal, the band just made better music.

“I just want to play really well,” said Underwood humbly. “We don’t feel like rock stars, just musicians.”

Rachel Kiely is a freelance writer based in Eagle-Vail. E-mail comments about this story to cschnell@vaildaily.com.


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