Burning River Ramblers
Gig Seeker Pro

Burning River Ramblers

Lakewood, Ohio, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014

Lakewood, Ohio, United States
Established on Jan, 2014
Band Alternative Rock




"Without Missing a Beat, the Burning River Ramblers Dish Up a Killer Second Album"

Crossing over years and the north-south freeways of this fair state, a group of young musicians managed to find one another among the bricks and burnt-umber fall leaves of Athens. That was awhile back by this point, and, as an homage to Northeast Ohio's infamous Cuyahoga, they called themselves the Burning River Ramblers.

They began gigging at places like the Union and Jackie O's, mainstays among the music scene ensconcing Ohio University. A self-titled debut further established the Ramblers as a band fully capable of bringing listeners on a wonderful journey.

Cheekily dubbed "Your friendly neighborhood alt/rock/funk/reggae/folk band," the band carved out a welcoming niche in Athens and soon brought the music north. These days, the guys in the band — singer-guitarist Conor Standish, drummer Jesse Catania, singer-guitarist Zach Catania, bassist Chris Rush and keyboard player Dave Young — are all holed up in and around Lakewood.

The band will officially release their sophomore outing, To Color a Fool, during an Aug. 15 concert at Vosh in Lakewood.

The band really took its present form after the first album was recorded, lending a sense of completion to To Color A Fool. Throughout the writing process, which the band explains takes place both in various houses and onstage, collaboration is always the key. Often enough, songs start out as seedlings brought in by one member. With the ethos of an improv-friendly jam band, the Ramblers riff on the ideas coming and going throughout rehearsal.

"So we would take these songs and everyone would help each other out," Standish says, describing how the new material consistently builds on itself. The new songs ire full-bodied and confident. "Growth" is a pretty spot-on term that comes to mind.

"It's not so much a change as an expansion," guitarist Catania said around the time some of the new songs were taking shape. This time around, he takes on a wide balance of the vocal duties. Check out "Undertow" for the best example of this action (complete with a brief raging solo from Catania and greased-lightning lyrical raps). He complements Standish's role really well throughout the album. For evidence, check out the album's next track, "I Come Back," which pursues a softer tone overall (rounded out with violin work by James Farley).

The band has always emphasized a devotion to roots rock and the spirit of Americana music. That much is still very evident on the new album, though there's an openness to everything. Rather than, say, gathering 'round a fire amid Midwest shadows, the band's sound now calls to mind hanging out on the rooftop of some major American city — Cleveland, perhaps? — and casting eager eyes toward outstretched land and memories. There's a feeling of sublime flight throughout the music, buoying the listener ever higher.

And sonically, the band demonstrates more than a handful of tricks up their sleeves. Tucked among the guitar riffs and steady rhythms are all sorts of overdubs — brilliant little flourishes that accentuate the foundation beneath.

"It's Dave Young's kind of genius," Standish says. "[Bringing him on] was a huge step for us." The man behind the keyboards joined the band in 2011.

The album culminates with "Where We Were At," a gentle reflection on life and love, which melts nicely into "I'm No Ghost," a sure highlight from the band's entire catalog. Both songs are tremendous. On the latter, Standish's vocals build around a swell of melodies (look out for those Young-inspired overdubs too). The final dash to the top of the mountain is a thrilling climax following the near-hour of music that came before it. Drummer Catania and keys man Young positively shine as they guide the other guys toward the peak, leading to a massive shredfest from Zach. The build to the last three minutes of this tune is incredible stuff.

Along those lines, this album does a really great job of offering at the very least a glimpse of what the band's live show is like. When the Ramblers hit the stage, energy levels soar and the crowd gets primed for a night of awesome rock 'n' roll. Their self-ascribed nickname, calling to mind genres like alt-rock, funk, reggae, folk, really does speak to the spectrum of any particular set list.

To complete the circle of altruism that begins with the guys' music and personalities, they'll direct portions of the album's proceeds to the Alisa B. Smith Memorial Fund for Breast Cancer Research. The move follows the band's work with the Suicide Prevention Education Alliance of Northeast Ohio, toward which proceeds from downloads of the song "Redwood" were sent.

"We want to make it a tradition," Standish says of the Ramblers' philanthropic efforts.

Similarly, the unspoken tradition of writing and performing stunning music is gonna stick around for awhile too. - Scene Magazine, Eric Sandy

"Indie Musicology: The Burning River Ramblers {:to color a fool}"

You have to wonder what people are thinking sometimes. An example: You're leafing through the record racks and you come across an album by The Burning River Ramblers. Has to be Bluegrass or Country, right? Guess again. These ramblers are mainstream rock (from Cleveland and Athens, they say on their website). Well, maybe not straight ahead mainstream rock, but mainstream enough. But seriously? With literally thousands and maybe millions of combinations they could come up with, they settle on Burning River Ramblers? What's next? A folk duo called Amplified Baby Puke? A death metal band called Flowing Sequins? Maybe I'm out of line here, but shouldn't the name of the band give you a clue as to what sort of music they produce?

That aside, if I have to listen to mainstream, please let it be to a band at least this good. I think I've had a stroke recently because a handful of bands have sounded like Oami to me lately, and I'm sure you are asking who that is. When I returned to writing music reviews after a long layoff, Oami's Day In the City was among my first. Recorded and released in 2005, the album steamrolled me and I never really understood why. I found it fresh and just outside the mainstream, or at least that's how I choose to remember it. God only knows what I actually wrote (you can read the review here), but I'm sure I meant every word of it. I listened to that album a lot back then and still occasionally pull it out to refresh my memory, usually with the thought that I should revisit it more often.

The reason that I bring that up is that {:to color a fool} steamrolls me today in the same way that Day In the City did back then. Both bands have that ability to tap dance around a song with light rhythmic touches--- sometimes syncopated, sometimes latin, sometimes just jazz-riffy--- and those touches make the difference. Surround those rhythms with smooth vocals (and a slew of vocal hooks), flowing backup, and an attitude which reminds me more than a bit of early Steely Dan, and you have a band worthy of attention.

Cleveland. The home of another favorite, Dan Miraldi & The Albino Winos. Home base for The Damnation of Adam Blessing, The Raspberries and The Euclid Beach Band. A city full of riffmeisters and chooglers (The Burning River Ramblers qualify in both categories).

The cool thing is, in this day and age, you don't have to take my word for it. The Net supplies links for those musicians smart enough to use them. - Indie Musicology, Frank Glutch Jr.

"Burning River Ramblers & Bright at Night at The Union"

I haven’t seen a live act in weeks. And by weeks I mean probably months.

Saturday night’s groovy get-down at The Union featuring Bright at Night and The Burning River Ramblers remediated the situation indefinitely. Amidst a sizeable crowd of sweaty, giddy and blissfully drunk friends and strangers, I felt a surge of energy emerge from the soles of my shoes, through my legs, around my hips and all the way out my fingertips. It was a feeling I hadn’t experienced in a long time, but surely one I remembered.

Whether I knew the person next to me or not, it was apparent that these restlessly determined 20- or 30-somethings had one objective in mind: dance until they summoned the gods of funk and breezy alternative rock, or at least until they collapsed in a heap of sweat, PBR and chicken-and-waffles.

Bright at Night kicked off the show around 10:30 with boss beats, groovy bass lines, a smooth pairing of trumpet and saxophone, and rousing, energetic, hip-hop flow from Emerson B on the mic. Bright at Night’s rich, tight sound was exceptional and seemed to possess some voodoo magic that sent arms and legs flailing about. The band brought guest after guest on stage, including Dysfunktional Family and members of The Burning River Ramblers, that made every song fresh and exciting. These funky dudes know the art of jamming well and displayed a proficiency in improvisation in songs like “Has Anybody Told You?” With reggae/funk style strumming and silky notes from the horns section similar to newer Slightly Stoopid, Bright at Night produced a set that made me delirious with dance fever.

It was no wonder then that by 12:30 everyone was ready to take this party into the early-morning hours and proceed into the alternative rock adventure led by The Burning River Ramblers. Hitting on what seemed every conceivable genre, BRR provided a plethora of polished tunes that swayed the crowd, ignited enthusiastic moshing, and even sparked a little square dancing and feet stomping – all within the first ten minutes. This breezy bunch fed off the energy from the crowd (which by now had grown to the size of the entire top floor of the bar) and jammed with a zealous enthusiasm that burned hotter than the Cuyahoga River Fire of ’52. The Ramblers stoked the excitement on the dance floor, inviting guest appearances on stage (from musicians to fans and friends) and collaborations with Bright at Night that were true crowd pleasers. The Burning River Ramblers’ performance was a perfect nightcap to a dance-filled evening that more than satisfied all fans new and old.

All in all, Saturday’s show was the perfect physical and musical therapy after a much too long live music hiatus, and reminded me how some good tunes to dance to with some funky friends can really make your weekend outstanding. - ACRN's Scene and Heard, Mike Kasarda


To Color a Fool (2013)
1. Don''t Wait on Me
2. To Color a Fool
3. Coyote
4. Closer
5. Sad Earn
6. Undertow
7. I Come Back
8. Murphy's Law
9. Open Road
10. Show the Way
11. Where We Were At
12. I'm No Ghost
Album Notes: Recorded at Suma Recordings
Produced and co-mixed by David J. Young 
Co-produced and mixed by David M. Young 
Engineered by Paul Hammon 
Additional engineering by David M. and David J. Young 
Mastered by Jim Demain at Yes Master - Nashville, TN

Burning River Ramblers (2012)
1. See Ya Soon
2. Russian Roulette
3. Redwood
4. Drink Now
5. Two Guns
6. On the Loose
7. Carousel
8. Stranger on the Street
9. Destination Ohio
10. Singer Lawyer Man
Album Notes:
Recorded at Analog Arcade
Produced, mixed and mastered by Steve Deutsch
Engineered by Adam Korbesmeyer




Band Members