Hot Local Band: Route .44
Friday, October 12, 2012
Route .44 is an eclectic blend of every genre of music from blues, jazz, and rock, to klezmer and ska. Female and male vocals intertwine back and forth in rich and soulful waves over the dark and light, smooth and edgy, alternative instrumentals.
"Over the years we have worked hard to cultivate a ‘Route .44 sound.’ That is to say we intentionally sought to separate ourselves from a pigeonhole,” said lead singer, guitarist, and songwriter, Ian Lacombe. “In all that we do, we seek to unify into a discernible sound that when one hears a song of ours, one would say ‘Ahh, Route .44’ regardless of the genre we are exploring.”
Formed in 2004, the band’s shape and size has shifted and changed consistently. “Some shows we may only have 5 or 6 [members]; some we may have guests so we could be 10. One never knows. Each one adds a sonic layer that works with the songs.”
Currently the band consists of Ian Lacombe’s guitar and vocals, Matt Swanton on tenor sax and slide guitar, Paul Choquette’s baritone sax and keyboards, Eric D. on the upright bass, Teri Pimley on the Viola and female vocals, percussionist Jud Lisieka, and drummer, Rob Champagne.
Working together in such a large group is “not always roses and rainbows but for the most part we get together to make music and that is our focus,” Ian says about being such a large band. “All the interpersonal kinks get feted through the music; it’s an interesting dynamic in that sense.”
Providence has had a huge influence on the band. Each member of Route .44 draws on their own histories and experiences with the city to inspire their songwriting. “Providence has everything to do with our music,” Ian says. “This city is good for keeping ghosts alive. It carries its age so well. That is where the songs come from. Route .44 songs are not cheerful lyrically, but the songs themselves are meant to get you to dance with the devils. To let us dance around our history and celebrate the good the bad and the ugly. All that jazz we present has transpired somewhere on the streets of our beloved city.” From the underground art scene to the crumbling old factory buildings, Providence is clearly visible in Route .44’s music and lyrics.
This band is definitely one to catch live. With all eight spirited personalities jamming out together the energy on stage is electric. “There have been times where the performance takes off, where the band just locks into something untouchable,” Ian says about performing. “There are some nights where things just happen musically and when something new happens it really lights something up in all of us. If you add a responsive audience then what you really get is a cycle of energy. We emote through the music and the crowd emotes through dance and transfers their energy back to us. When moments like that happen, there is very little I would rather be doing than making music.”
Between releasing their debut album, Worthless Lessons, in 2007, and This Is My America in 2010, the band has received numerous awards including Alt-Rock Band of the Year, Alt-Rock Album of the Year, and Female Vocalist of the year in 2009 from Motif magazine, and were Providence Phoenix Best Music Poll winners of Best Local act and Best female Vocalist in 2008.
Route .44 is putting the finishing touches on their third CD, set to be released soon. The band has also already begun working on a fourth album. Earlier this spring the band featured several tracks on The Layover, a TV Show with Anthony Bourdain.
“We want to continue finding niches to fit our music into,” Ian says. “We have always been a little too eclectic for mainstream and a little to mainstream for the eclectic folk. So we continue to do what we do and find new mediums to work with.”
You can check out the band for yourself October 12 at The Spot Underground with the members of Morphine, a band Route .44 draws influence. Get tickets here. Stay up to date on Route .44 and experience more of the band on their Facebook page or their website.
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