Chicago-based five-piece rock band Vintage Blue (formerly known as Tanglewood) will be releasing its debut full-length record, Strike The Mics, on February 14, 2012. The new album is the follow-up to their 2010 debut recording, California Road, a seven-track EP. For the Strike The Mics sessions, Vintage Blue enlisted producer Jamie Candiloro (The Eagles, Luscious Jackson, Willie Nelson, Ryan Adams), who not only ensured a sparkling, 13-track-strong sonic result, but also drove the band to write their most concise, structurally impactful songs to date. "Absolutely every ounce of our love of music was poured into Strike The Mics," says singer/guitarist Ben Bassett. "Our passion was drawn out by our producer Jamie Candiloro who demanded nothing but the best, and found unique, odd and hilarious ways to bring out our talents."
One of the key factors underlying Vintage Blue's strengths as an original rock act is the dual writing tandem of Bassett and singer/guitarist Ryan Tibbs, who each pen and sing their own respective material. Both recently single after long-term relationships, Bassett and Tibbs admit that affairs of the heart dominate much of their lyrical content, with a range of emotions from blissful to vitriolic. Bassett's "Speak," the first track that will be released from the forthcoming album, plumbs the idea of recognizing love and not quite being able to get it, while "Just Breathe," another Bassett-penned track, reminds listeners of the importance of letting things fall into place: stepping back, taking a breath, and trusting that things will work. Tibbs' "What Lies" is based on the idea of two people who don't really know each other, yet who are swept up in a beautiful place for a very short period of time.
Vintage Blue—which includes singer/lead guitarist Bassett, singer/guitarist Tibbs, drummer Will Crowden (the grandson of the founder and former owner of Ludwig Drums), bassist Cesar Corral, and saxophonist/keyboardist Matt Zimmerman—formed as the band Tanglewood in Chicago several years ago as a cover band, and as time passed and the group solidified, the outfit started to compose their own original material. Tanglewood then released the aforementioned California Road, a home studio recording. Lineup changes ensued, partly prompting the name change to Vintage Blue, but the core roster persevered. Recently, the band played the House of Blues, Double Door, and Cubby Bear in Chicago, as well as several Chi-Town summer festivals (including Party at St. Mikes, Chicago Ribfest and Taste of River North), and a show is planned at the Mint in Los Angeles on December 3, 2011, further building the momentum toward their next release.
With Strike The Mics, Vintage Blue are eager to share a much-anticipated batch of new material with fans, and bring their eclectic blend of soulful rock to their largest audience yet. Although the band are regulars in the ever-thriving Chicago club scene, a regional tour will follow the release, traveling from Madison, Wisconsin, to East Lansing, Michigan, and then to downstate Illinois, where several band members attended college.
"To a man, Vintage Blue believes the music on our album is truly us," says Bassett. "It speaks to our lives, our loves and our passion. We truly love what we gained from the process and look forward to making music for many more years to come. We could not be more excited to have listeners get to know the guys behind the sound." Agrees Crowden: "We so excited to get this new material out to the public and truly think there is something unique for every different music fan out there."