Photo courtesy of After The Rodeo.
After the Rodeo may be the best delicacy out of Vermont since Ben & Jerry’s, but according to this Americana-esque folk trio, they’re more like the last shot of whiskey after a great evening on the town. High energy paired with soulful stirring, their music ties together shades of what’s developed in the roots of homeland soils, and likewise, they have set out to grow organically – fresh, local, made to order – masterminding a repertoire they think sounds kind of like a dynamic adventure movie.
“We’d be the soundtrack to some kind of touring adventure drama thing,” Matt Schrag, mandolin and guitar player of the band tells BTR. “There are certain songs in particular, more so than the band as a whole…The idea of jumping down an elevator, or falling asleep under a tree, [we would fit] a movie that has all kind of story arches: high intensity, drama building, crescendo.”
After the Rodeo came together two and a half years ago after collaborating periodically on the Vermont music trails. They’re all full-time musicians playing in several local groups around town, but their respect and admiration for each other officially drew them together and they’ve since put the band at the forefront of their careers. As far as genre goes, the group considers themselves a “specialized niche,” a folk band with elements of bluegrass, jazz, and blues.
Along with a fierce love for artistic ingenuity, After the Rodeo also shows bold demeanor, releasing their debut album, Live at Stu Stu Studio, as a live, raw, in the cut effort of new music this year. The idea was part deliberate, part the result of an extensive touring schedule that left them in a rush to complete a studio album. Instead, they figured they’d simply do what they did best.
“We decided just to do three sets in a studio, and pick the best takes,” guitarist D Davis says. “We thought it’d be a good representation of our first album to sound how we sound live.”
To follow it up, the band has a majority of their first studio album already complete, and is simply taking the time to fine-tune the details.
Davis adds, “Now that we have this release, we’re back working in studio…mixing a couple tunes. We hope to have [the studio album] finished by 2013, and released in the early spring. When the it comes out, it’ll show our maturity or the difference between a live one-take album and actually spending time with an engineer.”
The way After The Rodeo works, each artist in the band, which also includes bassist Pat Melvin, writes music on his own and brings it as a submission to the others. They select what best suits their sound and energy, and put, as they call it, a signature “stamp” on it.
“Because we cross a lot of different genre territories, it gives us the ability to try out a lot of things that might not work in other bands,” Schrag points out. “The most interesting part of that is finding how they all tie together with After The Rodeo’s music…We are bringing different things to this band. I don’t think of it as a challenge, that’s the fun part. We do a lot of small gigs to try out new material – see how audience reacts, how do they fit in…The interesting part of this band is finding After The Rodeo’s voice from the individual.”
Right now, the trio is focusing on building a fan base both locally and regionally, working the crowds in their local Vermont as well as in cities around the Northeast. They’ve got a big gig coming up on November 25 following the Thanksgiving holiday, performing with a range of veteran acts at the Richmond Free Library in Richmond, VT, and they’ll be gearing most of their work through the end of the year around finishing and promoting the new record.
Catch them on the scene, on the road, or at the after-party, their music means to spice up the denouement of the hour.
“We went through a lot of different ideas,” Schrag explains about crafting the perfect moniker. “You go to this rodeo, it’s this big exciting crazy thing – but how do you wind down after this experience you’ve had? You listen to music to bring you back to earth, to settle you. There is this image I have of when you go to the rodeo, when you’re done, you don’t want to immediately go to sleep.”
Now, thanks to Vermont’s finest, no one has to anymore.