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New O.A.R. album shows you CAN go home again

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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For O.A.R., "The Rockville LP" is proof that you CAN go home again.

The 10-track set was heavily influenced by frontman Marc Roberge's decision to spend more time in Rockville, Md., where four of the five band members were raised and formed O.A.R. (Of A Revolution) before heading off to Ohio State University. And it's where they felt a particular pull when it was time to make the follow-up to 2011's "King."

"About a year and a half ago we started drawing out ideas for the songs, and I started going down to Maryland," says Roberge, 35. "I stayed at my parents' house, got in the car, drove the familiar roads, went to the old haunts...re-educated myself on the area, really.

"The idea was to try to spend a year immersed in who you are, where you come from and see what happened. My wife's from there, too, so we just continuously came home and spent tons of time there, and each trip I wound up writing a little bit more."

The exercise also came during a "turbulent" time for O.A.R., and the Roberge family in particular. While his wife battled cancer, the group was also in the midst of transition on its business side, including changing record companies. It led to a lot of hand-wringing but also inspired the album's first single, "Peace," which was also the first song written for the album.

"There were a lot of ups and downs and everyone had to man-up and refocus, and really all we wanted was peace," says Roberge, whose wife is now cancer-free. "It became part of our culture as a band, and it healed a lot of things. So we all wanted to write a song about it.

"And when we finished writing it me and Nathan (Chapman, co-producer) looked at each other and said, 'Damn, this represents the new start. Let's develop the rest of the album around this.' "

93.9 Riverfest featuring O.A.R., Philliip Phillips and LP

6:30 p.m. Sunday, June 22

Freedom Hill Amphitheatre, 14900 Metropolitan Parkway, Sterling Heights

Tickets are $25-$55 pavilion, $10 lawn.

Call (586) 268-5100 or visit www.freedomhill.net.

Web Site: www.freedomhill.net

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