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J. Roddy Walston and the Business at Saint Andrews Hall, 3 Things To Know

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

» See more SOUND CHECK

J. Roddy Walston and the Business have reached the 15-year mark of its career -- and have plenty to show for it.

The rootsy rock quartet from Richmond, Va. has released four studio albums, including the upcoming “Destroyers Of The Soft Life” (Sept. 29), and has established its reputation as a hard-hitting live act from clubs to festivals...

• Walston and company recorded “Destroyers...” in the group’s own recently built studio in Richmond, which made for a more relaxed process. “We got to set up in our own work space and instead of pressure to get a decent take as fast as you can, you can focus on just getting great takes and giving yourself permission to be weird and try different things,” Walston, 36, says by phone from Richmond. “I always feel like we take it way out of left field and then say, ‘Well, actually we need to dial it back,’ but you’re still kind of taking it further out than the middle even when you dial it back. It gives everything a little extra weird juju or something. The were no limits or fear in the studio ‘cause we had all the time in the world since the place was our own.”

• Influenced by an array of new albums, Walston says that on “Destroyers” his band “definitely had a desire to hit a new place with our music. But it wasn’t like we got together one day and said, ‘If our guiding lights before were these bands and now that’s gone and we have these bands...’ We all knew we wanted and needed to so something fresh. The hard part was we didn’t know what it was. That’s frustrating when you’re creating collaboratively and someone doesn’t know what they want but knows what they don’t want. It took a few rounds of writing and building songs up from scratch and saying ‘I like this but this is not quite the direction I want to go in’ before we figured it out.”

• Part of the solution, Walston adds, was to “approach being in the studio as a studio band” rather than simply trying to recreate the group’s live show. “There was a moment when I said, ‘We can’t be guys that are pretending like technology doesn’t exist, “Walston says. “Most of our demos were done on iPhones and we all have computers, but when it comes time to record a record we get four guys in a room and pretend it’s 1965. We threw that mentality out in the recording of this record. I got my head around the idea of messing with songs in a way that brings an energy and fullness and bigness to our record that, in a strange way, brought more of the energy of our live show into it. It really has that feel more than the other albums when we tried to record it like we were just performing a live show.”

If You Go

• J. Roddy Walston and the Business, Sleepwalkers and Fifth & Main

• Sunday, Sept. 10. Doors open at 7 p.m.

• Saint Andrews Hall, 431 E. Congress St., Detroit.

• Tickets are $23.

• Call 313-833-6358 or visit saintandrewsdetroit.com.

Web Site: www.saintandrewsdetroit.com

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