A chat with The Trongone Band on their new album ahead of double set at Rooster Walk this weekend

by | May 26, 2017 | ROCK & INDIE

Take some good ol’ fashioned rock and roll and mix it with a little country/Americana and you have RVA’s The Trongone Band. The group, which began as a family affair years ago, has been entertaining crowds ever since with their feel-good, no frills, energetic shows and next month, the band will drop their debut album.

On a recent afternoon, I sat at Mekong with Andrew Trongone (guitar/vocals) and his brother Johnny (drums/vocals) to hear about their beginnings, new album and forthcoming tour. All this after I was done secretly admiring/envying their luxurious hair of course. Actually, the whole band’s hair could be its own poetic post entirely. But I digress.

Keys To The House will be the first official release for the boys set to drop June 30 via Harmonized Records.

The Trongone Band has released a little teaser to the nine-track album with the song “Anne Marie,” a solid rock tune with a little country twang to it about the girl who got away.

“It’s the most countryish song on the album,” Johnny said.

And like any good song there’s a little truth behind the lyrics, for Andrew at least.

“That was one of the first songs I wrote a couple of years ago, {it} definitely morphed into that style,” Andrew said. “When I wrote it, it was on acoustic and halftime and more like a ballad-y song and then we were figuring out what we were going to do for the album and we decided to go with the in your face, upbeat kind of thing.”

But fans need not worry it’s not all country on Keys To The House, the brothers said they put a lot of work into the sound of the album.

“The album definitely pulls from a handful of different genres,” Andrew said. “Definitely rock and roll, some funk, some country, some Americana, the southern rock thing…”

The Trongone Band started working on the album back in October and sought out the help of Adrian Olsen and Alex Spalding of Montrose Studios in Richmond to record the album.

“Adrian and Alex are killer to work with,” Andrew said. “We did all the tracking for the songs all in the same room, we recorded rhythm guitar, the Wurlitzer, drums and bass all together in four days. We knocked it out pretty quick.”

Some of the songs they’ve played at their live shows, but there’s also some new tracks for avid fans and newcowers alike to look forward to.

“I really love how “Not Coming Home” came out, it’s one of our duo songs,” Andrew said. “Me and the keyboard player both sing lead and trade off verses, I just like how that one came out.”

The lineup has changed quite a bit over the years for the band, which was started by the brothers’ father John Sr.

“He played guitar for years and I’d always watch him growing up so that’s how I got into it,” Andrew said. “He had a band or two just for fun around the neighborhood, but he’d basically blast albums in his music room and play along.”

The jam-heavy trio played around town regularly before switching up to a guitar-driven six-piece about four years ago by adding keyboardist Ben “Wolfe” White, Mark Ingraham on trumpet and Matt Zavitz on saxophone.

“We started playing Cary St. Café every Thursday from 2012 to 2014 so it got us going in Richmond,” Andrew said.

About two years ago, they brought on Todd Herrington, replacing their father on bass, and solidifying their lineup as a four-piece.

“We were starting to tour a lot and he’s almost 60, it was just a mutual thing,” he said.

To spread the word on their debut release, The Trongone Band has already hit the road this month and will head up and down the east coast and they plan to continue to do that for a bit.

“We’ll keep adding dates, a perpetual tour supporting the album,” Johnny said. “A lot of stuff right now is in the south, Florida, Georgia and then some stuff in New York too.”

The album release party for Keys to The House is Friday June 23 at The Broadberry, but you can catch the band at Rooster Walk Music & Arts Festival this Saturday and Sunday in Martinsville, Va.

Photo credit: Joey Wharton Photography

Amy David

Amy David

Amy David was the Web Editor for RVAMag.com from May 2015 until September 2018. She covered craft beer, food, music, art and more. She's been a journalist since 2010 and attended Radford University. She enjoys dogs, beer, tacos, and Bob's Burgers references.

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