Photo by Ryan Mastro

By William Fuller

I vividly recall sitting at a Dallas Stars hockey game last fall and detecting a familiar riff as it slowly emerged over the PA system at the cavernous American Airlines Arena. The blasting anthem was “Heavy Bells,” the lead track from one of my favorite albums of 2013, J. Roddy Walston and the Business’ Essential Tremors. The entire album is great from start to finish, but I’m fine to admit that oftentimes the “lead track” on any given album can be overplayed at times. Thus, I frequently find myself delving deeper into the record or band discography to unearth the gems that speak the most to me artistically. Well on the same album, Essential Tremors, the longhaired frontman Walston pens on “Same Days”: “Gentle licks weigh heavy on my heart.” It’s important to note here that “gentle” would probably be far down on the list of adjectives I would use to describe the band, especially the live act (Rock n Roll \m/ ).

With that being said, the outfit appears eager to be seen as much more than another blip on the Southern rock spectrum (The band’s roots are in Tennessee, but you would likely have to fight a pack of Baltimoreans if looking to lay claim to them). With three full length albums released since 2007, J. Roddy Walston and the Business is by no means an up and coming act; they have been firmly entrenched on festival lineups from Austin to Gulf Shores and other points far and wide, amassing a blended swarm of fans along the way. The quartet’s sound has been known to evoke clenched fist head banging and melodic swaying all within one set, mostly due to J. Roddy’s wide range of vocals. The band does carry some ideas of the great 60s & 70s rock era, but in no way is this some half-hearted attempt at replication. The group delivers powerful song-writing, a rock n roll attitude, an appreciation for song-structure, their own identity, tasteful influences of the greats, and moreover they write music that genuinely moves the soul.

While Essential Tremors garnered a lot of attention for the band, my favorite album start to finish is the self-titled 2010 release. The band’s talents and passion are on full display on this one, and they maintain a pulse pounding rhythm from start to finish, which immediately set the hook for this listener. It has remained in my regular rotation since the first listen. Some tracks of note on J. Roddy Walston and The Business include “Full Growing Man,” “Pigs and Pearls,” and “Brave Man’s Death.”

Roddy Walston and the Business’ summer tour is underway now, which includes a handful of August dates with Live Music Daily favorites, Umphrey’s McGee. If you’re an Atlanta resident or just happen to find yourself in the area this weekend, make plans to stop by the Candler Park Music and Food Festival (May 29-30), where J. Roddy Walston and the Business will be performing at 5:45 pm on Saturday. This is an act you will not want to miss, as their profile is sure to expand in the months and years ahead.

Upcoming Tour Dates

MAY282015 Ziggy’s by the Sea

Wilmington, NC 

MAY292015 The Jinx

Savannah, GA 

JUN62015 Brooklyn Bowl

Brooklyn, NY 

JUN62015 Randalls Island Park

New York, NY 

JUN122015 The Grey Eagle

Asheville, NC 

JUN142015 Cox Capitol Theatre

Macon, GA 

JUN172015 Duling Hall

Jackson, MS 

JUN192015 Opolis

Norman, OK 

JUN202015 Boulevardia

Kansas City, MO 

JUN232015 Musica

Fairlawn, OH 

JUN262015 Town Ballroom

Buffalo, NY 

JUN272015 The Club at Water Street Music Hall

Rochester, NY 

JUN282015 Lee’s Palace

Toronto, ON 

JUN302015 Summerfest

Milwaukee, WI 

AUG82015 White River Lawn

Indianapolis, IN 

w/ Umphrey’s McGee

AUG132015 Iroquois Amphitheater

Louisville, KY 

w/ Umphrey’s McGee

AUG202015 The Fillmore

Charlotte, NC 

w/ Umphrey’s McGee

AUG212015 House of Blues

Lake Buena Vista, FL 

w/ Umphrey’s McGee

AUG222015 The Fillmore Miami Beach At Jackie Gleason Theater

Miami Beach, FL 

w/ Umphrey’s McGee

AUG232015 Jannus Live

Saint Petersburg, FL 

w/ Umphrey’s McGee

AUG292015 Moontower Music Festival

Lexington, KY 


Written by Live Music Daily

I like to rock and roll.

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