The Bottlerockets, they’re not your regular country band. After bursting onto the scene in the ‘90s, their twangy country sound fused itself to high voltage punk, something unique and novel for the time. But this piece isn’t about the Bottlerockets, it’s about the band Red Means Run. Like the Bottlerockets, they take their name from a lyric put on sheet by Neil Young. Their sound, in that same fitting as the Bottlerockets, rings together a faster tempo atop a wholesome country beat.
Red Means Run showcases hints of ‘90s alternative wrapped in tidy country songs. These local boys from throughout the Philadelphia region recorded their second album, Love of Blindness (2016), at the Milkboy Studios. Band members Ryan Wells and Craig Newschaffer drive the creative churn.
Love of Blindness eases the listener into a fiction story five songs in the making. With lyrics harking occasional bouts of questions we all ask ourselves, Wells dictates “I’ve got a picture in a broken glass frame of people who don’t remember my name.” Such words paint the tone of Between the Lines, a colloquial blend of late release ‘90s Nixons set to a country beat.
Whiskey and Roses, squarely places the listener into the roots and weeds of the album. “With Whiskey and Roses on the floor, the picture face down on the floor,” rolls the ball of driven-to-drink country melancholy.
As you listen to Love of Blindness, you get the sense that these guys, a five piece in all, really enjoy their craft. The sound is surprisingly lively with lyrics you can sing, and sounds you can predict and appreciate. Wells, vocalist and guitarist, joined up with Newschaffer, bassist, in 2012. The band quickly made key additions of Denis Golden at drums and Jim McKay at guitar by way of Newschaffer. While their organic sound derives from all the members inputting their twist on bringing tunes to the table, Wells adds the additional creative stroke
In the song, Love of Blindness, Red Means Run performs arguably their most Bottlerocket sound. Complete with catchy rifts and rock beat highlighted by twang. It’s a foot tapper caught in “reality.”
Red Means Run closes out their latest album with Headlights, an appropriate hearty end to an album showcasing some surprising emotional drives. In Headlights, Wells and McKay extend out the pleasant whines of individual guitar notes to sprinkle closure.