In December 2017, Scott Terry and Eric Hall from Red Wanting Blue (RWB) embarked on a unique two-week tour with their close friends Tim Warren and Eric Donnelly from The Alternate Roots. This experimental journey took them to intimate venues, where they curated their performances on the go, exchanging songs and sharing anecdotes from their long-standing friendship and travels. The tour was aptly named “ARWB,” signifying the collaboration between the two bands. When they reached New York City’s Rockwood Music Hall, they captured the entire show on film, envisioning a future project for its release.
Fast forward to March 2020, when the world, including live music, came to a standstill due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Seizing the opportunity amidst the cabin fever, the ARWB crew decided to release the Rockwood show in segments over four consecutive nights on the RWB YouTube page. They believed it was an ideal moment to share the film with their fans and fulfill the craving for live music during the quarantine.
Watch Scott Terry and Eric Hall from Red Wanting Blue and Tim Warren and Eric Donnelly from The Alternate Routes perform Simon and Garfunkel’s seminal hit, “Homeward Bound,” live at Rockwood Music Hall on YouTube:
Another leap forward takes us to May 19, 2023, where ARWB reunited on stage at DC’s The Hamilton Live, this time with the complete lineups of Red Wanting Blue and The Alternate Routes. It marked the third stop on their four-night mini tour along the East Coast, including performances in Bridgeport, Philadelphia, and Natick, Mass. Even before the first note resonated through the venue, the crowd could sense that something extraordinary was about to transpire. The Hamilton stage, adorned with a homemade ARWB sign, was packed to capacity, hosting a 10-piece superband with two full drum kits.
Red Wanting Blue, originating in Athens, Ohio, in 1996, comprises Scott Terry on lead vocals, tenor guitar, and ukulele; Mark McCullough on bass, chapman stick, and vocals; Greg Rahm on guitar, keyboards, and vocals; Eric Hall on guitar, lap steel, and vocals; and Dean Anshutz on drums and percussion.
Listen to The Wanting by Red Wanting Blue on Spotify:
The Alternate Routes, formed in Bridgeport, Connecticut, in 2002, consists of Tim Warren on lead vocals, guitar, and keys; Eric Donnelly on guitar and backing vocals; Ian Tait on bass; Kurt Leon on drums; and Taryn Chory on vocals.
Listen to Nothing More by The Alternate Routes on Spotify:
The evening’s setlist featured 10 songs from The Alternate Routes and 15 songs from Red Wanting Blue. The five members of The Alternate Routes kicked off the night with “Gil,” “Nothing More,” and “Love Me For Nothing.” Subsequently, the members of RWB joined them on stage for “Sundress,” initiating a rotation of band members between each song for the rest of the evening.
For those unfamiliar with The Hamilton Live, it is set up like a supper club with multiple rows of tables encircling the semicircle stage. However, on this particular evening, the tables were unnecessary as almost all the fans chose to gather at the front and fill the standing area in front of the stage, eager to be as close to the action as possible. Before the performance, the emcee kindly requested everyone to silence their phones to ensure an uninterrupted listening experience for all guests. I chuckled audibly because, if you’ve ever been to an RWB show before, you know that hearing a phone ring above the passionate voices of dedicated fans singing along to every word would be a stroke of luck.
The joy and excitement on stage were palpable as well, as the two bands jammed together. The arrangements of several songs were tweaked to maximize the potential of multiple lead guitars and tandem drum kits. Throughout the evening, I couldn’t help but notice the infectious smiles on the faces of the two Erics as they skillfully played off each other’s guitar licks. Dean and Kurt showcased their talent with synchronized drumming, adding a touch of style and finesse to the performances. Meanwhile, Scott, the consummate frontman, effortlessly bounced between Tim and Taryn, accentuating their vocals.
The night was truly magical. With two bands jamming together on stage, it was clear that each lifted the performance of the other to a higher level. The sum was definitely greater than the parts.
The Alternate Routes:
02 Nothing More
03 Love Me For Nothing
05 Asked You Twice
07 Oh My My
08 Dream I Had
09 Somewhere In America
10 One Dance Left
Red Wanting Blue:
11 Love Remains
12 Younger Years
13 Where You Wanna Go
15 Spies And Lovers
16 I’ve Got A Feeling It Hurts
17 Hope On A Rope
18 My Name Is Death
19 Finger In The Air
20 Keep Love Alive
21 Twice As Hard
22 High And Dry
23 On And On We Whisper
24 Hitchhikers Lullaby
25 Carry Me Home
Enjoy more photos from Red Wanting Blue and The Alternate Roots together on stage at The Hamilton Live on May 19, 2023. All images are copyrighted and courtesy of Ari Strauss (IG: @aristraussphoto).