UNSOUND: J. RODDY WALSTON AND THE BUSINESS

I’m told that J. Roddy Walston and The Business’s infectious live show knocks most people on their asses. I say “I’m told” because I don’t know first hand. I missed their most recent NYC performance by about an hour. But I’ve got my reasons. Chalk it up to gay pride and thunderstorms.

I don’t live in NYC; I live on the Jersey side. So if I’m going anywhere in the city, a PATH train stands between myself and the alleged destination. Now on the day that J. Roddy Walston and The Business opened up for The Hold Steady in Brooklyn, I was on the PATH with enough time spared to get across town, over the bridge, into the venue and onto my ass courtesy of JRWATB. On the train, I realized that the inordinate number of leather-bound, gay pride flag waving men around me could only mean one thing: NYC’s annual Gay Pride Parade. “Great, I thought, getting across town is gonna be rough.” And I was right, but it was even tougher just getting out of the station. As myself and my fellow travelers ascended the stairway out of the PATH station, the leather-clad throngs stopped dead just short of the exit to the street. The heavens had opened, and no one was about to jump out into the rain. I checked my phone, still had time to make it if I hustled. About 13 or 14 “Excuse me, I’m sorrys” later, I was out, in the pouring rain. I didn’t let it stop me though. I pedaled towards Broadway, and bang, Gay Pride Parade, not about to let anyone cross its path. I waited again, in the open rain for about ten minutes, spotted an opening in the parade, and made a mad dash in front of an aging group of transsexuals. J. Roddy, here I come.

But alas, it was not meant to be. Following another torrential downpour and a long line to get into the venue, I missed JRWATB. All was not lost though. I could still let ‘Hail Megaboys,’ JRWATB’s first full-length album, do the job that the intended live show was supposed to do. But I should preempt this. I haven’t listened to fun music in a long time. It might have something to do with the current president unfortunately influencing most of the independent music scene, or it might simply be because we’re all too distracted by the distractions of the world to have fun. I don’t know. I’m not a cultural theorist. I just know that J. Roddy Walston and The Business kick started certain nerves in my body that made my brain ask itself, “Hey, is this OK to do?” And thankfully, my brain said, “Heck yeah!”

J. Roddy Walston and The Business call Baltimore, Maryland home. The band plays a brand of bar band rock that infuses everything from soul to folk to r&b to southern rock, then turns the volume up to 11, dances on the bar and tells you that your mother is fat but also hot. Equal parts Thin Lizzy, Little Richard and Queen with just a little bit of classic Rod Stewart on the side. Yeah, I know that’s a tall order, but it works in the sincerest of ways. J. Roddy croons with the best of them, lamenting over lost loves and the desire to cut loose, while the band delivers some of the catchiest hooks this side of John Cafferty and The Beaver Brown Band. My favorite way of describing the band is the following: let’s pretend that Wayne’s World is still up and running, only they’ve moved the studio from Aurora, Illinois to the Williamsburg area of Brooklyn. Staying true to their rock roots, Wayne and Garth decide to hire an in-house band, importing J. Roddy Walston and The Business up from Baltimore to level any naysayers in sight and deliver awesomeness wherever needed. “Party on J. Roddy and The Business,” says Wayne. And all is well in the night.

‘Hail Megaboys,’ J. Roddy and The Business’s first full-length album is now available through Souther Brethren Records, and the band is on a southeast tour that winds through August and into September. If you get a chance to check them out, do brave whatever stands in your way and breathe deep on the gospel of fun according to J. Roddy and The Business. Just be prepared to get knocked on your ass in the process.

To stream selections from J. Roddy and The Business, check out their MySpace page: http://www.myspace.com/jroddy

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