Scott Terry calls me from the road. The vocalist and songwriter of Red Wanting Blue is in route to Ohio for more gigs, after spending three weeks with his long-time girlfriend in Brooklyn – the most amount of time they’ve spent together since the start of their relationship. And now, he’s on the road again, battling blizzards, traffic and dingy roadside rest stops. The tone in his voice is laced with languish, as he’s called to the road again. Yet there’s also a wavering of fulfillment. He’s following the path he chose; a life of performing, a life of connecting with strangers, a life of seeing the country, a life of music.
“I have this insatiable need to write and perform songs,” says Terry. “I always wanted to be in a band; playing good music from the heart and to people who love it. There are a lot of things I didn’t sign up for and all of the obstacles can drive me mad, but there’s nothing else I’d rather be doing.”
Red Wanting Blue was formed by Terry while at school in Athens, Ohio in 1995. At the time, it was just Terry and his guitar, and a few chords he had spliced and strung together to make songs. “When you’re a kid with four songs, you do whatever you think is huge, and make it bigger.”
A calling was awoken inside of him. And in it, he derived a dream of life on the road, seeing the country with his best friends and relating to strangers through a force that can only be illuminated by the honesty in art.
In time, he found other collective minds to join him in his pursuit to lay the foundation for the proverbial train that would trek his dream.
Four songs bridged to EPs, EPs to records, and records to touring the Midwest and most of the country. By 2012, Red Wanting Blue had released nine full length albums and found thousands of devoted fans that bellow along with Terry at every show.
As the only original member, Terry admits to being the “guy holding the whip” to keep the band afloat. He’s also quick to attest that he was not the only driving force behind their success. Red Wanting Blue’s current lineup consists of Mark McCullough on vocals and bass, Greg Rahm playing guitar, Eric Hall with the lap steel, and Dean Anshutz on the drums.
“I certainly didn’t do it alone,” he proclaims. “I hate to say it’s luck, but we’ve been very lucky. There’s a certain amount of foolish optimism and dumb luck. To start a band and have the ball rolling – it’s very difficult. There’s obstacles at every corner. But we were always very driven to be heard. We tried very hard to let people know who we were.”
They’ve appeared on late night television, with one stint on the David Letterman’s show. Their album, From The Vanishing Point, debuted at number 10 on the Billboard Heatseekers Chart and their song, Audition, was featured in Abercrombie and Fitch stores. Any other band would garnish said moments with bottles of Christal. But Terry’s found tribulations in his triumphs. It’s kept him humble, though certainly not at bay. His eye isn’t set on being a judge on American Idol, but at reaching current and new fans.
“If all you have at the end of the day is money and late-night TV, then you’re living a hollow dream. Terry admonishes, “When you get someone that says, ‘I’ve never been changed by a song as much as I have by yours. You’ve played an integral part of my life, keeping me from falling, and I want to thank you.’ I can’t help but to feel how blessed we are to have that connection. It reminds me that we’re doing something right.”
We discuss other perks in his career: seeing The Grand Canyon, dinosaurs featured in PeeWee’s Big Adventure, and he continues to sit in traffic on 80 West. Small specks turn to big, wet plops; the brigrade of snow has arrived. It’ll be no fun getting through this and Terry can’t help but to reminisce of where RWB’s been through.
“I’ve hit every obstacle,” he boasts. “All I ever wanted to do was play music. I never wanted to be that guy on the phone discussing investments. I’ve had to become a marketer, a designer, things I never signed up for. No jobs perfect. It’s selfish and you have to make sacrifices. “
His fans revel in his honesty. It’s evident at every show. Terry continues to fill venues and hear his words and melodies recited to him. He ignites the audience and they’re just as eager after the show for a shake of hand. That’s where RWB’s success lies. Of course it certainly helps that he’s also able to support himself and his family.
2014 will bring more shows and even a new album. Terry gives hopeful signs of another musical venture fans will adore stating, “It comes from a genuine place. If it didn’t. It’d be bullshit.” They’ll continue to keep the music at the forefront, writing records that reflect their moments in time, and if they’re lucky, a few fans’ as well.
“We’re only on this planet for a little bit. Do what you love.”
Be sure to follow Red Wanting Blue on Facebook, and visit them online at www.redwantingblue.com.