Ever since Alan Freed ruled the radio during the early ‘50s, Cleveland has been the home of rock & roll. Half a century later, a new group of rock & rollers are carrying the city’s torch, brewing up their own sound influenced by reggae, blues, folk and alt rock. Ladies and gentleman, meet the Burning River Ramblers.
A Midwest band with a global sound, the Burning River Ramblers are currently representing Cleveland in “Hard Rock Rising: Global Battle of the Bands,” a worldwide competition sponsored by Hard Rock Cafe. Over 12,000 bands entered the contest, including 100 groups from Cleveland alone. After winning the local round, Burning River Ramblers are now one of 96 acts vying for the title. A panel of judges and a public voting process will help determine the winner, whose grand prize includes a record deal, a world tour and an opening slot for a top-tier band in London.
“Getting this far in the competition tells us that we’re doing something right,” says vocalist Conor Standish, who co-founded the band with bass player Chris Rush. Standish isn’t the only one who thinks BRR is on the right track. The Rock ‘N Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland’s Hard Rock Cafe, 87.7 Cleveland’s Sound and the Cleveland Clinic have all thrown their support to the band, whose lineup also includes drummer Jesse Catania, guitarist Zach Catania and keyboardist Dave Young.
“Another Cleveland-based band, Hey Monea!, actually won the whole thing last year,” Standish points out, “so we are trying to keep the Hard Rock Rising title in Cleveland, seeing as how it is the home of rock & roll!”
The voting process runs from April 22nd to May 1st. To vote, fans have to visit www.facebook/com/hardrockcafecleveland, “like” their page, and vote for BRR by downloading the band’s single, “Don’t Wait On Me.” Each download counts as one vote.
In the meantime, the Burning River Ramblers will continue putting the finishing touches on their second album, a collaborative effort co-produced by the band’s own keyboardist. Although more rock-oriented than their debut, the band’s sophomore record will still bear their trademark mishmash of styles, including rock, jazz, funk, folk and hip-hop.
For more information, please visit www.brramblers.com
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