Paper Route at Sunset Cove Ampitheater
In the review race–whether artists, movies, albums, or books– we sometimes forget the art produced is attached to people. Humans. Humans who toil for their art’s production; people who pour themselves into a process that is ultimately intended for our enjoyment. It’s a sobering fact; or at least it was for me, when Paper Route took some time to summarize what’s happened in the last three years. For what it’s worth, their candor, their humanity, and their talent has earned them a lifetime fan in me and the world of music should never experience their loss. On that soapbox of a note, let’s get on with the deets of their latest album and what’s coming up next for them.
Since Absence in 2009, the guys (J.T, Chad, and Gavin) lost a member. With that significant change, they asked themselves some tough questions (the question that quietly caused a “say it ain’t so” in me). They had an opportunity, which many young bands don’t get, to review their sound and mull over whether or not they had anything to offer the world of music (what?!). The mulling over eventually yielded a yes (woohoo!) and they tweaked their process a bit. With a whole new lease on life, so to speak, they played to their strengths and Gavin’s beats (now with more of a hip-hop focus) got louder, J.T’s vocal got louder, and Chad introduced his vocals. J.T shared they’d always been melody driven and they noticed the bands their fans associated them with, were more lyric based. This resulted in a more lyric based songwriting formula. J.T felt encouraged to really write honest lyrics that, in the past, he might’ve found were hard to admit.
With a new formula and new confidence, the whole head space of the road changed. It’s now more family friendly; there are more wives and girlfriends on the road (sorry, ladies!) and the trio has come out with a fight.
Although all the songs on The Peace of Wild Things are pretty fantastic, Calm My Soul is, by far, my favorite song on the album–one that stops me in my tracks, with chills and all the good stuff. It made me think of the candor of Be Healed and I wondered if there was a connection. One could assume that J.T is having a come-to-Jesus moment about his divorce, but I wanted to be certain of what fueled this practically divine song. It apparently existed before Absence and was supposed to be on Absence, but was never finished. It existed in just the lyric “calm my soul.” A TV show ended up using what they had, the “calm my soul” lyric, and the band had a strong reaction online from fans. Within a day they had the whole song mapped out, recorded. What made the song finishable and deliverable? J.T shares, “We were all in a spot in our lives where we needed the song to work more than ever, and I think that’s why we needed it to close out the album. It happened naturally because it meant a lot to us at that point in the recording process, and in our lives. Every small personal battle was going on; it was the right time to have that song.”
When the band wraps up their tour with Imagine Dragons and X Ambassadors, they’re looking forward to headlining, especially at Schubas in Chicago, because it’s their first U.S. headliner!! I definitely can’t blame them. Schubas is definitely one of those magical venues with the BEST mac & cheese up front coexisting with fantastic music in the back. Paper Route loves being able to play intimate venues like Schubas because they get to look everyone in the eye and those nights are special for them. If you want a place to fall in love with Gavin kicking Love Letters’ ass on drums, or J.T’s infectious tone in Better Life, Schubas is definitely one of those places. Aaaaand their headline tour tickets are $12 friggin dollars! No excuse!
See, people? Humans.