By Dan Williams
At Sun Records, they would mic the room from two locations, recording artists live and referring to the ambient results as “room sounds.” The Texas band named for this phenomenon brought their Elm St. tour through Wilmington Thursday night, playing to a modest crowd at World Café Live at the Queen.
Everything about The Roomsounds can be directed back to their forefathers. Ask frontman Ryan Michael about their fine new ballad, “Baby’s Got The Bluest Eyes,” and he points to Roy Orbison and The Beatles.
Describing the band’s sound, some have compared them to the Allman Brothers (“Lay Me Down”), but Michael references a more diverse pedigree including Tom Petty (“Letters”) and the British Invasion.
Minimal attendance at the show proved that they have yet to become known outside of their home base of Dallas. Just a handful of folks showed up. That would be a devastating blow to many, but being the professionals they are, they vowed to rock the roof off the place. And they did.
The prepared set list went flying out the window as the band knew they had the freedom to stretch out over ninety minutes any way they wished. They tossed just one cover into their otherwise all-original set, and they made it their own. T. Rex’s “20th Century Boy” sounded like yet another Roomsounds original.
In fact, that is exactly the beauty of their sound. Their songs are so well crafted, that each one feels comfortable, even familiar, but still original with its own style.
After leaving Wilmington, the group was heading north for their first ever gig in New York City, followed by a homecoming show in Connecticut, childhood home to three of the four members.
The Roomsounds recently received high praise from none other than Rodney Hall, the owner of the storied FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. Hearing their recordings, he invited them to the studio to record their newest album Elm St. One can only imagine the awe and pressure the band felt as they entered the room where legends walked before: Percy Sledge “When a Man Loves a Woman,” The Rolling Stones “Wild Horses,” Paul Simon “Loves Me Like a Rock” and Aretha Franklin’s Chain of Fools.”
This is a band doing it right. Hopefully the next time they’re in the area, they play to a packed house. The sort of “room sound” they deserve.