WAKEFIELD — The Brooklyn-based Americana Rhythm & Blues band once called a "perpetual crowd pleaser" by the New York Times returns to the region this weekend.
Roosevelt Dime, a band which was born at Ohio's Oberlin College, grew up on the streets and in the subways of New York and counts Ray Charles, The Band, and John Hartford as primary influences, will perform at Pump House Music Works, 1464 Kingstown Road, on Friday, at 7:30 p.m.
Roosevelt Dime, who have offered fans “new deals” over the years when they’ve played at Lily Pads in Peace Dale and at the Rhythm & Roots concerts in Ninigret Park, again want fans to know that if they buy tickets for the show in advance, they’ll receive a download code for their full online music catalog.
Critics have said that the band has “seamlessly combined the feel-good groove of classic rhythm and blues with acoustic Americana instrumentation,” and “crafted an infectious style and sound” that is truly their own.
Andrew Green, who plays five-string banjo for the group and does backup vocals, attended Oberlin with lead singer Eben Pariser, who "fronts the band with searingly soulful vocals, belted and whispered with a passion and panache straight from the juke joints," said the band began casually when the two college pals got together to jam and have fun.
"We cut our teeth playing in folk and blues bands amidst one of the finest music conservatories in the country," Green told the Sun in an interview last year.
When they moved to New York and connected with Tony Montalbano and his drums and Craig Akin and his syncopated upright bass, things started happening.
When the group began playing on the streets of New York, people not only stopped to listen, they stayed ... and sometimes they danced.
People of all ages, persuasions, creeds, and colors came together to shake their hips at the impromptu performances that were equal parts old-time jug band and Dixieland second line, Green said.
When they noticed that seemingly "jaded New Yorkers" would not only stop and listen, but would kick up their heels, they became even more inspired.
"We had a sense of immediate connection with the audience," said Green who serves as publicity manager for the group.
The diversity in the crowds was an essential element in the formation of the band's style and outlook, Green added.
"The undeniable positivity, crowdsourced spontaneity, and literal grassroots community-building at the revelries" stuck with them as they took their joyous beat from the city's parks and subways to seek that same heartfelt connection with audiences worldwide, Green added.
"Roosevelt Dime seek to not merely combine aspects of different genres, but to challenge the notion of these differences at their core," said Green. From their earliest days, the group has been an Americana band in the truest sense, he said. Rather than dwell on the divisions between the elements that make up the genre, they "harmoniously merge the shared and varied musical traditions into a unique sound that's both timely and timeless."
As for their name, it was chosen unanimously after a 14-hour car drive from Nashville to New York.
The musicians had been playing without a formal name but realized, as the time grew closer to make their first recording, they'd have to come up with one. When Tom Waits' "Clap Hands" came on the radio at hour 12 of their journey, their decision was made.
"Shine shine a Roosevelt dime All the way to Baltimore And running out of time," Their forthcoming EP is a further reflection "on our diverse American heritage through critical optimism that honors our very real struggles and the joy necessary to overcome," he said.
The pedal steel infused alt-country of their debut album "Crooked Roots" (2009) was called "modern acoustic American roots music at its best" by Folkworld.
The horn laden romps of "Steamboat Soul" (2011) and "Full Head of Steam" (2014), which peaked at number six on the national folk charts, were called "a full charged lesson on how to unearth some vital roots" by The Bluegrass Situation.
The New Deal offer can be found at rooseveltdimemusic.com/ come-to-a-show-get-our-albums-free.
Fans are invited to see a live video of Roosevelt Dime's upcoming single "Red Shoes" and hear their recently released cover of Tom Petty's "American Girl" at rooseveltdimemusic.bandcamp.com.
Tickets are $15 and can be ordered by calling 401-824-9971 or at brownpapertickets.com. For more information, visit pumphousemusicworks.com.
— Nancy Burns-Fusaro