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A few weeks back we profiled the life and times of the Hartford-hailing band Bronze Radio Return. They're one of those band's you've probably heard...even if you've never heard of them. Over the years, they've landed all the right synchs, and for good reason. The band's break out single "Shake Shake Shake" is as catchy as they come, and they've followed their breakout success with an equally infectious full-length titled, Light Me Up.

The band is lead by singer/songwriter/guitarist Chris Henderson and is comprised of a group of supremely talented musicians, all bringing different styles and influences to the table. When Bronze Radio Return took on the dreaded noon o'clock slot at The Baeble Bounce House earlier this spring, they did so with an army of diehards already knocking back hair-of-the-dog libations to get their SX Friday started. The band held nothing back, colliding crunchy guitars and soul-powered keys with fits of banjo and harmonica. The result is a performance that navigates a mix of rock, folk, and pop, offering up the kind of undeniable earworms that will follow you around for the next week.

Transcript

Meet me by the river when the sun's going down
Make a little fire pass a bottle 'round
Ain't no path, so follow all the sounds
Oh I'll see you down there
You could tell two friends and they could tell five
We'll all be here when Jack and Jim arrive
And It'll be just us and the trees, and a little fresh air yeah
And when the whiskey's all gone and the night grows old
And there's no more sense in the stories told
We can laugh down the path with smoke in our clothes
And find a little peace down there
So maybe I'll see you down there We all get together for a while
So maybe I'll see you down there Everyone together for a while
Oh, I'll see you there Oh, I'll see you there
Meet me in the city where the street's run down
Gather up a crowd in an empty town
Where the people speed up and the time slows down
Oh, I'll see you down there
Sally poured a drink, the glass is raised high
We wrote it on the wall in a crooked line
The same song plays, we heard so many times
And now we'll hear it down there
So maybe I'll see you down there We all get together for a while
So maybe I'll see you down there Everyone together for a while
Oh, I'll see you there Oh, I'll see you there oh yeah
Whoa, oh, oh whoa, oh Whoa, oh, oh, whoa, oh
Whoa, oh, oh, whoa, oh Whoa, oh, oh, whoa oh
So, maybe I'll see you down there We all get together for a while
So, maybe I'll see you down there Everyone together for a while
Oh, I'll see you there Oh, I'll see you there whoa aye
Honey I've gone all out and I've been broken in
And when it pours on me I can soak it all in
I'm alive And my blood is pumping like a gas line
Got an edge I'm holding Got an edge I'm holding
I got a rugged heart I got a body made of blades
I'm gonna keep 'em sharp Like a pocket knife
Oh, gotta dig in hard Gotta handle every day
Yeah, I'm gonna keep 'em sharp Like a pocket knife yah
It's not about how it breaks It's how you're fixing it
You gotta be all in one For the life we're living in
I'm alive, and I've been cutting teeth for a long time
I got an edge I'm holding I got an edge I'm holding
I got a rugged heart I got a body made of blades
I'm gonna keep 'em sharp Like a pocket knife
Oh, gotta dig in hard Gotta handle every day
I'm gonna keep 'em sharp Like a pocket knife
Honey I'm all bruised up from the places I've been
From the time I fell From all the struggling
If you wanna make a point Then you gotta have an edge
If you wanna make a point Then you gotta have an edge
Like a pocket, a pocket, a pocket knife Like a pocket, a pocket, a pocket knife
I got a rugged heart I got a body made of blades
I'm gonna keep 'em sharp Like a pocket knife
Oh, gotta dig in hard Gotta handle every day
I'm gonna keep 'em sharp Like a pocket knife
I got a rugged heart I got a body made of blades
I'm gonna keep 'em sharp Like a pocket knife
Oh, gotta dig in hard Gotta handle every day
I'm gonna keep 'em sharp Like a pocket knife
- Thank you.
Smoke in the sky and fire in the air Desire burns between them
And one big push is gonna get you there Takes a stronger eye to see them
If you see it in front of you In a silhouette up ahead
And you see where you're going to
Lead your way, sing your song Moving every day, movin' further on
Lead your way, keep goin' strong Moving every day, goin' further on
Break of day 'til the sun goes down, you work the time between them
A far off land to your own hometown You've been all around to see them
When it's standing in front of you And you take it and you pull it in
And you see where you're going to
Lead your way, sing your song Moving every day, movin' further on
Lead your way, keep goin' strong Moving every day, goin' further on
All right!
Lead your way, sing your song Moving every day, movin' further on
Lead your way, keep goin' strong Moving every day, goin'
Hey now!
- Thank you so much.
Craig Struball, everybody...harmonica and banjo man. I don't really know you But I hope we can relate
Woah, woah, woah
I like to be excited I like to celebrate
Woah, oh, woah, oh, woah oh, oh Woah, oh, woah, oh
I'm asking you if you're feeling good It's all I need to know
'Cause you light me up. Oh, you light me up
When you're good to go
And when you feeling right I'm electrified
'Cause you light me up
Oh, you light me up. So tell me how ya feeling tonight
Tell me how ya feeling tonight
All right!
So tell me, tell me, tell me...how you're feeling tonight
I like the sound of laughter I like when your ass shakes
Woah, oh, woah, oh, woah, oh, oh
Here we are together Tonight I'm wide awake
Woah, oh, woah, oh, woah, oh, oh
If you're feeling good Is all I need to know
'Cause you light me up. Oh, you light me up
When you're good to go
And when you feel right I'm electrified
'Cause you light me up. Oh, you light me up
So tell me how ya feeling tonight Tell me how ya feeling tonight
I'm a looking for, looking for some I'm a looking for a little action
I'm a looking for, looking for some I'm a looking for a little passion
I'm a looking for a feel-good person
All right.
So tell me, tell me, tell me how you're feeling tonight
I'm a looking for a little action I'm a looking for a little action
So tell me, tell me, tell me how you're feeling tonight
So, if you're, if you're feeling good Is all I need to know
'Cause you light me up. Oh, you light me up
When you're good to go
And when you feel right I'm electrified
'Cause you light me up. Oh, you light me up
So tell me how ya feeling tonight Tell me how ya feeling tonight
Tell me how ya feeling tonight Tell me how ya feeling tonight
- Thank you so much.
- You feeling good today everybody? Something about the mood feels like 8:30 in the morning, You might be sleeping when he calls
You might be dreamin' that you're in control
No, no, no, no
He's only keeping you around 'cause You keep on, you keep on
Giving him a hand to hold
Say ow, say ow
Why eat the bitter ones when you got something sweet?
Say ow, say ow
You need a better one not one to settle on
Just know that you got me
He only calls ya when he needs ya
'Cause when he needs ya is only, only, only, only temporary
I'm gonna call ya 'cause I need ya Because I need to
You'll know I'll be, be, be there in the morning light
To see you in the morning light
Have it any way you want You could be steady or be strung along
No, no, no, no
I'll get you bumping like a kick drum
He's like a record that keeps skipping on the same song
Say ow, say ow
Why eat the bitter ones when you got something sweet?
Say ow, say ow
You need a better one One for the longer run
Just know that you've got me
He only calls ya when he needs ya
'Cause when he needs ya is only, only, only, only temporary
I'm gonna call ya 'cause I need ya Because I need to
You'll know I'll be, be, be there in the morning light
To see you in the morning light To see you in the morning light
You, oo, oo You, oo, oo
Ah You, oo, oo
Ah You, oo, oo
It's only, only, only, only temporary
Ah, it's only, only temporary You, oo, oo
Ah, it's only, only temporary Ah, it's only, only temporary
You, oo, oo Ahhh
He only calls ya when he needs ya 'Cause when he needs ya is
Only, only, only, only temporary
I'm gonna call ya 'cause I need ya Because I need to
You'll know I'll be, be, be there in the morning light
He only calls ya when he needs ya 'Cause when he needs ya is
Only, only, only, only temporary
I'm gonna call ya 'cause I need ya Because I need to
You'll know I'll be, be, be there in the morning light
- Thank you so much.
Hey, thank you so much for hanging out with us today.
Thank you so much, Baeble, for having us here.
We're going to do one more tune, and we're going to keep moving.
So enjoy the day everybody.
Thanks for hanging.
The name of our band is Bronze Radio Return.
Having a great time.
Hope everybody is having a great time so far.
Line the room
You find a drink and drain the glass as fast as you can think to
The cheap perfume.
Well, in a room of people watching it intoxicates you
They start to play Then they start to play
Shakes the floor It stings your ears
But this is what we trade our hearing for
The crowd stands still
No one's moving, they'd just rather stand and wait until
Someone starts to move Someone starts to move
Shake, shake, shake It's all what you make of it. Take what you will.
You know, know, know your only mistake Is if you stand still
So shake, shake, shake
It's all what you make of it Break it until
You know, know, know your only mistake Is if you stand still
It's only up to you It's only up to you
Forget yourself
This room is hot, but we can make it hotter with your help
I'll dance with you.
We'll dance together until everybody's moving too
When everybody moves When everybody moves
Shake, shake, shake It's all what you make of it
Take what you will
You know, know, know your only mistake is if you stand still
So shake, shake, shake
It's all what you make of it, break it until
You know, know, know your only mistake is if you stand still
All right, talk about it
It's only up to you It's only up to you
It's only up to you It's only up to you
- All right everybody! Shake, shake, shake
It''s all what you make of it, take what you will
You know, know, know your only mistake Is if you stand still
Shake, shake, shake
It's all what you make of it, break it until
You know, know, know your only mistake is if you stand still
It's only up to you It's only up to you
- Thank you so much everybody.

Artist Bio

There are some records that manage to span multiple eras of time and various places, in essence creating a new sonic space. New Englanders Bronze Radio Return have done just that on their sophomore album, the gorgeous and varied SHAKE! SHAKE! SHAKE!. Contained within the space between notes and breaths are thousands of miles, and decades of history.

The roots of this travelogue-time capsule -- and the band that made it -- can be traced back to lead singer and guitarist Chris Henderson's childhood. Spending hours on end in his father's art studio, one of Henderson's clearest, dearest memories is the large bronze radio, and the joyful noises he learned of there. "When the band started, we were looking for our direction, to see what this was going to be," explains Henderson. "We came back to this idea of the return of the bronze radio, a return to some of those older, familiar sounds that all of us inherently grew up with." The result is a forward-thinking retrospective of the sounds we all love, curated and created by Henderson, Rob Griffith (drums/vocals), Bob Tanen (bass/vocals), Matt Warner (keys, vocals), Craig Struble (harmonica/guitar), and Patrick Fetkowitz (guitar).

To write this record, Bronze Radio Return credits a few productive weeks of bouncing between the self-imposed exile of a remote Maine town, and the frenetic energy of their Hartford, Connecticut homebase. Those polarities informed much of the content of the record, from the examination of interpersonal relationships, to an individual's interaction with the culture around them. "This album was a lot about working on what kind of process works best for us. When I write, I often write a melody and work on a progression in the form of a tune, which comes much more naturally when I'm doing my things here in Hartford. When it's time to write lyrics, which take the most focus, I found that it was most effective to work in Maine," says Henderson.

With an arsenal of song sketches in hand, Bronze Radio Return set to work to flesh out each of these songs. "Each member of BRR has a solid understanding of their instrument, and the role the instrument plays in the group," stresses Henderson. "Everyone contributes ideas." Formed in 2008, Bronze Radio Return's line-up took a few years to solidify, though most of the band's members were orbiting each other for years at the Hartt School, one of the country's best schools of music, located in Hartford, Connecticut. For debut Old Time Speaker, the band relocated to Nashville for a two-week period, to, as Henderson puts it "a place we'd never been with a producer we'd never met, and played a bunch of songs we'd never played before." For such an inauspicious set of circumstances, the band managed a solid and well-received debut, and forged a lasting bond with producer Chad Copelin. Old Time Speaker established the band's relentless touring schedule, including an invitation to represent the Connecticut music scene by performing for President Obama at an event in Bridgeport, CT in 2010. Fan favorites "Digital Love" and "Lo-Fi" have been picked up for advertising and television licensing and the album landed on CMJ's Top 200 Album Chart.

For SHAKE! SHAKE! SHAKE!, the band reunited with Copelin on his home turf in Norman, Oklahoma, a location Henderson credits with having a profound effect on the album. There, the band learned firsthand the truism of the Mid-Western friendliness. Local acquaintances would stop in daily with a kind word and a new instrument to lend. "Most of the instruments played on this record were lent to us from the community," says Henderson.

Indeed, the warmth of their environs makes its way onto the album. Lush harmonies are steeped in soulful vocals, and guitars that alternate between the blues age and the most interesting innovations of the modern. Album opener "Down There" has all the warmth and wisdom of a barroom sing-along, a slightly sepia-sounding portrait of the importance of good people. "Sell It To You" is a self-aware look at the culture of consumerism, which Henderson acknowledges as ironic. "Whether you're watching a movie that has product placement, or driving down a street and see 11 million billboards for something -- everybody's trying to sell something to you. And, so are we -- we're trying to sell our album to you. [This song is about] internalizing what all that means." The title track, "SHAKE! SHAKE! SHAKE!" builds from subtle handclaps and foot-stomps, and as crackling guitar lines spread out, Henderson illuminates the performer's perspective. "There's always this moment near the beginning of a set where everybody is standing around. It just takes one outgoing dude, or a tipsy couple, and they just start moving. You can see two or three more people going, and then as the set progresses, more and more people start to move."

The album's namesake is telling, as there's a transmission contained therein, as well as the mission of the band that's translated across time and space: "We like making music that makes people move."

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Bronze Radio Return

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