There’s a reason legions of young rock fans fall in love with their parents’ records. It’s the same reason so many radio stations still play classic rock: Great music never gets old. And it’s what prompted singer and guitarist Ryan Michael to reinvent his sound, leaving behind his teenage past in a Warped Tour band signed to a Warner Bros. subsidiary and relocating from Connecticut to Texas.
“We wanted to immerse ourselves in the South,” explains Michael. “To be around the best blues and country players. It all just seemed so much more authentic than the shit going on around me.”
The entire band embraced those influences — Beatles, Stones, Petty, Big Star, Faces and Oasis to new a few. Along with guitarist/vocalist Sam Janik, bassist/vocalist Red Coker and drummer Dan Malone, The Roomsounds make their own sound, initially from a run down industrial space with no heating, cooling or plumbing. They’re now living in a proper house in East Dallas, but not much else has changed. There’s always someone over– beautiful women, musicians and what the band calls ‘permanent guests,” all decked out with long hair and bell-bottoms. They’ve created their own Exile in Dallas and the music shows it.
The Dallas Observer thought the band’s 2012 self-titled debut album was “consistent with their Keith Richards and Tom Petty worship, an unpretentious album of purist rock ‘n’ roll riffs.” Rodney Hall, owner of FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, heard the band through a friend and dug their sound so much he invited the band to FAME Studios to record their sophomore album, “Elm St.”
“It really inspired us to bring our A game,” admits Ryan. “Even in the control room, you see Duane Allman outtakes on tape and it’s really hitting home. ‘OK, some really great people came out of here.’ I think it really inspired us to be the best we could be.” And like their heroes, The Roomsounds craft songs durable enough to become tomorrow’s classics.
“Musically we think of ourselves as a modern day Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers,” continues Michael. “We admire the way everyone in the band plays for the song. I’m lucky to have a band that understands that, because a lot of good players just want to get off on what they’re playing as opposed to making the best song possible.”
Much of this spirit can be found in the title in the title track. “We played our first show in Dallas on Elm St.,” says Michael. “It’s the arty place where musicians, artists, and weirdos alike hang out and it’s maintained that vibe for many years. It’s said that blues greats like Blind Lemon Jefferson, Lead Belly, and Robert Johnson often walked the streets and played the night clubs.”