Green River Ordinance

Green River Ordinance Folder

(Thursday) October 20, 2016 - 23:00

Highline Ballroom - 431 West 16th Street 2nd Fl (Map)

2 people attended

5.0/5 (1)

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$ 15.00 - $ 30.00
The title of Fifteen, Green River Ordinance's first studio album in three years, has a dual meaning for the hard-working quintet. In addition to marking the fifteen years that have passed since the five bandmates first began making music together, fifteen was also the average age of the band members when the group formed.

In the decade and a half since they first convened in their hometown of Fort Worth, Texas, Green River Ordinance—named after their home state's law forbidding door-to-door sales—has built a potent body of effortlessly accessible, instantly memorable music, while winning the loyalty of a fiercely loyal fan base that's stuck with the band through thick and thin. In the course of their journey, the five longtime friends have steadily evolved into a one-of-a-kind creative unit whose musical and emotional depth reflects the faith, integrity and mutual trust with which they've always approached their music and their career.

Green River Ordinance's thrilling evolution continues on Fifteen, which matches irresistibly infectious melodies and insightful, forthright lyrics with rootsy, rousing musical flights and soaring vocal harmonies. Such catchy, upbeat tunes as Always Love Her, Keep Your Cool and Hold Me Together, and such intimate, personally-charged numbers as Simple Life, Endlessly and Heart Open offer an artful balance of electric and acoustic textures, and resonate with the singular mix of craft and heart that make Green River Ordinance a special band.

We weren't afraid to go to some new places and push the boundaries a bit on this record, and that was very much in our minds when we were working on it, states frontman Josh Jenkins. At the same time, though, we were trying to do what we've always done, which is just trying to share who we are and tell our story. And hopefully, people will recognize their own experiences within that.

Fifteen arrives at a pivotal juncture in the Green River Ordinance's career. Having achieved a hard-won mainstream breakthrough with their 2009 album Out of My Hands and the hit singles Come On and On Your Own, the band grew uncomfortable with the contradictions of a changing music industry and the compromises required by an outdated business model. Rather than continue on that course, the group opted to walk away from its deal with Capitol Records in order to conduct its career on its own terms.

When we were starting out, people would describe us as organic, or talk about us being a grass-roots band, bassist Geoff Ice notes. We didn't really understand what they meant at the time, but the meaning has become clear to us in the last few years, and we've realized that it's one of our biggest strengths as a band.

Indeed, Green River Ordinance's enduring appeal has always been rooted in the five bandmates' deep musical and personal bond. Their potent rapport was showcased in the band's tireless roadwork, and on a pair of independently released EPs, which helped to win the band a recording deal with Capitol, which released Out of My Hands in 2009.

Out of My Hands won Green River Ordinance considerable critical acclaim and media exposure, with the album reaching the Top 10 on Billboard's Heatseekers chart and the band's songs appearing in more than 20 television shows. The band members made the most of the opportunity, dropping out of college committing to an intensive touring regimen that allowed them to win new fans across the country, while sharing stages with the likes of Bon Jovi, Matchbox 20, Train, Collective Soul, the Goo Goo Dolls and Gavin DeGraw. After spending two years on the road supporting Out of My Hands, GRO made the crucial choice to continue its career outside of the major-label machine.

Green River Ordinance's decision to embrace life as an independent entity was quickly vindicated by the success of their self-released 2012 album Under Fire and the 2013 EP Chasing Down the Wind, both of which boasted some of the band's most adventurous and eloquent work yet. Both were well-received by the group's fans, with Chasing Down the Wind debuting at the top of the iTunes charts. GRO's D.I.Y. approach was further vindicated when the Under Fire track Dancing Shoes became a substantial radio hit and one of the most popular songs of the band's career.

Looking back at our history, the songs that have really connected with people were the ones that we didn't overthink or overanalyze, Josh observes. So with the new album, a lot of the challenge was trying to stop ourselves from thinking too much, and focusing on writing about stuff that matters to us. All you can do is try and remain present in the songs and stay in touch with the things that inspire you and move you, and have faith that that will connect with people.

Towards that end, the band approached the making of Fifteen in a manner designed to inspire the band's creative impulses. For some of the album's songwriting sessions, they returned to the riverside cabin on the banks of the Caney Fork River in rural Tennessee, where they'd written much of Chasing Down the Wind. The band cut tracks for Fifteen in separate sessions with three notable producers—Paul Moak, Rick Beato and longtime GRO collaborator Jordan Critz—in three different cities. The band recorded many of its performances live in the studio, capturing the musicians' vibrant chemistry.

One of the greatest lessons that we've learned as a band is the importance of trusting your gut, Geoff asserts. Every time you take a risk or try something new, there's a risk that you'll fail. But there's also a chance that it will be amazing, so you have to resist the temptation to play it safe.

The same entrepreneurial streak that's served Green River Ordinance so well extends to the members' lives outside of the band. When they're not recording or touring with GRO, all five members maintain thriving parallel pursuits that tap other areas of their creativity.

We're diverse people and we have a lot of different interests, says Josh. We pour our heart and soul into this band, but we also love having the flexibility to explore, and then bring all of those experiences back to the music that we make together.

Having come up with their most accomplished album to date, Green River Ordinance are looking forward to reconnecting with their still-rabid fan base and taking Fifteen on the road, strengthened by the lessons they've learned over the band's eventful lifespan.

We're very lucky that we've been able to bounce back and persevere, Josh acknowledges. It's interesting to look back and see how we've learned from our mistakes, and how that's made us a better band. We've just learned as we've gone, from being kids who just love music to seeing it become a career. Each record that we've made has been a different chapter in our life as a band, and I think that it's progressed in a way that reflects how we've grown and matured, and how our experiences have shaped us.

Looking at the songs that we're writing now, and then back on the songs that we were writing when we were kids, it's interesting to see how much things have progressed, says Geoff. But in some ways, it's still the same. We're still in the process of discovering who we are and what we can be, and communicating that as honestly as we can.

Fifteen is a new chapter for us, and we're gonna be out playing as many shows as we can and making an effort to communicate with as many people as we can, Josh concludes. I feel lucky to be in a band with these guys who've been my friends since middle school, and it's a privilege to be able to keep making music with them.

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(Thursday) October 20, 2016

Green River Ordinance

Highline Ballroom 431 West 16th Street 2nd Fl New York, NY United States

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