2014 was a crazy-ass year.
The Right Now has a few traditions around this time of year: Brendan hosts a Christmas party, divided into the family/kid early portion, and the degenerate-musician portion, which usually gets going right when Brendan and his wife are ready to clean up and go to bed. Then the band sends our sax player Jim some tepid emails to acknowledge his birthday (the 30th. Happy birthday, Schrammy!!). And sometime between Christmas and New Year's, Chris curls up with a glass of beer and writes the year-end wrap-up, a little look at the past 365 days in this band. And that's what you're reading now. 2014 was a strange year, both in and out of The Right Now. Big stuff first: Stefanie gave birth to her second child, Ryan, in November. Ryan had a bumpy landing, but he's fine and beautiful and we're so glad to have him in the family! Stef and her husband are cruising along, doing well.
And the band got a nice break when our song "He Used To Be" was included in the PS4 video game Watch Dogs. That game sold a ton of copies and kicked our youtube and iTunes numbers up quite a bit and introduced a lot of folks around the world to The Right Now. Thanks, Watch Dogs, and thanks to everyone that found us and supported us!
Touring-wise, it was a scaled-down year for the band. We played fewer gigs, but chose the really good ones. I mean the ones that are good on paper: your House Of Blues, your opening slot for Bettye LaVette, and a few non-presitgious but well-paying gigs throughout. We also got to play a few weddings this year, which is always an honor. Sometimes they want our original music, and sometimes it's time to dust off the covers, but either way it's nice to be part of the celebration.
Here's a clip from one of our Cincinnati shows early in the year. Fair warning: the audio kicks in loudly. This is the tail-end of "Hooked" one of the songs we're working on in the studio:
Part of the scaled-back schedule had to do with Stef's pregnancy and due date, but some of you know that Stef is a major trooper. Two days after she gave birth, I visited her and saw her busting dance moves in the hospital hallway as I approached. The rare moment of Stefanie Berecz downtime is what led us to playing a gig at The House Of Blues with the wonderful Kallie Palm filling in for Stef - except that Kallie sang that night with strep throat and we bounced the setlist around to make sure the show went off. That was an intense night! Our pal Ava Fain (Bumpus) showed up to lead us through a few songs too.
What else did we do? We got to play with Caroline Smith in St Louis and Milwaukee, Bettye LaVette in Milwaukee, Greyhounds (w/ members of Greyboy Allstars) in Chicago, and Lee Fields & The Expressions in Chicago, and we hit the Taste Of Chicago for the first time, along with outdoor shows at Navy Pier and the Hancock Tower.
And in the middle of it all, we've been chipping away at album #3. We're still not sure what form it's going to take - EP vs. LP, digital vs traditional, etc. But we've been in a few different studios working on the new songs. You might've heard a few of them (Hooked, That's Enough, Everything Is Broken) at our shows this year, and there are a few more (Postcard, Starlight, and others) that no one's heard yet, but they're gonna knock your socks off. We expect to get this stuff into your ears in 2015...
And among all of that, 2014 was the year that gave us D'Angelo's Black Messiah! Hey now!!