Spring Tour 2018 Announced!

We're back on the road this Spring for some great shows in Door County, Iowa, Nashville, Saint Louis, and more! Grab your tix and get all the details here.

TRN Spring tour announcement.jpg

Of course we're excited about each and every show...but we've got something really special brewing for our 10th Anniversary show at Martyrs' on April 27th. More on that later, but dig this awesome poster for now!



We're very excited to announce that we'll be taping a live in-studio session for the legendary JBTV this Saturday, January 20th, at 4 p.m. If you are in Chicago and want to be in the studio audience, please RSVP here. The sound stage is beautiful and the lounge is decorated with an incredible array of signed band posters and paraphernalia. 

Jerry Bryant has hosted everyone from Jeff Buckley to the Smashing Pumpkins, so this is kind of a big deal. Oh yeah!


Daytrotter Session is Up

A few months back we stopped by the Horseshack in Davenport, Iowa to record a Daytrotter session. This was something we've been looking forward to doing since we started the band, and it really was a blast. Check out the video below!


Show Preview: Nashville to Chicago Soul Revue on 11/18/17

It's been far too long since our last blog post. It's been a jam packed summer and Fall with shows all over the Midwest and East Coast, festivals, writing sessions, and more. But more on that later. We're giddy with anticipation for our show coming up this Saturday at 1st Ward at Chop Shop: the Nashville to Chicago Soul Revue featuring TRN, JC Brooks Band, and DeRobert & The Half-Truths.

There's so much to love about this show, I'm not sure where to start. These bands are family to us (Stef and JC met in 2006 and we met Dee in 2009, so there's deep history); both lead singers have performed on our studio recordings (JC on "You Will Know" from Carry Me Home and Dee on "Should've Told Me" and "He Used To Be" from Gets Over You); and we've played many big shows with both bands before (opening for Fitz & The Tantrums with JC in 2011, record release in 2012 DeRobert and crew). But this is the first bill with all three of us. And damn we're excited!

Here's a preview of the other acts...


"Enveloping stage presence and palpable charisma" is how Rolling Stone describes the JC Brooks Band, and that pretty much sums it up. JC is a star, a magnetic performer, one hell of a singer, and the band sounds better than ever these days. Their reimagined Wilco cover (video above) put them on the national map years ago, but their original music (including this year's release Neon Jungle) is well crafted and instantly memorable. We played with them in Milwaukee this weekend and it really hit me: I know all of their songs and most of the lyrics. Jayson envelops the audience with his performance and the message of the politically tinged material is more poignant than ever these days. This is the essence of soul music: speaking truth to power and protesting injustice. 


Dee Adams is just a stone cold ridiculous talent. He's got the kind of voice that stopped me in my tracks the first time I heard it. Whether it's with his funk band Sky Hi (that's how we first met him in 2009) or the straight ahead soul of DeRobert & The Half-Truths, Dee commands the stage and just tears it up. One of my fondest memories of doing shows together took place years ago at a jazz club in Indianapolis. Dee took the crowd to church, putting all his personal struggles out in the open and testifying that he had music, and joy, in his heart despite everything he's gone through. I firmly believe that we are blessed and lucky to behold such a talented singer. 

So that's it--an incredible three band bill happening this coming Saturday November 18 in Chicago. Poster, info, and ticket links are below. See you at the show!

- Brendan


Nashville to Chicago Soul Revue 2017
JC Brooks Band, The Right Now, DeRobert & The Half-Truths, DJRC
First Ward at Chop Shop
2033 W North Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
Doors at 8 pm


"Too Late" music video is out!

Dear fans, we're happy to share this video for "Too Late," from the Starlight album. Directed by Seth Thompson of Epiglotic and Green Frog studios with a concept by our own Stefanie Berecz, this is a burner of a video. Stef conveys all the indignation and pain of the song, while still having a lot of fun telling her ex-lover to eat shit. Stef performed it so well, and Seth captured it so well, and the rest of us just played ourselves...and the result was magic. 

Seth, by the way, is responsible for all of our photo shoots, and he shot the live footage from our video for "He Used To Be." He's an old friend and we're proud to debut this new video -- which we made in Grand Rapids, MI on the first day of our recent Starlight tour. 

Enjoy - and share with your friends!

Track by Track 8/10: Starlight

In an attempt to shine a light on each individual song on Starlight, we’re doing a blog series entitled “Track by Track.” Each week a different member of TRN will write about the 10 songs that make up our new album.


BRENDAN:  May 19, 2013, was a day that I’ll never forget. Even though my daughter was about three weeks old, I wasn’t at home. I was driving back from Saint Louis, groggy and sleep deprived. We’d just played a show the night before and I was barreling down I-55 as the guys napped in the back of the van. I actually love these drives home on Sundays. The euphoria of a good show, the anticipation of seeing my family again, and a bright Spring day ease the transition from road life to home life.

Then the phone rang.

Looking back on it now I don’t remember if I spoke with my brother Paddy or my parents first. Things were a little hazy and the details weren’t clear. Basically my younger brother had been at his best friend’s wedding on the East Coast and something had happened. The phrase “Paddy ruined the wedding” was being thrown around. He had been drinking and didn’t know--or couldn’t remember--what had happened. He was getting on a plane and coming back to Chicago earlier than planned. It was also his birthday.

PADDY: May 19, 2013, was a day that I’ll never forget. It was my 29th birthday. But I was not celebrating. I was licking my wounds, sobbing in an airport on the phone with my mother and father, trying to piece together what had happened and what was about to happen. I was terrified, at the lowest point of my life. The 17th and 18th were a drunken blur of destruction and disappointment, a swirling, chaotic, dark mess. The last year of my use culminated in an intoxicated explosion at my best friend’s wedding. During the flight home to Chicago, I tried to figure out how I could justify or rationalize my actions to my family, how I could get out of this mess, how I could stay hidden. I tried in desperation to support the crumbling walls of my facade, but I quickly realized that I was standing on rubble. And all that was left was agony, hopelessness, and fear. I was coming to terms with the fact that I was an alcoholic and drug addict.

BRENDAN: As more phone calls from siblings and my parents rolled in I realized that something was different about this incident. Sure there had been warning signs in the past (bar tabs that were too high, drunk dials on weekdays in the wee hours, run-ins with the law) but I always just chalked it up to my brother being the outgoing, gregarious guy that everybody loved. As I sped closer and closer to Chicago I started to come to terms with the fact that my brother was an alcoholic.

I called my wife to let her know that I couldn’t come home just yet. I dropped off the van and headed to my parents’ house where we ended up having a sort of impromptu intervention. As part of a large Irish Catholic family with rampant alcoholism, these seem to hit the calendar as regularly as Christmas morning or Thanksgiving dinner.

PADDY: When my plane landed in Chicago and I got to my home, my family surrounded me and I accepted my truth and help. I admitted to the depths of my drinking and drug use. I don’t remember if I said “I am an alcoholic” out loud then, but I do remember choking through tears, “I don’t know who I am or what I am doing.” Without the strength left for any fight at all, my entire body crumpled into my brother Sean’s lap, who was sitting next to me on my parents’ couch. My body shook as I wept. I felt out of control, ragdolling in a whir. And Sean wrapped his arms around me, then my brother Brendan did, and then my sister Kitty joined, and then my parents. When I was at my most desperate, my family folded in upon me and held the broken pieces of my life together. They filled the massive fissures in my heart and forged the beginnings of a new foundation.

BRENDAN: Through tears my brother bravely accepted his new reality and agreed to enter a rehab program. He dropped everything in his life. Quit his job. Broke his lease. Moved out of state. Started over.

Are you living it up too fast?
Living it up too large?
Lied to
I’ll never bring you down

Are you headed for another crash
Going the wrong way round?
Tried to
I’ll always be around

PADDY: Alcoholism and addiction is not about booze and drugs. It’s a search to belong, it’s a quest to find an answer for the ever present loneliness and misery, a desperate scour for connection to something, anything, anyone. It steals the best parts of us, and we are left with nothing but darkness. Drugs and booze were flashes of light in the stormy landscape of my alcoholic life, like lightning in a dark field. It worked for a while and worked well, until, of course, the pops of illumination became more and more infrequent and then stopped altogether. I stumbled blindly in that dark field until it rose up and consumed me. Oblivion would have been welcomed.

BRENDAN: After Paddy left for rehab I felt an intense rush of emotion. I’d told him that I was sad to lose the drinking buddy I’d had for years but grateful he would be alive and healthy for the first time in his adult life. How could I support and understand his journey? I needed to write a song that would let him know that I would be there to support him and his recovery.

Starlight whenever you feel the need
Look up high that’s where I’m gonna be
Starlight, shine bright
I’m gonna be good for you tonight

PADDY: Few in life are granted the gift of such moments. Few can point so specifically to a date, to a time, to a flash that saved their life. That act, that moment on the couch in the living room of my childhood home, changed my life forever. May 19, 2013. It’s a day that I will never forget. It’s the day the light came in.

For more about Paddy’s path out of the darkness of addiction into the light of recovery, check out The Dirtbag Diaries.

And for stories about Paddy’s adventures outside, check out Adventure Journal.


The Right Now suffers a tragedy

We're very sad to report that The Right Now's family suffered a huge loss this week. David Grinslade was family to us - literally for some, figuratively for others - and his death on Wednesday shocked us all. Yesterday the band spent the day and night bonding and supporting each other, and we're grateful for all the support and well wishes we receive. It's a difficult time, and we ask for respect for everyone's privacy, but at the same time we've always felt a lot of love from our surrounding community and we appreciate it. 

DG, we miss you. You left each of us better than you found us. 

Everyone else, love hard. You only go around once.

Milwaukee & Iowa Shows Canceled This Weekend

We regret to announce that we've had to cancel our shows this weekend. That means the following shows and appearances:

4/21 Shank Hall (Milwaukee)
4/22 Ragged Records (Davenport, IA) for Record Store Day
4/22 Daytrotter Taping
4/22 The Lift (Dubuque, IA)

Thank you for all the kind notes and messages. We're working with the venues to reschedule everything and will be back on the road soon. 



Track by Track 7/10: Postcard

In an attempt to shine a light on each individual song on Starlight, we’re doing a blog series entitled “Track by Track.” Each week a different member of TRN will write about the 10 songs that make up our new album.


"Postcard" is a fun song about fun times and fun things, such as writing and sending various correspondence through the United States Postal Service, including letters and postcards.  It’s also about fun things like taking long walks and standing out in the rain all night long. 

"Postcard" is good and will stick with you.  In a sense "Postcard" will never leave you.  

"Postcard" will be with you, always.  

The best part of "Postcard" is the story, which is very realistic and also true.  It is basically a universal tale, old as time itself.  Literally everyone:

Once again, you find yourself restless in bed late at night, unable to resist the thoughts.  You’ve been here before.  Dreaming, but not asleep.  You yearn for something that you know may never be delivered.  Satisfaction eludes you; a rigid 3.5 by 5 inch parcel that will never arrive.

~~Just send me a postcard, baby~~~ ~~ ~~ ~

The Right Now has long been dedicated to raising awareness for the exciting and misunderstood world of deltiology.  Hence, "Postcard."

"Postcard" might seem silly to some people, and that’s okay.  It’s okay that "Postcard" is silly, because of "the hook."  

Some say that the ancients believed that "the hook" was the most important aspect of every pop song, though we can’t yet confirm.


"Postcard" will be with you, always.  

Please enjoy,

Track by Track 6/10: Everything Is Broken

In an attempt to shine a light on each individual song on Starlight, we’re doing a blog series entitled “Track by Track.” Each week a different member of TRN will write about the 10 songs that make up our new album.


The all too familiar plight of the poor character described in Everything Is Broken surprisingly gives me hope for the hustle of the working musician, although that might not be the direct intention of the story. In my line of work as well as in our journey as a band, money can certainly be a wonderful consequence of our time and energy and something that we strive for in order for us to keep doing what we do. Sometimes, however, we play a show for a cause that we feel passionate about or maybe even just to make people dance and have fun, and there's something simply fantastic about that... a sentiment that is plainly missing here. The protagonist of this story spends his life seeking what he has been taught is necessary to be successful: "making a fortune," "quick fame," "owning fancy cars and clothes," …only to end up feeling lonely and regretful.

The lyrics certainly strike a chord with anyone working hard to make any kind of living. The narrative outlines a story of the boy growing up ("just a little boy, with dreams about the world"), getting rich and fighting to succeed in a fast paced lifestyle in order to get those material possessions we all desire ("off to make a fortune, off to make a home"), and ultimately finding what could be considered success. The trade off however is losing sight of what really matters ("the place that he once loved") and ultimately missing out on the precious time that could have been spent with family and loved ones. In a culture of all-pervasive social media we're often advised that fame and success means getting that next promotion or that higher paying job, but many too often fail to see the price to be paid for that blind climb. As musicians I feel that we're fortunate to view the world through a slightly different lens. Of course there is business to attend to, but the choices we make often have motivations outside of what might be considered normal. There exists a certain sense of the pursuit of happiness inherent to any creative job, no matter what the gig may pay.

As the trumpet player in the band this song also represents a bit of the reality of my line of work, and why I do what I do. Once the horns finally enter two minutes into the song we don't really stop. This haunting psychedelic tune churns harder and harder, gaining so much momentum until the eventual climactic pay off at the end when it becomes a force of nature. The muscles in my face inevitably whine to give in as the horn lines get progressively higher and longer, taking more and more effort. The performance leads to a fatigue inherent from shoving a metal instrument against one's face for an extended period of time. Finally we make it to the end and the journey to make it there simply would never have been the same without all that real work. Everyone plays their part and does their musical responsibility, working together to create something real and worthwhile.

TRN plays because we love the music and the opportunity to create that something special that has nothing to do with the corporate ladder, something greater than ourselves. The message of "Everything Is Broken" is deep-rooted; the popular idea today of becoming successful and getting rich has become twisted in many ways, but this song seems such an excellent vehicle to express that there is still hope, though it might not seem obvious. It could feel like there is so much currently broken in the world that it's easy to lose sight of all the good out there, but this song reminds me that the reward of being a musician, or really just nurturing everyone's own creative side, is more than worth the often challenging journey. We may not drive fancy cars like some characters in the song, but we travel this road together knowing we're doing it for the right reasons.

Track By Track 5/10: Up All Night

In an attempt to shine a light on each individual song on Starlight, we’re doing a blog series entitled “Track by Track.” Each week a different member of TRN will write about the 10 songs that make up our new album.


"Up All Night" is The Right Now’s epic disco jam that reliably gets crowds moving on the dance floor. Perhaps some of them are moving to a style of music they thought they were supposed to hate. I like it that way.

When Donna Summer died in 2012, certain voices on social media eulogized her by saying things like, “Donna Summer transcended disco,” or, “Donna Summer was so much more than the disco queen.” While Mrs. Summer indeed was a transcendent artist with a far-reaching appeal, I felt like these caveats were unnecessary. Disco’s musical validity should be iron-clad by this point; it doesn’t need apologists. Who can argue with Summer’s ‘70s dance music, or that of Chic, Bohannon, Rick James, The O’Jays, Kool and the Gang, and so many others? Now that the goofy clothes, drug culture, and “disco sucks” rallies have faded far into the rear view, we can deal with the music on its own merits. And what we’re left with is some expertly-crafted, life-affirming music that people will be dancing to for a long time to come. So I was thrilled when Brendan brought in “Up All Night” to a TRN rehearsal — we now had our own entry into the long line of booty-shaking disco anthems.

Starlight is the first TRN album to come out since I officially joined the band as its drummer. I had played plenty of gigs as a sub for the previous drummer, John Smillie, though, so I knew the entire catalog. What was different this time around was that I got to be part of the process of shaping new songs with the rest of the band. "Up All Night" is a prime example of how much a song can be refined and shaped by a series of continual minor tweaks in months of rehearsals and gigs. It was a lengthy but fun process of working together towards a common goal (that goal being: get the people to dance to some gosh darn disco).

A bulleted list of every single change we made to "Up All Night” between Brendan’s demo and the version on Starlight would read like a lengthy Wikipedia revision history page. The biggest project we tackled as a band was the outro, which takes up just over half the run-time of the track. We set out to craft a slow-burn build from the guitar-and-kick-drum-only breakdown to a big, cathartic finale. While the horns relentlessly repeat the simple chorus melody, Stef breaks away from it, ratcheting up the energy through a series of vocal ad-libs. Behind this foreground is the rhythm section, which churns through four different chord progressions. The series of chords you hear on the record came after months of trial and error in rehearsals and on gigs (and more than a few on-stage mistakes while we were still working it out). It was a truly collaborative process, and I was happy to contribute the final set of chords, which are the weirdest and most chromatic ones. By the time we get to that last set of chords (Dm7, Bm7, Bb/C, then a quick series of sus chords in ascending minor thirds), the energy level is high, and we’ve almost crossed over from disco into ‘70s jazz fusion, another much-maligned genre that nonetheless is still ripe with musical ideas. Don’t believe me? Check out how Stevie Wonder used fusion sounds on “Contusion” from Songs In the Key of Life. If you wanna call that cheese, then it’s some of that gourmet fromage that gets better with age. I’m hoping listeners will say the same about “Up All Night” in a few years’ time.

Track by Track 4/10: That's Enough

In an attempt to shine a light on each individual song on Starlight, we’re doing a blog series entitled “Track by Track.” Each week a different member of TRN will write about the 10 songs that make up our new album.


This is Greg, bassist for The Right Now. I'm really happy to talk about "That's Enough" because it speaks to some of the non-musician parts of my life. I've been working professionally for organizations that address food insecurity, homelessness, and poverty for almost two decades. Falling under the general umbrella of social justice, this is my other passion besides music. Currently I work at Lakeview Pantry supervising emergency food programs.

"That's Enough" continues a thread of two major themes that I see all over Starlight: compassion and dystopia. Along with other songs from Starlight like "If It Was You" and "Everything Is Broken," "That's Enough" addresses social issues. Unemployment, food stamps, and desperation surface in the lyrics sung from the point of view of a partner or a caretaker (perhaps a spouse). "That's Enough" is also a hopeful song illuminating need in our community and asking for social change.

The picture this song paints reminds me of the Rust Belt which is never too far away if you live in the Midwest states. Closed factories, broken dreams, industries that just won't come back...beginning as long ago as the late 1970s or early 1980s this is a situation that was all too familiar to me growing up. Some parts of the Rust Belt are just starting to find stability now after three decades of decline. I think about places in Northwest Indiana that are a part of the Greater Chicagoland Area where TRN hail from. And let's not forget about layoffs at the Chicago Assembly Ford plant in the 2000s or the US Steel South Works which closed in 1992--both located right here in my home town. 

Getting back to the music for a moment: because of the "lost industrial rust belt" theme I heard in the lyrics for "That's Enough" and other songs I tried to make the bass line in the verses here sound a little bit Motown. Detroit is the biggest example of lost industry I can think of (or was-I know Detroit is mounting a comeback!) so it was an easy connection for me to make. It's a small thing in the context of all that is going on in this song but it keeps me connected to an idea when I'm performing.

This is the only song on Starlight that wasn't engineered by Vijay Tellis-Nayak, although he did mix it along with all of the other tracks he recorded with us at Transient Studios. We asked Vijay if he wanted to start over and record "That's Enough" again so that all of the tracks on Starlight would have a similar sound to them. I remember Vijay saying something like "I don't want to re-record this one because it has an energy and a vibe to it that is really special." I agree. There's an powerful sound in the rhythm section on this one that hits hard. This is also a testament to the talents of Neil Strauch, the original engineer. Most of what we recorded with Neil wasn't used for Starlight because at that time TRN was searching for a new sound, trying new things and even songs that didn't really work out. However, Neil really captured "That's Enough" for us and helped us relax in order to get great performances and some emotional content in the track.

One other thing I remember is me and Chris Corsale both using a vintage Big Muff distortion pedal that was sitting around Shirk Studios. It made everything sound SO GOOD: guitar, bass, etc. We both wanted to track with that pedal and we were trying to convince each other to let the other use it. I'm pretty sure that sound is a part of what we're hearing and is another reason why this song made it onto Starlight.

Track by Track 3/10: Too Late

In an attempt to shine a light on each individual song on Starlight, we’re doing a blog series entitled “Track by Track.” Each week a different member of TRN will write about the 10 songs that make up our new album.


Living comfortably and confidently as track six on Starlight is one of my favorite songs on the new record.  "Too Late" is a strong tune that Brendan initially wrote with a male R&B/Soul singer in mind.  After sending the song my way to give a listen, I was quick to let Brendan know that I wanted a crack at it first.  "Too Late" was brought to the group at a time when the TRN catalog was growing and our lineup was shifting a bit with the plan of a third album in our future.  And when we finally spent time making the song “ours,” I can remember feeling even more convinced that what we had going was something really special.

"Too Late" evokes such strength and drive in the opening seconds. From the moment Lucas leads the band in, you are served up an attention-grabbing intro that is sure to make you hang around for what’s next. Before I go any further, can we just take a second and give all the praise and hi-fives to the horns on this tune?  MY WORD. I think I did a mental backflip (I can’t do a real one) after hearing the horn arrangement for the first time in rehearsal. Jimmy wrote such stand out parts that elevate sections of this tune to new heights. Don’t get me started on how my body and soul reacts from 1:16 – 1:24.  Check it!

This was one of the first songs I recorded for Starlight and I knew I wanted the vocals strong, yet vulnerable. I think we accomplished that.  The song speaks to a tug-of-war with love and what it might feel like when you are on the verge of giving up for good.  The verses are my opportunity to tell the story on the edge of being a pissed off ex-lover, adding a tasteful amount of grit to each phrase.  Delivering the hook’s repeated and simple melodic message needed to happen with ease and certainty. I can remember singing the line “But now it’s too late…too late” with a nasty smirk on my face to get there.   The call-and-response bridge that includes the amazing Devin Thompson and Sarah Marie Young layering such rich warm vocals is a great send off to the final chorus.  They both knocked it out of the park for me on this one.

"Too Late," for me, is a complete package and I can only hope that you all are vibin’ off it as much as I am.  SPOILER ALERT: we are making a MF music video for this one in a week.  Stay tuned…


Track by Track 2/10: If It Was You

In an attempt to shine a light on each individual song on Starlight, we’re doing a blog series entitled “Track by Track.” Each week a different member of TRN will write about the 10 songs that make up our new album.

Write-up by Chris Corsale

The fifth song on Starlight bears an important message mixed into one of the groovier arrangements on the album. There's a slow burn to the verses that gives way to a more openly passionate chorus, and it all bears the weight of some fundamental questions about race relations in America. It's a song I'm really proud to be a part of; Brendan's lyrics and the band arrangement along with Vijay's mix and production ideas really worked well together. 

As the murders of Michael Brown and Freddie Gray and Trayvon Martin and an alarming number of others gave rise to the Black Lives Matter movement, there was the some-would-say-inevitable countermovement, and it left a lot of us baffled. How did "Black Lives Matter" become an arguable debate? We in the band understood that the countermovement was a call for peaceful protest, but could not imagine prioritizing a busted window over a state-sanctioned murder. So Brendan started asking white America a hard question: If it was you, wouldn't you want to burn it to the ground?  It's a fair question, and points out problems that don't affect you personally are still your responsibility as an American. (I hope it's clear that the song doesn't advocate violence, - "want to" is repeated, because we're talking about feelings more than actions here.)

Musically, I think we got something cohesive here. The string intro was composed by Vijay Tellis Nayak, our producer, but only after I insisted the song needed one. The result is pure purgatory - well done, Vijay! - and there's something groovy and spooky about the whole song; I think it fits the message very well. And I get to rip some solo guitar at the end...hey now! On the vinyl edition of Starlight, "If It Was You" is a nice side-B opener.

We hope you like it. We hope it starts conversations - and that those are constructive conversations! 


Track by Track 1/10: Hooked

In an attempt to shine a light on each individual song on Starlight, we’re doing a blog series entitled “Track by Track.” Each week a different member of TRN will write about the 10 songs that make up our new album.

By Brendan O'Connell

So many R&B artists have found chart-topping and artistic success with songs that are essentially instrumental loops of 2 or 4 bars with infectiously catchy vocal riffs. Beyonce's "Put A Ring" on it especially comes to mind. The idea is pretty ingenious and originates with the incorporation of samples in pop music (taking the best part of a drum break or instrumental groove and layering new vocal melodies/lyrics on top of it). I wanted to try my hand at writing something of that nature. That's the benefit of working with a singer like Stef. Her voice is made for singing big, catchy parts. 

Seems simple enough, right? Get a rocking drum groove, killer bass line, write catchy parts for Stef, and call it a day. For whatever reason "Hooked" had such a concise and clear genesis but an incredibly muddled path. It's a thing that can happen with a group of seven people. One idea ("hey what if we change this?") leads to another ("oh we should switch the groove here!") and another ("well then we'll change the chords there!") and, pretty soon, the simple tune becomes something else completely.

I want to stress that this process is just the natural outcome of having seven passionate musicians who give a damn. I write a tune. Everyone puts in their two cents. We try a bunch of stuff and maybe workshop the song live a few times. We edit some more. It's painstaking but hey, that's the way it goes when you want make a good record.

So how did we get all the way back from Convoluted Town to something simple? Enter our producer, Vijay Tellis-Nayak. He started asking questions about the different sections and multiple dynamic shifts. He also leveled a devastating critique: "It sounds kind of bar-bandy." As a band with higher aspirations this is territory that we avoid like the plague. Strip it back to its roots and keep it simple, VTN told us. So we did. 

I love where we ended up. A Vijay-crafted synth dive launches the tune before Lucas's drum groove gets things going. There are only three vocal sections (not really verses or choruses, per se) and Stef shines on all of them. Stef and I wrote these lyrics together years and years ago. We wanted to explore the idea of unbridled love as an addiction: powerful, satiating, yet potentially dangerous. It all culminates in a cacophony of horns, drums, and synths with Stef wailing on top. "Hooked" ends Starlight with a bang, for sure.





It Takes A Village...

...to raise a child, or, to make an album. Starlight was the result of a large cast of characters and we'd like to take a minute or two to single them all out. 


What can we say about VTN? He worked countless hours on this album in every phase: pre-production, recording, performing, mixing, producing. He is the ninth member of TRN (read on for the eighth) and our not-so-secret weapon. I could write an entire blog post on this guy and his ridiculous talent as a musician, engineer, and producer. He is a musical brother-in-arms and his influence on this band is immeasurable.

SETH THOMPSON (photography)

Seth has been taking pictures of us since the very beginning (2009, very early morning, Hollywood beach, extremely hungover horn section). The shoot for the Starlight cover was late, cold, and ultimately perfect. He's a talented guy and we're honored to consider him a close friend and collaborator. 

RICH COLE (graphic design)

Another old friend of the band, RC came through in the clutch with a clean, sleek album design--plus a ton of random graphics for social media and the like. In his other life Rich is DJRC and we've played a ton of shows together.

CHRIS GELIN (engineer)

As you may have read, it took us 5 years to put out a new album (oy!). Part of that delay was from experimentation with different producers and recording ideas. Chris played a part in the evolution of "Hooked." Jim and Corsale spearheaded a bunch of recording sessions at Chris' Rogers Park home studio and some of those tracks found their way onto the final version of the song. 


Jim introduced me to Hayden and basically said "Man, you should get together with him and you'll learn a lot." That was right on. Hayden laid down synth on a few different tracks and opened my eyes to a lot of great ideas for sounds on the record.


We knew pretty early on that "Up All Night" wouldn't be as disco as we wanted if it didn't have a killer string arrangement. VTN and I got to work (with an assist from J. Kriv on suggestions for the best program for writing string parts). I knew Chuck from his work on Carry Me Home and he brought Lisa and Dominic along for the session. There's nothing quite like hearing your music augmented by strings!


One thing that I got really into while writing songs for this album was composing background parts. It's like something finally clicked and all those parts based on 3rds and 5ths just made sense for the first time. I relished the chance for some real, legit SINGERS to jump all over my parts and make them shine. Vijay immediately suggested Sarah (a singer I'd long admired for her work as a solo artist and with Hood Smoke). Devin, a veteran singer on the Chicago scene and a recent signee to Severn Records, was down as well and it was on. I looked forward to the vocal session like a goddam 10-year-old anticipates Christmas morning. Devin and Sarah just killed it, laying down complex parts on 8 tunes in a single day. They are an absolutely essential part of this album. 

BOB GARRETT (percussion)

Ah, Bobby G. I love this guy. Calming influence, superb chef, yoga master, and super percussionist. We go back a long way and Bob was all about jumping on the album with tambourine and congas--the groove on "That's Enough" is especially deep with his contribution. 

DEE ADAMS (background vocals)

There's a theme here--we've drawn heavily on the connections and friends that we've made over the past 8 or 9 years in making this record. Dee Adams fits nicely into that narrative. He's basically the most ridiculously talented singer we know and a close friend of ours. Dee contributed background vocals on the choruses of "Starlight" and makes that hook even sweeter.

GREG PERKINS / RAM! Project (t-shirt design)

Greg is the guy responsible for much of our visual art over the years -- all our T-shirt designs, posters, and our first two album covers were his work. This time around, we wanted to try out new eyes and minds for our artwork, but couldn't stay away from Greg's talent when it came time for the T-shirts. Always a home-run, RAM Project!


- KRISTINA BENSON (licensing) 

These folks work diligently behind the scenes getting us shows (Brandon), on the radio (Dave), in magazines, blogs, newspapers, TV, and everywhere (Shawn & Ryan), and on TV, ads, and movies (Kristina). If you are a new fan chances are that our stellar team had something to do with it!

NEIL STRAUCH (producer/engineer) & STEVE SHIRK (producer/engineer)

Back to the long ass story about how long this record took...Neil and Steve were there and played an important part. We experimented in Steve's studio with Neil at the helm on a few tunes that didn't make the cut. Neil's recording of "That's Enough" did make it on to the record, though, as did the piano he recorded in "Postcard." Neil caught some vibes so we stuck with them. Steve manned the board for several of Stef's vocal sessions.


And last but not least, the man who carries this band on his back (or in his van at least), and who makes every single show no matter where no matter when, the myth, the legend: DB, Dave Berecz. He's our unofficial eighth band member, official tour manager,  and absolute family to us in every sense. Squeeby Deeby!

There it is: a partial list of folks that played a large part in the birth of our 3rd album, Starlight. There are plenty others (sub players like Chris DeRosa, Dan Kristan, Bryant Millet, and others; Beth at United Record Pressing; Spyder at URP Music Distributors; our families) that deserve at tip of the hat as well. It's pretty amazing to sit back and think about everyone outside of the seven musicians that help make this band run. So, thank you!

- Brendan (with help from Chris)

STARLIGHT is here!

We're very proud of this, the new-as-of-this-moment album from The Right Now. Enjoy it - ten tracks that are five years in the making. This is Starlight.

Our thanks go to Vijay Tellis-Nayak for producing a hell of an album, and all the talented musicians who helped us make it. 

Listen below, or stream it at Spotify and iTunes - or get your blue vinyl or CD copy at our store!

Relix Magazine debuts TRN's "Everything Is Broken"

New song! "Everything Is Broken," a heavy tale of greed and corruption and heartache, is the third song from Starlight to see the light of day (no pun intended). Relix Magazine debuted the song on Feb 20. 

As TRN's Brendan O'Connell described in Relix's write-up, "I wanted to write a song that related a story of riches, disillusionment, and possible redemption. Even though we are years past the financial crisis, I think the message still applies today. Many of us strive and strive to succeed and make money without really thinking about if it will make us happy (or how our actions could indirectly hurt others)."

Fuzzed-out guitar opens the track, and the band takes us through a head-nodding groove over which Stefanie lays out the story of a lobbyist who comes to a little soul-searching later in life. Heavy stuff for heavy times.

Thanks, Relix, for getting this tune out there, and thanks Vijay for producing a great track! 

Postcard Streaming Now!

Oh man, are we excited for this one. Here's our new single "Postcard" 

We're grateful to Substream Magazine for debuting this track yesterday. The full writeup is here. I love their description of the tune: 

"Postcard” is a soul-bearing, slowjam-influenced pop anthem that builds and builds throughout its five-minute runtime, eventually erupting in a massive instrumental foundation fronted by Stef Berecz’s powerful vocal prowess. It’s the kind of track that brings the best of ’90s R&B to mind while also feeling fresh within the current pop landscape—one that’s ever crowded with indecipherable similarities."

Thanks Substream!

We've been working on this tune for years and it's so gratifying to finally share it with the world. It's definitely a departure from our retro-soul leanings in the past, but I think it displays the dynamics and beauty of Stef's voice like nothing else we've done. 

Enjoy it!