Some things are built to last. During the course of its two decades of making records, O.A.R. — lead singer and primary songwriter Marc Roberge, drummer Chris Culos, guitarist Richard On, bassist Benj Gershman and saxophonist/guitarist Jerry DePizzo—has created and maintained a sort of a parallel universe. In effect hiding in plain sight from the world outside, the band fills arenas and amphitheaters as it crafts and releases relatable songs with big pop hooks, all of this activity going down completely apart from the mainstream. Within this universe, these songs are bona fide hits, and the band members are superstars.
Now, 20 years, endless shows and 13 albums later, O.A.R. (an acronym for the band’s full name: .…of a revolution) has assembled a comprehensive career overview: XX ; a 24-track, half-studio and half-live collection, shines a light on key moments from this vital, prolific band’s recording career. As a bonus to O.A.R.’s ecstatically devoted fans, the set opens with a pair of inspired, newly written songs: “Follow Me, Follow You” and “I Go Through,” which were written and recorded as the cameras rolled during Qello Concerts’ captivating six-part docu-series Evolution of a Song.
“People like being part of what we are doing, because we exist and we succeed within our own community,” Roberge points out. “We have no desire to exist or succeed by someone else’s standards. We just want to provide for our families and give them every opportunity, and do that by playing shows and making music.”
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