GW Premiere: Reece Sullivan's “The Riverband”

Article Contributed by gratefulweb | Published on Thursday, December 8, 2022

Folk leaning, Americana artist, Reece Sullivan, releases a new single, “The Riverband.” Recorded in the heart of Acadiana at the historic Dockside studio with an all-star line-up, the single comes directly on the heels of Sullivan’s late summer album release, “Arkansas.”  “The Riverband” has won multiple awards, including first place in the 2021 Red Lodge Songwriting Contest. 

The single’s narrative is that of a group of old folks who play in an old-timey band beside a river.  “When I wrote the song, I was singing these nonsense lyrics that were themed around the 1977 Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas special, a Jim Henson creation.  Of course, I couldn’t commit to something quite that silly, so I swapped some lyrics around and ended up the version we have here.” 

A very different version of “The Riverband” first appeared on Sullivan’s album, Middle Sea, and shortly after that, it ended up taking him from Louisiana to Montana as part of the Red Lodge Songwriting Contest.  “My friend, Daniel Sanda, tried persuading me to do a live in studio version of the song at Dockside.  I didn’t want to do it at all!  I’d just released it and it had just won first place in one contest and honorable mention in another.  But when Dan said he would video it and could get some of my favorite musicians involved, I couldn’t say no.” Eric Adcock and Chris French are Grammy nominated musicians who played in the highly esteemed Roddie Romero and the Hub City All-Stars for years.  Adcock played the Fender Rhodes and French played stand-up bass.  William Byron Smith from the band, Truth and Salvage, played drums.

The horn section is a New Orleans styled sound and both the clarinet and trombone were recorded there.  Kevin McMann, who currently on tour with the Glen Miller Orchestra, played clarinet, and Ben Herrington, a multi-instrumentalist with projects in NOLA and Baton Rouge, played trombone.  “As a Louisiana implant from Arkansas, it’s nice to feel like there’s a bit of a Louisiana sound captured with the tune,” Sullivan says.    

In the queue next is “Gethsemane,” a full length, predominantly acoustic album, with a likely release in early 2023.