This month, I’ll be telling you about a rock band from New Orleans, The Revivalists. This band contains seven members, and unlike most rock bands, the group has a saxophone and a trumpet player in its usual lineup. This lineup consists of Ed Williams on guitar, David Shaw on vocals, Zach Feinberg on guitar, Rob Ingraham on saxophone, George Gekas on bass guitar, Andrew Campanelli on percussion, and Michael Girardot on keyboards and trumpet.
The Revivalists were formed in 2007, and since then, unlike the other two bands I’ve covered, they have gotten notable mainstream recognition. After the release of their album “Men Amongst Mountains,” they were named as one of the “10 Bands You Need to Know” by Rolling Stone in March 2016.
Just like I did with my first article on The Frights, this one will focus on my go to songs by The Revivalists.
By far their most popular, “Wish I Knew You” reached No. 1 on the Billboard Adult Alternative Songs chart. If you hear it, you may even recognize it from a few years ago. It’s established in the first two lines that it’s a love song by praising a person new to the speaker’s life. “You shine like a star, you know who you are,” Shaw sings. However, the listener quickly realizes that the situation isn’t all sunshine and butterflies, as this love story began later in life. The speaker wishes he knew her earlier in life so they could have experienced all the good parts of their long lives together. The song even hints at the possible embarrassment of finding your love so late in life: “two strangers in the bright lights,” Shaw describes. They are the center of attention to everyone around them because of the awkwardness of the situation. Lucky for them, none of this matters, as the couple goes on to live life just as they would have if they did meet young, just with a setback. The music itself, however, doesn’t ever have this breakout point that is obviously supposed to be the part you enjoy most. “Wish I Knew You” is very soft, and doesn’t lash out at you in any segment. It’s meant to be relaxing and enjoyable, which is definitely a deviation from other types of rock which want you to pay close attention and always have your attention. It is a perfect song to go to when you want a deviation from typical rock music.
I don’t include this song here because of its lyrics, but because the instrumentals are just so enjoyable to me. It opens up with this funky intro, and sounds very electronic and out of place. All of a sudden you’re blasted away with the entrance of vocals, some percussion, and guitar. The melody isn’t complicated at all, but it sounds so nice and relaxing, especially when the horns and saxophone get added in. There comes a moment when everything is dissipated, and horns, saxophones, and drums jump right back in for about 20 seconds. This is unique because The Revivalists are showcasing some of the things that make them stand out from other rock bands, those being a saxophone and a horn. The song continues with uncomplicated, beautiful sounding melodies that give way to the horn and saxophone, creating a mesmerizing experience.
Definitely my favorite song by The Revivalists. “Navigate Below” is a motivational song which tells the story of someone finding the best part of themselves by looking at others. Shaw speaks about the stress of trying to find yourself with the lyrics throughout, “my best is unrealized. The worst is when the best goes untried,” Shaw exclaims. He can’t help himself get better, because he doesn’t know what the best parts about himself are. The instrumentals themselves build up from the very beginning, starting off with a guitar and eventually building to the chorus, which contains the full band. The reason why this song is at the top of my list is because of its message on attempting to find yourself in such a large world, and the goosebumps I get every time it finally reaches its peak is a feeling that will never leave me.
The Revivalists often speak about personal things, and trying to find yourself in such a large world in their songs. This is evident in their band name alone. When I hear a rock band with the name “The Revivalists,” I can’t help but hope that the band is trying to revive, in their own unique way, the music of the past, such as the classic rock sound that has been forgotten by time.
The band also comes with its own twist in sound, as I’ve mentioned numerous times already, they include a horn and a saxophone which is not a common inclusion in the majority of rock bands. Beyond their name, they speak on how large the world is. “Wish I Knew You” speaks on how hard it is to find someone you truly love, and how it sometimes doesn’t occur until later in life. “Chase’s House” is mostly about coming to acceptance that there are things you will just never know about yourself. Finally, “Navigate Below” is largely about trying to find the best in yourself, and doing something with it.
The Revivalists are definitely a band fit for our busy, neverending world. They characterize how large the world is, and how unique every person is. Furthermore, they focus on how an individual may find their way in life.