Robert Jon & The Wreck have always bucked Orange County's surf and punk sounds for gritty, Southern-style rock and roll. The group's official full-length album, Glory Bound, debuts on Tuesday and reveals rowdy jams and resonating hooks that are worthy of Southern praise and festival stages alike. The album is the catalyst for an upcoming European tour, and was recorded at Sunset Sound Studios in Hollywood with Aerosmith producer, Warren Huart. Robert Jon & The Wreck will hit The Wayfarer in Costa Mesa on Saturday night for the album release party, with support from fellow local acts Big Monsta and Sir Madam.
The overseas tour is a welcome adventure into new territory for the Orange County based rockers, who have performed their anthemic rock tunes across the U.S. The whirlwind tour kicks off in March, hitting 26 cities throughout Europe in a tight 30-day time frame. "At this point, we're just making sure everyone has their passports," guitarist Kris Butcher says with a chuckle. "All the hard work's done, now we just have to get on the plane and go."
One of the most surprising aspects of Glory Bound is the fact that it was recorded in one day. Under the direction of Huart, who produced the group's EP Rhythm of The Road, the band managed to lay down 10 tracks in less than 24 hours. The session took place in between tours, and RJ&TW share that they were more than happy to reunite with the lauded producer. The recording session not only strengthened the group's relationship with Huart, it also caught the attention of producer Jack Douglas whose work includes credit on John Lennon's "Imagine."
"[Douglas] works closely with our producer, and he was there when we were catching up with him. [Douglas] pulled us aside and said something along the lines of 'You guys are crazy,'" lead singer Robert Jon Burrison shares. Butcher adds with a smile, "The guy who worked on Imagine had something to say about our session–no big deal."
The session resulted in Glory Bound, whose sound is rounded out by keyboardist Steve Maggiora, bassist Nick Phakpiseth, and drummer Andrew Espantman. The album has a handful of standout tracks, including the radio-ready crossover track "Cold Night" that could easily find its way onto the country charts. "Let Her Go" builds on darker, Southern rock roots and should resonate with anyone who has washed down a past love with a bottle of whiskey. Another highlight on the album is "Mary Anne," a song Butcher reprised from his former band, Nicole Vaughn and Her Lovely Things. Vaughn makes a guest appearance for the revived tune, where she and Burrison lament of love lost. The duet reveals an unexpected tenderheartedness that gives Glory Bound depth and grace.
"I wrote that song when I was in a band with Nicole, and we used to play it a lot," says Butcher. "We didn't really do anything with it back then, so I had it in my back pocket and showed it to the guys and they said, let's do it. I think it came out amazing."
Overall, the album is an enticing effort that's tailor-made for road trips with the top down. Given the band's engaging and energetic live shows, the upcoming European tour and new album have the potential to propel the band onto a much broader platform -which is something that Robert Jon and his Wreck are ready for.
"This is the album we want everyone to hear, our heart and souls are on there," says Burrison. "We think this album is good enough to push us to places we haven't been before, and we're ready to jump."
Robert Jon & The Wreck perform at The Wayfarer, 843 W 19th St., Costa Mesa (949) 764-0039; www.wayfarercm.com; Saturday, February 28 at 8 p.m., $8 – $10, 21+. For more information on Robert Jon N the Wreck visit www.robertjonandthewreck.com