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When New York-based Columbus frontman Ross Kanter first started writing the songs that would eventually become Worried Man, he knew he had a story to tell. The Chicago son was raised on what Kanter calls “story music.” His obsession with Americana – spanning from country hero Hank Williams, to Delta Bluesmen such as Charlie Patton and Robert Johnson, to the Dylan-era folk revival – is the foundation of Columbus’ sound and the touchstone for the stories told in their songs.
The songs for Columbus’ debut album, Worried Man, began to emerge in late 2012 from sessions between Kanter and drummer David Rowe. Feeling the potential of the material, Kanter quickly enlisted friend Sam Blake to play bass. A few months later, upon his return to New York from a cross-country hitchhiking trip, Kevin Schwartzbach joined the band, and Zach Walter was brought in to help with tracking and production of the album. The five of them toiled for over a year in their subterranean rehearsal space in DUMBO, Brooklyn, affectionately known as the Brickhouse. Coated in cigarette ash, festooned with rats, adorned with broken cymbals and a host of musical gadgets from a by-gone era: the Brickhouse is a true Brooklyn DIY paradise. By the time they emerged, Columbus had an album in tow and a unique sound that transcends its Americana roots. Kanter’s bluesy croon and abstract yet poignant lyrics combine with Blake’s powerful basslines, Rowe’s fluttering drums, and Schwartzbach’s multi-instrumental talents to create a sound all their own. The old forms are still there, now fused with contemporary indie/alternative influences and a proclivity for the experimental – both in the studio and onstage.
For the bulk of 2014, Columbus has been playing shows all around the New York area to promote Worried Man. Even as they hone their live sound, they continue to experiment in the Brickhouse. Currently they are working on a double EP, Americana Inn/Prettiest Girl in School, set to be released this summer.