There’s a reason legions of young rock fans fall in love with their parents’ records. It’s the same reason so many radio stations still play classic rock: Great music never gets old. And its what prompted singer and guitarist Ryan Michael to reinvent his sound, leaving behind his teenage past in a Warped Tour band signed to Warner Bros.
“I wanted to immerse ourselves,” explains Michael, now 29. “To learn the blues and country. It all just seemed so much more authentic to me than the shit going on around me in the North East.”
The entire band embraced those influences — the Beatles, Stones, Big Star, Black Crowes, Oasis and the Jayhawks. Along with guitarist/vocalist Sam Janik, bassist/vocalist Red Coker and drummer Dan Malone, The Roomsounds make their own sound, initially from a run down industrial space with no heating, cooling or plumbing. They’re now living in a proper house in East Dallas, but not much else has changed. There’s always someone over– beautiful women, musicians and what the band calls ‘permanent guests,” all decked out with long hair, big hats and bell-bottoms. They’ve created their own Exile in Dallas and the music shows it.
The Dallas Observer thought the band’s 2012 self-titled debut album was “consistent with their Keith Richards and Tom Petty worship, an unpretentious album of purist rock ‘n’ roll riffs.” Rodney Hall, owner of FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, heard the band through a friend. He dug their sound so much he invited the band to FAME Studios to record their sophomore album, Elm Street.
“It really inspired us to bring our A game,” admits Ryan. “Even in the control room, you see Duane Allman outtakes and it’s really hitting home. ‘OK, some really great people came out of here.’ I think it really inspired us to be the best we could be.”And like their heroes, The Roomsounds craft songs durable enough to become tomorrow’s classics.
“Musically we think of ourselves as a modern day Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers,” continues Michael. “We admire the way everyone in the band plays for the song. I'm lucky to have a band that understands that, because a lot of good players just want to get off on what they're playing as opposed to making the best song possible.”
Much of this spirit can be found in the title in the title track. “We played our first show in Dallas on Elm St,” says Michael. “It's the arty place where musicians, artists, and weirdos alike hang out and it's maintained that vibe for many years. The blues greats like Blind Lemon Jefferson, Lead Belly, and Robert Johnson often walked the streets and played the night clubs.”
"Take It All Wrong" started off as a folky-acoustic song and eventually became a straight-forward rocker.
"Wolf In Sheep's Clothing" is E.L.O. meets Beach Boys at a Big Star show and has a dreamy, California vibe. “My favorite memory of recording that song at FAME was when Larry Byrom, who played keys and guitar in Steppenwolf came in and laid down organ.”
"Baby's Got The Bluest Eyes" is a band favorite because it shows a side of the band that people don’t expect. “It feels good to put out something a little more tender. It takes more balls to bare your soul than to be loud.” The track was also the last to be recorded at FAME and was completed when the band found an old sitar-guitar in storage and took it in the control room.
“That’s probably my favorite moment on the album,” recalls Michael. “It has a unique sound that really makes the song for me. Back when were listening to mixes, when that moment it comes on, we just looked at each other and started laughing. That was awesome.”