Dispatches from Spring Break ’99

It’s Spring Break. It’s at least 1/4 Spring Break. These arbitrary forays into leisure are ghost memories from many moons ago to the like of Cody and Ryan and me. But Adam has another month and a half left of his institutional academic pursuits, so Spring Break remains a construct inside the Train Robbing scoundrels’ paradigm.

We decided to take full advantage of this reprieve to cover some easterly ground. Before we left though, we made a stop at the oldest of stomping grounds: the campus coffeeshop at Anderson University, Mocha Joe’s. It’s where JP&GTR played our first show ever, opening for Mike Mains & the Branches on Halloween of 2011, before there was ever a record to promote. We figured it’s been long enough since we were on campus that we’d be old and irrelevant now, and we wanted to reconnect with the student population at 3/4 of us’ alma mater. While there, we did a live interview with our brilliant friend Matt Panfill, who directed our official music video for “Cave of Clouds.” That was followed by a live showing thereof. But now everyone can watch it. Right here!

Friday, we played The Comet with our friends, Royal Holland. I ate the spiciest burrito I’ve ever had in my entire life and learned to not do that when you’re living out of the van. There are so many food lessons to learn. The next night, we were supposed to be playing at Canal Street Saloon, but they informed me earlier in the week that they were closing their doors. Our buddy Charles from the Dayton band OldNews hooked us up with a last-minute show at South Park Tavern, where we had a blast playing and watching the incredible Salvadore Ross. We got to see our good buddies Michael and Hannah, with whom we ate tacos and went hiking on some beautiful, understated nature trails just outside the city.
Joshua of Joshua Powell & the Great Train Robbery
We also got to talk about our songs and do an interview on the Gem City Podcast. That episode will air soon!
Joshua Powell & the Great Train Robbery on Gem City Podcast

I don’t know if y’all saw it on social media, but we also got to go record at Audiotree last month! That was truly a dream come true and a milestone for us. You can see the whole session on Youtube or the Audiotree website, or listen to/buy the session on Spotify and Bandcamp!

In other news, our licensing agent is a beast and continues to do a ton of excellent work for us. Tonight, “Cave of Clouds,” will be featured in an episode of “The Fosters” on Freeform, formerly ABC Family. And on March 21st, we’ll have a song on the premiere of MTV’s “Teen Mom 2.” You read that right. Teen Mom 2. The song? “Birth Control.” Glorious irony.
Joshua Powell & the Great Train Robbery on The Fosters

We have a new t-shirt for sale! All of us in this band grew up playing heavier style of music. Adam was into KISS and ACDC, Ryan was/is a Breaking Benjamin type, I was digging Underoath and Comeback Kid, and Cody listened to bands that have words like “decapitation” in their names. I loved the nostalgic aesthetics of the “tough guy” hardcore shirts, so we recruited talented Indianapolis illustrator Daniel Jewett to create a metal-inspired tee for our folky little band. He came up with this shirt that we absolutely love and that you can buy from our online store. Jacob modeling a shirt for Joshua Powell & the Great Train Robbery

The last bit of news is concerning a lineup change. As much as we absolutely adore Cody Ray, he’s moving on to other things. He’ll be managing Heirloom, a dope little farm-to-table restaurant in Lafayette and spending more time with his family. In his place, we’re happy to recruit our good friends Jason Boucouras, who will be starting in April and accompanying us on a long summer’s worth of heavy touring. Welcome Jason. And we love you Cody. You’ll be missed.
Cody of Joshua Powell & the Great Train Robbery
We’ve got 100+ shows coming up. Most of them are up on Bandsintown. We can’t wait to see y’all! Covering as much ground as we know how.
Joshua Powell & the Great Train Robbery at Mocha Joe's in Anderson

Love you all. We’ll keep working. Keep in touch.

-Joshua

On Midwestern Forays with the New Boys

First, meet the cast:
Adam Shuntich—the longest standing member. The ex-Kiss tribute band playin’, Ohio-bred country boy who somehow got mixed up in this psych-folk business. He’s been duo-touring with me since July and now he’s running his stuff in stereo.
Ryan Corlew—our only locally grown Indiana soul, Ryan joined us a few weeks ago on the tubs. He’s the soft-spoken one of the bunch, but he beats the crap out of the drums. Sensitively. And he has a handsome mystique about him.
Cody Ray—we always call him by his full name. He’s the Lafayette commuter from Tennessee, self-described “cat daddy,” and bassmaster. He’s also running some keys for us like a multitasking champion.
Joshua—you know me.
Joshua Powell & the Great Train Robbery at New Vintage i
The preface:
Adam and I did a fast-paced jaunt through the Southeast. Saw our blood in Charleston, connected with old friends in Charlotte, made a whole slew of new ones in Virginia, and pulled an all-nighter from WV back home to go to bed at 7am in order to be adequately rested up for the next night at home at the Hi-Fi with Beyond Normal Sea and our good buddies in Saint Aubin. That show was off the dang chain.

The narrative:
I always forget how much it sucks to load the van for tour in the winter. We were all shivering while playing Tetris with our gear, but we packed more into our grey whale than she’s ever taken. Our first stop was south in Louisville where we hit the New Vintage for the first time with new pals Joann & the Dakota and The Bottom Sop, two sweetly powerful female-fronted bands, respectively in a 90’s hued roots rocks and classic harmonized country outfits. Our buddy Jonathan hooked us up with a crash pad, some classic Pabst time, and all-around good fellowship.
Then we headed up to Champaign-Urbana, that glorious foothold of emo, and we played at Emily’s (of the band Tara Terra) house with Rebecca Rego (Anais Mitchell, meet Laura Marling), and Eric Stanley of Euriah for a beautifully attentive living room crowd. We played with no PA, so the boys were gracefully muted in their dynamics so as not to overshadow my best attempt at projecting through my stupid head cold haze. After the show we all went down to Cowboy Monkey and Adam and I wearily played a few songs at a raucous open mic and hung with our buddy Darwin, the King of Urbana. At least we call him that.

Winter in Bloomington
From there, it was on to Bloomington for a double-header. We met up with our buddies Alex & the XO’s and hit a super punk house show where we were hands down the outliers. I haven’t seen so many black-clad youths since my days in the SoFlo hXc scene, but, true to the ethos of punk, everyone was very accepting and supportive, and we had a blast watching all the heavier bands. Then we headed over to The Bistro to play our longer set. It wasn’t a packed house, but I had the realization, nay the remembrance, in the first song, that I actually just love playing music, so we enjoyed playing for our own sake and for that of those one or two dozen folks who stayed up past bedtime on a school night. And as far as hospitality goes, no one takes better care of us than Alex and Trenton. We always have a blast discussing various tour stops and methods and petting their weirdly endearing, deformed little cat. Our first night there, Ryan asked me, “Are people on the road just always this cool? Like I can’t believe how hospitable everyone is.” I had to pretty much just say yes. There’s nothing like touring to reassure you of the general decency of humanity—there’s love everywhere, man.
I’m typing this on the van ride to Newport, KY, where we’re getting down with a bangin’ Cincinnati bill (My Brother’s Keeper, Brittany Gillstrap, and Lamps & Voids). It’s impossible to have a bad show with a lineup like that as far as I know. Youngstown is next, and Dayton’s WinterFolk festival is after that.
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The performance review:
I adore these guys. Adam is a trusty road dog who never minds the long drives or the $3 Taco Bell budget. Ryan stays with the click like an old pro and has brought a really cool, definitive percussive element to the ensemble. He’s also just a good hang though, and the importance of that can never be understated. Cody is killing it, too. He multitasks better than I ever could, and he’s socially skilled like few musicians are. I especially dig the fact that he never shirks from engaging our hosts. It’s tough when you get back to folks’ house sometimes and you just want to veg out, but conversation is a part of the exchange, and he lends a lot of value to these interactions, being a well-versed and versatile guy.
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We’re all really excited to bring this new show to all of your cities and as always, we sincerely appreciated your continued support. If you check our tour dates and think, “Oh, I have some friends in Columbus!” Let those people know. We’ve been grassroots since day one, and it’s that kind of word of mouth that helps us fill these little clubs.

See you cats out there. Keep in touch.
Ryan Corlew of the Great Train Robbery