By John Lindsay –
I recently caught up with the guys in Radio Romance to talk about their start and their new album called “The B Sides.” Actually, we were in a group chat talking about football and the new record, so I thought I would ask a few questions and let you hear their story from them.
I first heard the guys a few years back after a mutual friend saw them perform at Legends Corner in Nashville. I believe her exact words were, “You’ve got to hear these guys!”. Radio Romance is Sam Hayes (Vocals, Guitar), Josh Gramling (Vocals, Guitar) and Moises “Moi” Padilla (Drums). They are signed with Sony/ATV music and have been grinding non-stop since 2013. They are good friends, brothers, and kindred musical spirits who have been honing and refining their sound as a reflection of not only themselves, but those around them. It’s a hybrid, a modern country sound combined with lyrics that make me think back to the great groups of the 80’s like Alabama, Restless Heart, and Southern Pacific.
I asked how 3 guys from very different places and backgrounds came together to be a fixture on Broadway in Nashville. According to Sam, “The band really started around 2010ish. I was living in Nashville at the time, Josh was still in Virginia, and Moi was in Illinois.” I met Josh through a band project we were both hired to play in and around Virginia. It wasn’t my dream project or direction by any stretch, and I quickly learned it wasn’t Josh’s either.” Sam began knocking on doors in downtown Nashville in hopes of pursuing music full time and learned it was really what he wanted to do. After getting a few gigs downtown, he convinced Josh to drive from Richmond, VA. to Nashville on the weekends.
It was a few months later that Moi arrived from Illinois. A friend had called and asked if he wanted to do a “country” gig. Well, having never played country before he said, “sure, why not” and proceeded to learn 50 songs in 2 days, then drove to Nashville. He and another guitarist on the show then drove to Greensboro, North Carolina. As it turns out, the singer at that show was Sam and he met Josh while performing on-stage that night. “The rest as they say is history! A few months later I moved to Nashville and we started playing the honky tonks on Broadway”, stated Mio.
I asked about the bands name and received a story as unique as the name itself. It’s about a year later according to Sam, “we had been writing and practicing our own music together, but were still playing on Broadway as a cover band. We didn’t really have a band name, and even went as far as letting people name our band every night for a few extra bucks in the tip jar. Some were not so PG (laughs), and one night someone said, “Y’all need to take yourselves seriously because we do””.
It was that line that both knocked the wind out of the sails and simultaneously lit the fire. “We knew we had to get a legit band name that we felt was marketable, but unique, and start incorporating originals into our cover sets. Well, one Friday night after wrapping our set at Legends Corner, we started looking around at all the old records up on the walls. On the wall, strategically placed behind and old Bud light it seemed, was an album titled “Radio Romance.” We all thought it out and really liked it a lot. It wasn’t until later that we found out at the Country Music Hall of Fame that the 80’s era of country music is softly referred to as radio romance for artists ranging from Keith Whitley and George Strait, to Kenny and Dolly. Obviously that struck a chord with us and the name has stuck.” When asked about influences, I got a laundry list of that era’s country. Strait, Whitley and Alabama fused with Bob Seger and the pop rock of the 90’s (Matchbox 20, Goo Goo Dolls, and the like). And, of course, we are all parishioners in the Church Choir.
Well, now that we are all up to speed, Radio Romance has release 3 EP’s previous to the new album, each one a more mature effort than the previous. In fact, when asked for his favorite song they’ve written, Moi says, “I think we are really digging some of our newest songs that are yet to be heard by the public. But “How Do You Go” seems to be a bit of a game changer in our writing development. We all have our favorites, “Lose My Number” is one of mine.” “B-Sides” is a collection of songs written and worked into their live shows over the past year, and seemingly just the beginning with many more new songs coming down the line in the not so distant future. As Moi says, “It’s always progressing, trying to write songs that are true to our art, yet accessible to the country listener and country radio. It’s like trying to put the songwriting ingredients together in a perfect way, and with help from some really talented song writers we are continually getting better at writing commercially acceptable songs that could be cut by other artists but still have our unique Radio Romance sound.” Judging by the new songs on the “B-Sides”, they are certainly well on their way. Check out “Small Town Growing Up,” “Lose My Number,” “Make It Count,” and the latest single “All You Need to Be.”
The guys have played shows with Luke Bryan, Lee Brice, Michael Ray, Parmalee, Colt Ford, Aaron Lewis, ZZ Top and even a nationally televised performance of our National Anthem at the Darlington Motor Speedway this summer… they are really just hitting their stride. As for the future, Josh says, “A new single and EP in the spring that we hope to really push with a music video and a ton of tour dates to support it. It’s going to be a fun new year!”. Moi also added, “Hopefully expanding to Europe too!”
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