“There’s a light that keeps on shining on and on.” So goes the lyric of “There’s A Light,” the first song on Reno Bo’s debut album HAPPENINGS AND OTHER THINGS. And a bright light it is. Only one song in and the tune’s soaring blue-eyed soul chorus is already lodged into that three-minute-pop-song-loving part of your brain. Not a bad start. By the time the record’s forty-one minute playing time goes by in a sea of Petty-esque hooks, guitar solos, rockers, ballads, pianos, organs and harmonies, it is evident that Reno Bo has swung for the fences and hit a genuine rock and roll home run. There’s power in this pop. It rolls as it rocks. HAPPENINGS AND OTHER THINGS makes it official: an exciting new artist has arrived and the name is Reno Bo.
Great. But what exactly is a ‘Reno Bo’? Is it a man? Is it a band? The answer is both. Reno Bo is the man who wrote this album. Reno Bo is the band who recorded it. Confused? Don’t be. It’s fairly simple. Reno Bo is a songwriter and musician who spent the better part of the last three years on the road, as a touring bass player for Strokes guitarist Albert Hammond Jr. and NYC garage rockers The Mooney Suzuki. Between tours and on breaks, Bo starting piecing together the recordings that would make up the songs for his first solo album. He and drummer Will Scott laid down the foundation then Bo overdubbed guitars, basses and vocals. His knack for pop hooks attracted the talents of Fountains Of Wayne main man Adam Schlesinger who appears as producer on the track “Shake Me Up.” He then enlisted a short list of friends to come in to play various other instruments and parts. By the time his touring commitments with Hammond were finished in the fall of 2008, Bo decided to make the move from his native New York to Nashville, TN where he currently resides. There he assembled his band (known lovingly as “Reno Bo”), put the finishing touches on the album and dedicated the second half of 2009 to its release and promotion.
“The time was right to make an album,” Bo explains. “I had been touring as a member of other people’s bands for years but had these songs brewing. I wanted the album to flow and to be an experience as a cohesive collection of songs like the classic rock and roll records I love. I wanted to be a part of that tradition.” Bo injects the album with that unknown magical substance some of the best classic albums contain. “I See Stars” combines the melodious joy of a Teenage Fanclub tune with Zuma era Neil Young. Byrds/Beach Boys harmonies soar over jangling guitars in “Here Right Now.” On the acoustic ballad “Baby, You’re Not Feelin’ Me Tonight,” Bo ruminates on the roads not taken in the midst of a doomed relationship when he delivers the line “We can’t get at what we used to have it’s a treasure wrapped in chains / A sleigh of tigers drove my heart and I gave you the reins.” HAPPENINGS AND OTHER THINGS is a record to grow with. It’s one of those
albums that is instantly enjoyable yet reveals more of itself to the listener upon repeated plays.
“I don’t know what it is that compels an artist to share his work,” says Bo. “Any painter or
musician could easily do their work in the comfort of his bedroom without anyone’s knowledge. Maybe it’s a compulsive disorder of some kind that we collectively share. To me, rock and roll is the people’s music and it belongs to them. No need to keep it hid. I plan to keep on making as many records as I can.” If HAPPENINGS AND OTHER THINGS is any indication of what is to come, the future is bright for Reno Bo. There’s a light indeed.