SEVEN MILE RIDE
The panoramic cover of Seven Mile Ride’s highly anticipated debut depicts a dirt road winding through green fields of farmland under a moody sky looming with explosive and infinite possibilities. Though the road in the picture is somewhere in Spain, it’s the perfect metaphor for the Seattle-based rock powerhouse’s dynamic career to date and the promise of an equally exciting future. Rolling across the landscape in the sidecar of the Rock Machine, the eight track collection vibrates with songs whose melodies and riffs you can’t get out of your head and whose lyrics hold true to the human experience.
Seven Mile Ride fuses the rich lifetime of talent and experience of four unique musicians who are all vets of the Northwest Music Scene. Lead vocalist/guitarist Shane Rushton, lead guitarist Randy Shemwell, bassist/keyboardist Eric Montgomery and percussionist Steve Humphrey have credit sheets a mile long and have worked with the crème of the crop of the musicians, producers, promoters and, yes, characters who have come out of the great green Northwest bio-mass. Formed three years ago by Rushton as an outlet for his songwriting talent that his previous band failed to provide, Seven Mile Ride’s ferocious blend of classic blues and edges from 70s, 80s, 90s and contemporary alt-rock has been stirring up a major, critically acclaimed fuss in The Emerald City from the get-go.
While they’ve been holed up in the studio for much of the past year working on the album, the band has developed a strong rep throughout Western Washington for its gigs at the big Bite of Seattle Festival, the classic downtown club The Central (The Grunge Scene’s Ground Zero back in the early 90s) and even a local benefit for Hope Link which helped raise $4,000. Although it’s cool to play renowned haunts and well-publicized events, Seven Mile Ride also has had a blast popping in at little road houses in the middle of nowhere like Pete’s in Carnation, Washington--gigs that have allowed them to shed and develop their most compelling material.
“We love being Seven Mile Ride because it can mean so many different things,” says Shemwell, a Missouri native who is the only member of SMR not from Northwest Washington. “It’s about the journey of life, the idea that we’re all going someplace. As a former pro motorcycle racer who once played with biker bands in Phoenix, I love the wide open road vibe, and that’s part of what we do when we play these great hole in the wall places. The other thing we learned is that if you jumped from a space station, you would be burning through the atmosphere for seven miles! We’ve all done a lot of interesting things in our musical lives, from me playing with Rebel Princess KK Ryder to Shane working with an Eagles cover band. But there’s something about the chemistry we all have with Seven Mile Ride that makes this band our favorite ever!”
Seven Mile Ride’s debut is an exhilarating musical document of their unique moment in indie rock history that captures in beautiful yet raw terms the gritty energy of their live shows. The hard charging “Dance Song” is a strong metaphor for a really good gig when the whole joint is rocking. It’s about the dual perspective of an old man railing at the joyful exuberance of the younger generation while a young girl grooves on the dance floor, fully embracing the moment. The jamming, jangling opening track “Face In A Crowd” has the lyrical thrust of The Doors’ “People Are Strange,” contemplating the oddness that the people who can make the biggest difference in our world can walk by us anonymously while we pay attention only to the beautiful ones. “Chase the Past Away” is about moving forward, getting out of the house and living life to the fullest (celebrate, but don’t get too crazy with joy!), while the searing yet heartfelt “Always” is the closest SMR comes to a love ballad.
“As hard as we worked on getting this debut album to show our strengths as a band,” Shemwell says, “it’s really the spontaneity in our live shows that takes us to another level. One time when we did The Central, we broke from the set list and Shane just started playing off the cuff. As he improvised, it was like we could all read his mind and we started playing along, making up a great song right on the spot—and the crowd responded. That’s what makes Seven Mile Ride what it is, this special camaraderie we share that then connects with our audience. They may get into the music at first, but as they keep listening, our goal is to make them realize that the true power behind that music is the words that really say something meaningful about life and the human condition.”
EP reveiw from 'NeuFutur' webzine:
"Seven Mile Ride - S/T
by James on NeuFutur
The first track on this EP is “Face in the Crowd”, and the song itself is a perfect introduction to the music tour de force that is Seven Mile Ride. This is due to the fact that the band is hitting on all cylinders, creating a brand of rock that is unique will still playing on some of the genre’s best known acts. The strong vocals present during this introductory track will ensure that the compositions on this EP will stick with listeners well after the final track, “Chase the Past Away” finishes up. The disc’s second track, “At Home”, blends together equal parts Moody Blues and Goo Goo Dolls into a driven bit of rock that will keep toes tapping throughout.
“Always” is a slower track that links together Warren Zevon, Tom Petty and even a little Chris Cornell into a bit of alt-rock that would easily make it onto any college rock station that this EP finds itself at. Instead of merely doing a track in that format, Seven Mile Ride place the bar higher with a sizzling guitar solo that would prove difficult to even the most storied guitar virtuosos. “Keep To Myself” fits in well to the alternative rock style first broached during “Always”, but is more compelling than any other track on this EP as it skillfully and deftly blends together instrumental and vocal elements to make something that will challenge listeners’ assumptions about the band and about rock music generally. This style continues through the Wall of Voodoo-influenced penultimate track, “Silver Lining”, and dissipates by the time that the disc’s final track, “Chase The Past Away”, plays. “Chase The Past Away” is a straightforward rock track that places Seven Mile Ride at a crossroads that ensures that they could take a countless number of directions for subsequent releases.
I left this self-titled CD in my car for weeks after the initial listen, and I sit here eagerly waiting for the next bit of news - whether it be live dates or an upcoming full length album - to be issued from Seven Mile Ride’s headquarters. If you like rock music that never is afraid to take on different genres, styles, or approaches, this eight-track release should be the next thing that you pick up."