The Record Company ready to ‘Give It Back To You’ in Reno

Tahoe Onstage
Members of the The Record Company pose for a photo backstage at the Vaudeville Tent at the 2016 High Sierra Music Festival. The Grammy nominated band debuts at Cargo Concert Hall in Reno.
Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage

These guys rock. So how is it that they were nominated for a Grammy Award in 2017 for Best Contemporary Blues Album?

In The Record Company, they switch it up. Last summer, they released their sophomore album, “All Of This Life,” via Concord Records. A year in the making, it features 10 original songs.

“After that first album (“Give It Back To You”), everything just got amplified,” said frontman Chris Vos in a statement. “Our lives got crazier and bigger and more complicated in the best possible ways, and our sound and our songwriting just naturally grew alongside that. We’re the same people we always were, but The Record Company isn’t just three guys in a living room anymore.”

The Record Company will debut at the Cargo Concert Hall in Reno on Friday, March 1. But local music lovers will remember the band from its inspirational performances in 2016 and 2017 at the nearby High Sierra Music Festival.

Lead singer-guitarist Vos said the band’s 2016 opening set in the Vaudeville Tent was a turning point.

“That’s when things started to seem a little different,” he told Tahoe Onstage during the festival in 2017. “We had a wonderful reception and we were shocked and excited by that because it was the beginning of having experiences like that where we show up somewhere so far from home and people actually know the music.”

Tahoe Onstage
The Record Company rocks Big Meadow in 2017.
Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage

Formed in 2012, The Record Company released a pair of EPs and independently toured California, the Midwest and Canada. It also supported other bands on larger tours, including Buddy Guy, J.J. Grey and Mofro and Galactic. The band will be on the road with Bob Seger on his farewell tour this winter when it will have a one-off in Reno.

“Being an opening band is a great experience because it’s a clean slate, people have no expectations of you, so if you get something going with them it’s a bonus,” Vos said. “It sharpens the edges of your sound, it trims the fat and hardens the whole thing to become more of a solid unit.”

It signed with Concord Records in 2016 and its first effort brought the blues Grammy nomination.

“The blues community was amongst the first who really supported us,” he said. “It was really a great kickstart for us. We’re not trying to fit into any one mold we’re just playing our music and whatever it’s gonna be called is cool. But if you asked me what it is, I’d call it rock and roll.”

During an evening set at the 2017 High Sierra Music Festival, the power trio of Los Angeles transplants laid it out, delivering three hits from their inaugural album and then some.

“Baby I’m Broken,” the band’s newest song on the radio waves, “Off The Ground,” which reached No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Alternative Songs chart, and “Rita Mae Young,” probably the coolest tune in the set, recharged an audience that had baked all day.

Vos (guitars/lap steel and lead vocals) and Alex Stiff {bass and backup vocals} just might be playing harmonica on one song or another, and drummer Mark Cazorla takes up other percussion when he’s not on the set.

That’s a lot of sound, and equal energy, from three guys onstage. Their influences range from bluesman John Lee Hooker to punk’s The Stooges to rock’s The Rolling Stones.

At Bottlerock in Napa last May, Vos made it clear: “We’re The Record Company. We play rock and roll.” In addition to those at the festival, more than 10,000 people listened to their one-hour set on a Twitter live stream.

The band played new music and old, sandwiching “Life To Fix,” a single released from its newest album, between the hits “Rita Mae Young” and “Off The Ground” from “Give It Back To You” and also debuted a couple of the new tunes. Vos told the Bottlerock audience: “Thanks for giving us your ears.”

Voss danced about the stage in old-school Converse tennis shoes, sporting his signature snub-billed black cap and waiting until the last 15 minutes to toss off a matching denim coat on a warm spring evening, switching out several electric guitars, an acoustic and a slide guitar along with a couple harmonicas, to boot.

While The Record Company’s two studio albums are exceptional, the live performances are epic.

“Each night the energy can change and we try to follow that and flow with it,” Vos said. “We’re not trying to dictate a live show, we’re trying to participate.”

— Randy Hashagen and Tim Parsons

  • The Record Company
    When: 8 p.m. Friday, March 1; doors open at 7
    Where: Cargo Concert Hall
    Tickets: $17-$25

ABOUT Tahoe Onstage

Tahoe Onstage
Tahoe Onstage is an online entertainment and sports magazine covering Lake Tahoe, Truckee, Reno, the Carson Valley and June Lake.

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