For nearly a decade, Robert Jon and the Wreck has been one of the most consistent and prolific bands on the blues rock scene. The band will release its new album Last Light On The Highway on May 8th. Blues Rock Review caught up with frontman Robert Jon Burrison to discuss the album, how the band has evolved since its inception, and how the band is dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.
This is the third year in a row the band has released a new studio album. What keeps you inspired?
We don’t like to think of it in terms of inspiration because we all grew up waiting until the last minute to get things done. Nothing inspires us more than deadlines. If we don’t move fast, and with purpose, it’s easy to start overthinking things and that’s what kills us. If we know we’re going to make a new record every year we look for inspiration instead of waiting for it to come to us. It’s made us able to handle way more work, and, in the process, become better songwriters.
“Oh Miss Carolina” is the first single. What inspired that track?
“Oh Miss Carolina” is straight forward. We’ve all been a relationship that ended and imagined, “What if things would have gone differently?” It’s what a lot of our songs are about. That feeling is strong. We just do our best to keep trying to describe it.
Adding horns in “Work It Out” was a new sound for the band. What led to that?
We’ve always had it in our heads to add members as we go along. There’s just a bigger sound in our head than five people can accommodate right now. The song really lent itself to having horns, so we jumped at the opportunity.
The band has been going for nearly a decade now. Where has the band’s sound developed the most from then to “Last Light On The Highway”?
It’s interesting. Every now and again I listen to the old records to see how far we’ve come. We’ve discovered a little more about ourselves, but some songs off The Fire Started record we made in 2011 aren’t that far off from “Oh Miss Carolina”. Something like our song “Last Light on the Highway” is something only this version of the band could have done. There’s so much going on and it moves so well that I don’t know if we could have pulled that off ten years ago.
The band recently performed at Joe Bonamassa’s Keeping The Blues Alive At Sea cruise. How was that experience?
Just amazing. There’s a sense of camaraderie on the boat when you get to hang out with the same people for a few days at a time. You can start becoming friends with bands and fans instead of just having small quick interactions. We love meeting people, so it’s been a treat for us to be able to play on Joe’s cruises.
If you had a chance to tour with any band in the world for a double-bill, who would you pick?
We’d love to go on tour with the Rival Sons again. They’re so amazing every night so it’s a tour we’d never get tired of.
What has the band been doing with its time now that you’re off the road?
We’ve been rehearsing and really digging back into music. I’ve been personally cooking a lot. It’s something I really enjoy, and don’t get to do very much because of our busy schedule. The quarantine has given me a chance to get back into it.
Any plans for Facebook live concerts with touring not possible due to the coronavirus pandemic?
We’re working on it. We want to make sure it’s done well and that can be challenging. We had one planned and it just got rained out so we’re trying to figure out the next home.
What’s next for the band?
We’re waiting to see when we can actually get back to touring. In the meantime, we’re writing our next record and making sure we stay sharp.
Interview by Pete Francis
Robert Jon & The Wreck release their new album Last Light On The Highway on Friday 8th May.
Pre-order the album from www.robertjonandthewreck.com