Thomas and the Work-Men: The Rittenhouse Session
I first came across Thomas and the Work-Men back in March on the Promowest Local Discover playlist and ever since their tracks have repeatedly found their way back into my listening regiment. They’re fresh, they’re fun, they put on an extremely tight live performance (blew me away last week at Shrunken Head), and above all else they’re genuinely nice dudes who are passionate about music and the Columbus music scene. They also know how to hustle. In the past year they’ve released a two part LP (Speak in the Vernacular, Pt.I and Speak in the Vernacular, Pt II), kept a steady schedule of shows, played at several local music festivals including Homestead and Patchbay Fest, and set out on two regional tours.
Their most recent tour brought their contagious funk rock concoction and energetic dance-inducing live performance to stages in New York City, Charlotte (NC), Charleston (SC), Nashville, Atlanta, Athens, and Philadelphia’s Rittenhouse Soundworks where they recorded/filmed their entire live performance with the goal of creating a promotional video. They came across the opportunity when their friends in the Philly-based surf rock group Dry Reef linked them up with Rittenhouse’s engineer Tyler Ripley who recorded, mixed, and mastered their live performance. He also edited the film work captured by Phil Lenok that evening. Gino (vocals/guitar) and Luke (Saxophone) assured me they were on their A-game that night, and when all said and done they were blown away by the way it all looked and sounded.
Tyler, who they proclaim as a wizard, suggested they release the performance as an album. Having performed well, and seeing the expertly crafted final product was all it took to convince them the album should be shared with the world. It makes sense too. “We have grown a lot since releasing our first album in the springtime of this past year. These songs allowed us to play very successful hometown shows as well as tour all over the Midwest, parts of the East coast, and the South. The live album represents the journey we took after releasing our debut album. Most of the songs have evolved. Our individual parts are played slightly different and the songs as a whole have a unique spin on them” they explained. The album will also allow folks to get a feel for their live shows if they haven’t already.
Today they’re releasing a video from this Philly session of a fan favorite track titled “Secrets” which will also be released as a single on Spotify and Apple Music on November 1st. Come November 15th the entire session will be released as a live album on all major streaming platforms. It’ll include Secrets, Eva Peron, No Fools, Vernacular, Vernacular Pt. II, Maryanne, Take My Time, Eno, Cleopatra, and a surprise cover they were reluctant to reveal. “We all met in college, and it’s a song that we thoroughly enjoyed during those days. Playing it really takes us back, and we hope that our friends from college that have really supported us over the past couple of years feel the same way. This one is for them!” Perhaps some of you out there know what song it is.
To date I’ve seen these guys live three times and I must say they know how to put a crowd into motion. From the first note they demand the rooms attention and never really let go. Seriously, it’s one of those shows where sixty minutes passes by before you realize how sweaty you’ve become and that you’ve been holding your breath for half the time. They’re refined, compelling, and have an undeniable flow that never lets the swells of energy die down. The songs effortlessly bleed together into one long feverish adventure, and all the while you have this dumb smile stuck on your face that says I don’t know how to dance but I’m doing it anyways. From anthemic rock forward choruses to steady beat, rapped verses - they cover many bases, all of which keep things moving forward. Don’t take it from me though. Give the album a listen and catch them live at Woodlands Tavern on November 15th to celebrate the album release. The show will also be a farewell party for their bassist Ryan who will be performing with them one last time before moving to Denver. The band wants to send him off with a proper banger as a means of thanking him for his hard work and dedication in filling out the low end for the past two years. They wish him the best of luck and are excited to welcome Matt Luebbers as the newest Work-Man. Be sure to mark your calendars, but until then check out the video below to get a little taste of what’s in store.