The alternative rock/ jam band, The Revivalists, got their totally-relatable start in New Orleans, Louisiana not long ago in 2007. Guitarist Zach Feinberg and drummer Andrew Campanelli already knew each other prior forming The Revivalists as we know them. They were no strangers to jamming out and performing. At this point, though, the band was not quite complete. While the creative soundings of their guitar and drums were enough to make a crowd swoon, the duo did not stop there. It was actually by chance that, while headed out from campus, Zach came across David Shaw – the guy who would become one of the band’s guitarists.
Zach, instead of going his regular bike route, took an alternative route to where he was going, and heard the dulcet vocals and melodious strummings of David Shaw, singing his original “Purple Heart,” (which managed to land on their second album Vital Signs, released in 2010). Zach approached David while he was mid-tune. Like anyone else, David was really taken back a bit, until Zach urged him to keep playing and singing, as he wanted to hear the rest of the song. Zach wasted no time inviting David to his house later that day – of course hashing over music. Passion and masterminding gave these three guys a little more than a week before it led them to naming themselves just before their first show together at Tipitina’s.
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The large band now also includes the extravagant talents of Ed Williams on his pedal steel guitar, Rob Ingraham on the sax, George Gekas on bass, and Michael Girardot double-timing on the keyboard and trumpet. This amalgam of instruments definitely leaves unforgettable marks on the band’s audience, and much more is to come.
The Rebirth Brass Band was the first band to take the Revivalists on the road with them, and helped them along the way as their own little fledgling. It was not long after that the band realized they had become recognized in their own community as musicians – a warm and welcoming feeling, and a real dream come true.
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Meet The Band
Without further delay, meet The Revivalists:
Zach was a student in New Orleans when he helped to form the band. Some of his inspiration comes from Bob Dylan, B.B King, Bruce Springsteen, and Bob Marley, among many others. Around the young age of around 8, Zach had an affinity to blues music and began playing the guitar. Today, his arsenal consists of a few Fenders, a Marin acoustic, and a blazing array of effects pedals that can be heard throughout the band’s compositions.
Michael Girardot joined the revivalists in 2011. Despite this, he was still no stranger to the stage or to rock. Since 2004 he has been part of the New Orleans rock scene. Multitalented, Michael is capable of singing, writing songs, and playing the keyboard and the trumpet, and has definitely made himself an asset to The Revivalists. He also founded the New Orleans indie Rock Collective and Foburg Festival, so that fellow musicians like himself can get the exposure they need.
David Shaw, native to Ohio, has his little arsenal of Fenders and renowned Gibsons as he plays the role of lyricist and rhythm guitarist. His blending of indie Soul and folk with the principles of rock and roll is a definite plus in the band’s successes.
Ed Williams also has a long history of being in music – since he was just a young child. He was introduced to the guitar later, however, and the steel guitar even later. He loved the sound of it, and it became his thing. When Ed felt the lessons getting stale, he began to emulate those whom he admired.
Rob Ingraham played various instruments throughout his childhood, and it was at age 12 that he picked up the saxophone. Grade 6 through college, Rob spent his time playing the sax and studying jazz as much as possible. The professors at Tulane – the college he attended – proved to be of real benefit to him, as he learned much. He now rocks out with his Sax Gourmet Super 400 Tenor.
Native to Virginia, Andrew Campanelli started as a young musician also. He touched the instrument that would become his career at age 11 – the drums. AS time passed, working in the kitchen of the State Theatre (a music venue near where he lived) he came to appreciate the at the music in New Orleans was special, and decided to get involved with it a little more (by a little, we mean a lot!) Andrew moved to New Orleans to attend Loyola University, and to be as close as possible to the music he had come to love.
George Gekas lived in Connecticut before coming to New Orleans. It was in Connecticut that he owned his first bass. George attributes his stylings to the man who gave his bass lessons to him when he was just 13 years old. George ended up in New Orleans when he received an academic scholarship to attend Loyola.
What They Have Done
Things are consistently looking up for the band, and they’re moving full speed ahead. When their most recent album, Men Amongst Mountains (2015) debuted, it ranked number 2 on Billboard Alternative Albums, and top 10 in iTunes’ Alternative Albums chart. No matter what move the band makes, their fans are with them 100%, and that really encourages The Revivalists to keep going as they are. They are a unique bunch with a unique sound – people are really loving that and their down-to-earth ‘this is who we are and this is what we do’ approach to their music. So that is what they do, and it’s taking the band to places they would have only dreamed of.
The Revivalists are best known for Wish I Knew You, Soulfight, It Was a Sin, and Keep Going. Throughout their albums, they show a wide array of emotions and stylings – acoustics and croonings to danceable rock-outs, there are a few tracks for everyone. Each member gets put his own fingerprint in each song in one way or another, whether Zach is tapping out some blue licks, Rob and Michael gusting away some horns to wax a sultry mood, or Ed’s strumming some major steel. They leave no doubt as to the direction and emotion of each song.
As of June 21, The Revivalists have made an official announcement of their “Strangers in the Bright Lights” Fall 2016 tour, where they will be bouncing between Alabama, Ohio, and Massachusetts, and many points in between starting September 7th. Pre-sale is still in progress and upgraded tickets have the options of including “Men Amongst Mountains” vinyl package, or meet and greet plus a signed vinyl. The official site makes it clear that these offers are limited. Just in case you can’t wait until the fall touring begins, they have dates clear through the summer until that time comes.
by Angelique Harris
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