Stop Light Observations Plays At Revelry Room June 21

Wednesday, May 31, 2017
Stop Light Observations
Stop Light Observations
- photo by Alex Boquist

Stop Light Observations will play at Revelry Room at the Chattanooga Choo Choo on Wednesday, June 21, at 9 p.m.  Tickets are $10 and available here.

Review for Stop Light Observations: 

While making new album Toogoodoo, Stop Light Observations’ search for meaning led them on a journey of ecstatic highs and intense lows, personal setbacks and artistic triumphs. Ultimately, it led the Charleston band straight back home to South Carolina’s Toogoodoo River. 

The roots of SLO go back to high school, when, at age 16, songwriter and pianist Cubby (aka John Keith Culbreth) and singer Will Blackburn realized they’d been childhood friends and neighbors and decided to form a band. But things didn't truly take off until a few years later when SLO released their acclaimed 2013 debut, Radiation. They went from relative unknowns to playing Bonnaroo and selling out Charleston's largest club, The Music Farm, in just a year. Since then, they've broken the record for most consecutive sold-out shows at The Music Farm and have toured across the country, playing standout festival sets at Firefly and Summerfest. Stop Light Observations have also been featured at major national outlets from Conan O’Brien’s Team Coco and PBS  to Impose, PopMatters and Garden & Gun.

Despite SLO’s sudden success, they eventually fell victim to some music-industry shadiness, and hit a low point in Colorado at the end of a tour, facing a depleted budget, no shows on the books and the potential dissolution of the band. "I remember sitting in the van wondering, ‘What are we gonna do? How are we even gonna make another record,’” recalls Blackburn. "I said, 'Why don't we go out to Toogoodoo?'" 

Toogoodoo is a 200-year-old house owned by Cubby’s family about 30 minutes outside Charleston on the banks of the Toogoodoo River. The property overlooks immense, brackish marshes where the ocean and river water meet, and the specter of Charleston's dark history hangs heavy, a counterbalance to the currents of peaceful serenity and the property’s natural splendor. SLO decided the only way to properly record an album in this setting was to track everything live with the whole band, and then mix it down to analog tape. Once they they nailed what felt like a perfect take, they’d cut it again with even more intensity. Sometimes 40 takes deep into a song, band members would call for one more, and one more again until something undeniably transcendent happened. 

"I grew up in a church, and it was a Holy Spirit type situation," says Cubby. "Every time we got the one, we all knew it. There were no arguments—every song on this album captures that deep level of emotion we felt performing it. Every song you hear is the take and every time I listen it takes me right back.” 

Toogoodoo opens with the first notes SLO recorded there, the haunting, palm-muted hook of Louis Duffie's guitar on "Dinosaur Bones." As a chorus of crickets fades into the Low Country night, Blackburn's voice enters on top, smooth at first but gaining grit and gravel with each verse, musing on loneliness in the modern world over the intensifying rhythms of drummer Luke Withers. "Decorated on the outside, but empty at my core," he sings, setting the stage for a 12-track journey through middle-class alienation. 

The stories on Toogoodoo will at once feel familiar and revelatory, as SLO takes an insightful look at the contradictions of a modern society where the internet puts the world at our fingertips, yet still we often feel alone and unfulfilled. The solutions, they discovered while creating this album, don't lie in possessions, status or anything external. 

"There's no such thing as security,” Cubby says, “and all the answers and fulfillment you're searching for is a daily struggle that lives within you. It's your responsibility to love and accept yourself, and to share the energy you receive from that with others. And that's what this album is. It's the story of some 23-year-olds living in America."

PHOTOS: Cole Sitzlar Band At Riverbend

Cole Sitlzar is a young aspiring country artist from a small town in East Tennessee. Being from the south his Papaw taught him many life lessons about hard work, dedication, respect, and to never forget God. However, music came very natural. He taught himself how to play guitar and write songs such as his first single “My Home” in which he describes his hometown with humility and ... (click for more)

PHOTOS: Music Variety At Riverbend

UTC's College Of Business Receives $40 Million, The Biggest Gift In School History

The largest philanthropic gift in the history of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga has been made to the University’s College of Business by Gary W. Rollins and Kathleen Rollins of Atlanta. This historic, $40-million gift also marks the first college to be named at UTC. The University of Tennessee Board of Trustees, at its annual meeting in Knoxville on Friday, voted ... (click for more)

2 Chattanoogans Were Among 3 People Killed In Collision With Train In McMinn County

Two Chattanoogans were among three people killed when a car was struck by a train in McMinn County on Thursday afternoon. The Ford Fusion that was hit was driven by Wendy M. Humphreys, 45, of Chattanooga. She was not wearing a seat belt. Johnny M. Ashworth, 46, of Chattanooga was one of the passengers. Jasmine Ashworth was also in the car. She and Johnny Ashworth had on ... (click for more)

The Boss, Claude Ramsey

I try not to overuse the word great, but we lost a great man today, Claude Ramsey. I had the pleasure of serving under him as director of Commercial and Industrial Properties for 14 years while he was the Hamilton County Assessor of Property. He was probably the smartest person I have ever known. He was tough but patient, kind, caring and compassionate. He knew how to get ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Saturday Funnies

You know that rattlesnakes, copperheads and water moccasins are deadly reptiles that we in the South must avoid at all costs but then again, snakes are part-and-parcel of the Sothern culture. Some years ago, before the Alabama football team was preparing to play Notre Dame, a Chicago sports writer asked a Crimson Tide player the bigger difference between the two college juggernauts ... (click for more)