When the Ramblers started out in 2007, Counting Crows’ guitarist/multi-instrumentalist, David Immergluck, or “Immy,” happened to be in New York quite often and helped the now seven-piece band with its “double-lead guitar approach.” Immy also guest-starred on The Ramblers 2008 record, and joins in on some of their live shows.
“We tend to have a double lead guitar approach, no matter who’s joining us, which came out of those initial times playing with Immy,” notes lead guitarist/vocalist Jeremiah Birnbaum. “Since then, Mark, Bill and I have really developed that back-and-forth—almost like Stephen Stills’ and Neil Young’s famous ‘guitar duels’ from the Buffalo Springfield days. But no matter who’s joining us, Scott and I, as the primary melodic instrumentalists and vocalists, have a lot of interplay.”
Today, The Ramblers include Birnbaum, Scott Stein on piano/organ/vocals, Shawn Setaro on bass, Steve Purcell on drums, Shanna Zell on backing vocals, and Mark Marshall and Bill Bell alternating shows on the second lead guitar. Bell, who also plays lap steel, mandolin and pump organ, will be joining the contingent on Saturday night when the band plays the Great South Bay Music Fest. Their latest record, 2010’s “Getting There,” was born from American roots music—soul, folk, country, rock, blues—so the style can vary from track to track. The songs were co-written by Stein and Birnbaum, who says he was listening to a lot of Stax soul, as well as the Drifters, Elvis, and Jackson Browne when making the record.
“I think we’ve also managed to get more of our raucous, raw feel onto ‘Getting There,’ admits Birnbaum. “We took more of an old-school ‘live to tape’ approach, though we did use modern digital recording. No auto-tune, no fancy editing tricks, minimal overdubs. Most of what you hear on the record actually happened in the room, and we chose takes based on vibe rather than precision… The best compliment we’ve gotten on this album is that it sounds like a classic album. And I think our fans appreciate that sort of thing—real music made by real people.”
When the Brooklynites, who have opened for the Levon Helm Band on more that one occasion, hit the Jambalaya stage on Saturday, July 16th at 6:50pm, they hope to rock you out of your seat. Right now, they’re finishing the music video for “Give Me Music,” and, as Stein says, they’re “making plans to conquer Long Island through brute force.”
We’ve played more shows on Long Island this year than ever,” says Birnbaum. “Aside from the GSB Music Fest this weekend, we’ve played a private house party and are playing in Westhampton. Long Island folks love live music, and we love the welcoming feeling we’re getting from everyone.”
Check out this free live single of “Don’t Hold Your Fire,” released for The Rambler’s SXSW appearances: www.bit.ly/ramblershiddentrack