Terramara is the brainchild of Minneapolis-based singer/songwriter/keyboardist Rob Meany, who formed the group in 1998. Over the last ten years the band has released three full-length albums and won numerous awards for songwriting and performance. In addition to Rob Meany on keys and vocals, Terramara features Karl Koopman on guitar, James Towns on bass, and David Thomas on drums. Although the line-up has changed around Meany over the years, the current players have been in the fold since 2001, with the exception of Towns who joined in 2005.
Terramara released a self-titled album in 2000 and followed up with a second, Four Blocks To Hennepin, in 2005. Both recordings were produced by Ken Chastain in Minneapolis. Critics and fans alike were quick to compare their sound to Steely Dan because of Meany's penchant writing jazz-influenced rock songs with plenty of harmonic twists and turns.
Following the release of Four Blocks To Hennepin in 2005, the band undertook a big promotional push. A college radio campaign yielded adds on almost 300 college and public stations, and many top 30 adds. At least 40 stations had Terramara in heavy or medium rotation. St. Mary's College in Winona, Minnesota had Terramara's single, "Running Down The Avenue" at #1 for eight weeks in a row.
The band also won a number of awards during this period, including the WB Minnesota-sponsored "Strictly Original" New Music Competition, with two performances broadcast on this prime time TV program in August 2005. Out of hundreds of local bands, Terramara was selected by audience vote and by a panel of judges as the overall winner. Prizes include a recording contract, free promotional materials, and a year's worth of pizza.
Rob Meany and Terramara also garnered some awards for songwriting, including:
Second place in the Billboard Songwriting Contest in 2005 for their song "Goodbye".
Grand Prize in the Positive Pop Song Contest in 2005 for their song "Outrunning Headlights".
Top Five Finalist in the Independent Music Awards (IMA) in 2005 for their song "Running Down The Avenue"
2006 culminated in a nomination for Best Pop Artist at the Minnesota Music Awards.
In 2007, Terramara went back into the studio to record its third album. Feeling a desire to move in a new direction musically, the group enlisted the help of Jon Herchert to produce a more straight-forward, guitar-driven album. While retaining much of Terramara's signature sound: piano-based pop songs with rich harmonies and clever lyrics, the new recording shimmers with layered guitars, and shades of ambient and electronic sounds in the mix. It is by far the most sonically rich and adventurous Terramara album to date, while at the same time its most accessible.
The new album, Dust & Fiction, was officially released at a massive show on Oct. 11, 2008 at the Trocaderos nightclub in Minneapolis, with a 12-piece band assembled to recreate the sonic variety contained in the recording.
The new album has already garnered airplay nationwide on XM Radio and been featured on local radio (Cities 97) and TV (KARE 11).
Rob Meany--keyboards and vocals
Dust & Fiction (LP--2008)
Four Blocks to Hennepin (LP--2005)
Invisible People (single--2002)
Kinesis (Oct. 2008)
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Terramara return in 2008 with Dust & Fiction (digipack), which shifts away from the Steely Dan style...Terramara return in 2008 with Dust & Fiction (digipack), which shifts away from the Steely Dan style and toward XTC. At times Terramara could be the American equivalent to older English progressive pop bands such as Stackridge, 10cc, or City Boy, with their quirky art-pop of Beatles lineage. With Terramara, the progressive aspect comes from the keyboard-centric arrangements, the clever harmonic twists and turns, lush harmonies and layered sound. Simultaneously intelligent and incredibly catchy, they might just single-handedly save pop music.
SwissRecords (Nov. 2008)
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The band Terramara, fronted by Rob Meany, offers their third album with, once again, pop/rock songs ...The band Terramara, fronted by Rob Meany, offers their third album with, once again, pop/rock songs that satisfy the heart and the mind. “Dust & Fiction” is, however, more catchy than the last album “Four Blocks To Hennepin" (but not in the sense of simpler). The vocal melodies seem even more perfected, harmonized and sophisticated. There are, again, some similarities to Neal Morse, whose first solo album was also very poppy. The catchiness or commercialization (how ever you want to see that) goes so far that the band even permits themselves with "Screaming At The Pouring Rain" to sound like pop-era Genesis, while “Blue Revolution” quotes unconcerned Ben Folds and Billy Joel with a trace Queen in the guitars. Songs such as “Solar Meltdown” (marvelous chorus), the modest “All That I Am”, “Burn Me Up” (again, marvelous chorus) or "Fall In Love Again" (and once again marvelous chorus) should perhaps be enjoyed without thinking about who has influenced them. “Dust & fiction” should, might, must leave a lasting impression. 8.5 stars out of 10.
Minneapolis Star Tribune, May 20, 2005
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If you thought the parting of Spymob meant there weren't any good Steely Dan-loving bands left in t...If you thought the parting of Spymob meant there weren't any good Steely Dan-loving bands left in town, then you obviously haven't heard the new Terramara CD. Titled "Four Blocks to Hennepin," the sophomore album is a piano- and horn-driven effort full of tight, poppy harmonies and instrumental jams that could light an incense stick. Terramara's singer-keyboardist Rob Meany has a smooth yet powerful, Sting-like voice (much like Spymob's John Ostby), and his songs such as "Running Down the Avenue" and the title track feature guy-lost-in-the-city themes. Tonight's CD-release party at the Fine Line, a 6 p.m. early show, will include a horn section with Matt Darling and accompaniment by Greazy Meal's Ken Chastain, who produced the album.
Pulse of the Twin Cities, May 2005
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This second outing from Bloomington, Minn., quartet Terramara jumps right outta the gate with “Runni...This second outing from Bloomington, Minn., quartet Terramara jumps right outta the gate with “Running Down The Avenue,” a bright blast of urgent rhythms, insistent vocal harmonies and a sound that’s one part Randy Newman, one part Steely Dan, one part Beach Boys and one part pure Minnesota madness. That’s a good thing, in case you’re wondering.
Fronted by singer/keys man Rob Meany, and rounded out by the crack team of Erik Pederson (bass), Karl Koopman (guitars, synth), and drummer Dave Thomas, Terramara purvey their funkified space-jazz influences through a glimmering sheen of pop perfection, and it’s nice to see a band that’s so revered live lay down a batch of their songs in the studio (in this case, The Terrarium, natch!) that remain this true to their original spirit. Other standouts here include the rolling, hypnotic grooves of “Rise & Fall,” which finds the outfit employing a harder-edged guitar sound; the dreamy neo-jazz vibes of “Smoke And Mirrors” (which is kind of a bizarre example of what a love-gone-wrong song co-written by Joe Jackson and Sting—when he still had enough soul to get up and make fun of himself with Frank Zappa on stage—might sound like ... once again, that’s a good thing); and the timely, tongue-in-cheek synth-fest, “Virtual Lisa.”
All in all, a tightly knit, soulful batch of fresh material from a local outfit who have the “Urban Sound of Minneapolis” down to the proverbial “T.” Just toss the album’s final cut (and title track) in your personal or car stereo, and drive, walk, run, ride a bike, a bus or on a friend’s back down Hennepin Avenue—you’ll soon discover why Terramara are so qualified to provide your daily soundtrack. Great stuff!
The Daily Vault, June 22, 2005
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Judging by the press I've read on this group, critics seem to think Terramara sound like the second ...Judging by the press I've read on this group, critics seem to think Terramara sound like the second coming of Steely Dan, with a little Sting in the vocals. And damned if they aren't just about exactly right. On their sophomore full-length, this Minneapolis, Minnesota quartet lays down some of the most sophisticated, tasty jazz-pop on record since the Dan's heyday, full of tight keyboard-based arrangements, precision playing and rich harmonies. Four Blocks To Hennepin is forty minutes of snappy, beautifully arranged jazz-pop that offers an urbane, sardonic wisdom that's beyond the reach of most mainstream acts today. And it marks Terramara as a group that bears watching -- and listening to.
Evolution of Music, July 2005
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Here is a band who doesn't seem to venture outside of their home base in Minnesota, although the res...Here is a band who doesn't seem to venture outside of their home base in Minnesota, although the rest of America, if not the entire planet, should give them a listen. Very eclectic jazzy pop-rock, at times reminiscent of Steely Dan, The Police, XTC, and Joe Jackson, while possessing a uniqueness about them. Perhaps the strongest point of Terramara's music is how infectious it is; with an emphasis on melodies, grooves and fine-tuned yet completely natural sounding arrangements, not to mention superb musicianship and production, there are no "filler" spots to be found on Hennepin.
Online Rock, May 2005
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From the get go, Minneapolis-based Terramara’s Four Blocks to Hennepin conjures up late ‘70s pop n...From the get go, Minneapolis-based Terramara’s Four Blocks to Hennepin conjures up late ‘70s pop nostalgia. The kind of music the period’s heyday produced through bands like Steely Dan, The Doobie Brothers, and the Atlanta Rhythm Section. The period where jazz and fusion made inroads in the rock music scene.
The playing on this album is very tight: crisp guitar leads, compelling bass lines, choice keyboard fills, steady drumming and warm vocals. The songs are extremely accessible to a wide range of listeners, and if the LA-sound of the late 70’s comes back in vogue, each and every one of these songs could become a chart topper. Favorite Track: Track 5, “Invisible People”.
Recent Set List:
Fate Won't Wait
Losing My Mind
A Pretty Good Friend
4 Blocks to Hennepin
Screaming At The Pouring Rain
The Other Shoe
Jaded Little Love Song
Running Down the Avenue
On The Bus
Message In a Bottle--Police
Sets are usually 60-90 minutes.
There are no upcoming dates at this time.