Broken Ring
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Broken Ring

Athens, Ohio, United States | SELF

Athens, Ohio, United States | SELF
Band Americana Rock


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Broken Ring / November 20, 2010 / Jackie O's"

Broken Ring understands the concept of inclusion. With an early show free and open to all ages, they made it so there’s not a soul in this town who can’t be at Jackie O’s on Saturday night.

The all-open affair was made so because this isn’t just any Broken Ring set they're playing--it’s their CD release party. After spending some odd months in the studio, their time has come to get this 10-song collaborative effort into the public’s hands. The album could be seen as some sort of thank-you, as they’re grateful to be a part of this rustic town.

“Athens is our home. We love it here and we love everything about Athens and we’re really dedicated to Athens and we’re proud to be from Athens,” Colleen Carow, lead vocalist, said. “[The Athens music scene] is great because it’s a privilege to be part of it. There are so many great musicians around and it’s all really inspiring.”

The album, titled Lake Hope, is inspired by the love Broken Ring has for Southeastern Ohio. It’s a record full of enticing fluctuations, from acoustic and organic, to ethereal and glowing. Perhaps the purest song on the record is “Party Dress,” one of Carow’s proudest tunes.

“We sat there and played it in one take and that’s what you hear on the record. We didn’t do anything to it. And I’m really proud of how open that is and how natural that is,” she said.

Since 2008, Broken Ring has been cultivating a folk-y and charming sound that many people have taken a liking towards, if not a loving. There’s a certain wisdom in the craftiness of the music, which could be due to the fact that all four of the members have a place at Ohio University.

The man in charge of busting out some swanky drum beats is Bill Rawlins, a professor in the School of Communication. Along with him is Jeff Redefer, the lead guitarist, who is a professor in the School of Media Arts and Studies. With music recording as an area of expertise, he’s easily seen as an asset to the band’s technical side. The two are known as Broken Ring’s “veterans,” since “they’re both from the same era,” Carow said.

Carow is the Director of External Relations in the school of Engineering and Technology. And the youngest man of the quartet is Steve Phalen, the bassist and a current graduate student.

Together, these four brains have garnered a fan base that’s ever-changing and ever-growing. If one thing is for sure, Broken Ring likes to keep things fresh. They love music the way everyone else loves music--exciting and versatile.

“We’re not ever going to be one thing for one group of people because there’s just too much that interests us. I would rather do that and have fun with that than have shows coming out my ears,” Carow said.

As mentioned above, the show is free, all ages, and there's the possibility of a Broken Ring pizza special--three glorious reasons to go to this show.
- ACRN The Rock Lobster

"Lyricology: Broken Ring spotlights member's son in song"

The lead singer of Americana band Broken Ring often wishes she had more to give.

The majority of the time that wish revolves around her 4-year-old son, Emmett Girton; but it doesn't stop with him. Colleen Carow, 37, also wishes she had more to give her friends, other family members and people in need throughout the world.

Yet Carow knows that she can't be everywhere and help everyone, and out of her frustration with her limitations came the song "Refugee."

"It started for me because I was thinking about how being a mother, a parent, or even just a person comes with this limited ability to care completely 24/7 for someone," said Carow, who is a staff member for the Russ College of Engineering and Technology at Ohio University.

For her, the inability to be there all the time reaches past personal relationships to the broader world.

"You can think about Haiti right now and these painful restraints we have on our capabilities to care for other people in the world," she said. "Yet we still have this desire to be able to do more and care more. To open our arms wider somehow."

After Carow took her ideas to paper and added an acoustic guitar part. She introduced the song to her band mates, three Ohio University faculty: Bill Rawlins, a professor of Communication Studies; Jeff Redefer, an associate professor of Media Arts and Studies; and Tom Daniels, a professor of Communication Studies.

Many of the lyrics in the song come from Carow's personal experiences with Emmett, such as the second verse, which begins, "Stand up stand up."

"It comes from a moment when he was standing next to me and trying to tell me how much bigger I was than him," Carow said. "It just made it very real to me in that moment that I was his caregiver and he needed me."

The realization that she was completely responsible for keeping Emmett safe and healthy, led her to title the song "Refugee."

"The part that goes, 'My little refugee, he would fly to me,' is this idea of being a refuge for someone," she said. "When you pick up your child from school or you haven't seen your child in a while, they just fly into your arms. It's that feeling of release, refuge, escape and security."

When the band performs, Rawlins said it tries to create a similar feeling of security for the crowd.

"When we play we are not going to fall apart," he said. "We are not going to wear you out. We play a variety of different songs, but there is a core to them, and there is a heart to them."

That heart is Americana.

"I think Americana music is really an amalgamation of a bunch of different things," Redefer said. "It has its roots in country music and blues. So we are a hybrid of genres really."

No matter what the band plays, Emmett Girton is its biggest fan. His favorite song is "Refugee."

"When he hears this song his eyes get big and he says, 'That's my song,'" Carow said.
- The Post


"Lake Hope," released on Nov. 20, 2010



Broken Ring is a Southeastern Ohio-based alt country/Americana band with a spirited female lead and veteran players. The toe-tapping throwdown that happens when these cats bust into decades of shared music genres and knowledge -- fired up by their lead singer's sass and energy -- is something to experience. From acoustic tunes to heavier electrified originals that intensify to growling rockers, Broken Ring delivers something for everyone. Just selected for the Millenium Music Conference in Pennsylvania this February, the best is yet to come.

Lead singer Colleen Carow has been singing all her life but just picked up the guitar three years ago. Rediscovering music for herself turned her life upside down and inside out, and she wouldn't have it any different. Now the single mom of a five-year-old who bangs on mini-Ludwigs and a battered old upright piano, Colleen cast off her academic roots and lets the voice of her confessional poetry sing unabashedly when she writes.

Lead guitarist Jeff Redefer, playing since he was nine, spent several years doing sound on the road with Pure Prairie League and ended up part of the band. Besides having partied like a rock star in the 70s, he's known for not letting a broken middle finger on his left hand stand in the way of a gig, and he also holds two Emmys for sound production.

Percussionist Bill Rawlins sat down at a kit in a basement in fifth grade and just started playing the drums. He first played professionally in high school, when he persuaded his dad to let him go on the road with some recent grads he had jammed with as an 8th grader. He plays with a traditional grip and he plays with his whole body, and at gigs he is always described as looking like he's one of the happiest people on the planet. And that just makes sense because this cat who retired from drumming for 25 years to raise a family is a published scholar in the study of friendship, and the beat is back in his blood big time.

Shiny-faced bassist Steve Phalen, new to the mix as of summer 2010, wasted no time learning the five-dozen song catalog in weeks and putting his own stamp on bass lines for original songs on the band's November 2010 release, "Lake Hope."

Broken Ring has played the 2010 Nelsonville Music Festival with Loretta Lynn headlining; the summer 2010 Rhythm on the River in Pomeroy, Ohio, with the Eilen Jewell Band; the A&R Music Bar, Rumba Cafe, Hal & Al's (Columbus, OH); the Purple Fiddle (Thomas, WVA), and other spots across southeastern Ohio.

Band Members