How Far To Austin
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How Far To Austin

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Band in running for MTV competition
June 6, 2007
By LILLI KUZMA Contributor

Certainly a net-savvy guy like Tate Troelstrup would know about mapquest.com, so the question had to be asked: What's with the band name?
"It was taken from a line in our song, 'Little Too Late,'" said Troelstrup, 26, an Oak Park native now living with his family in Chicago. "I was at the Double Door when Brian (Arnoldt) decided to do an impromptu set with an Oak Park guy who played upright bass and, when they asked what our name was, I gave that. We got a huge response that night."
» Click to enlarge image

Members of How Far to Austin held a CD release party at FitzGerald's in Berwyn May 25.
And so "How Far To Austin" was born. That was in the winter of 2005 and, since that time, the band has grown to a regular line-up of six, has played to packed clubs and developed a loyal following. Band members also have completed a five-track studio EP (producer Wes Cichosz/ Fatbaby Studios), and now aim to garner more exposure and momentum with their involvement in MTV2's Band on the Rise competition.
A click away
"We've gotten almost 11,000 votes in recent weeks," said Troelstrup, who notes that the band's tunes and MTV2 voting can be found on their Web site, www.myspace.com/howfartoaustin.
Still basking in the glow of a successful CD release show at FitzGerald's on May 25, How Far To Austin looks forward to its completion of a 16-song album, and hopes for bigger gigs and touring.
The band's unique sound reflects its broad range of influences and styles, everything from the Beatles, Frank Zappa and Lynyrd Skynyrd to John Hiatt, Wilco and Big Head Todd and the Monsters. The band's high-energy power pop and driving roots rock gets a crowd on its feet. Playing about half originals, half covers, How Far To Austin pleases different generations with everything from a creative arrangement of the Beatles' "Rocky Raccoon" to the band's own hip, fresh feel-good tunes.
"We do covers in a Joe Cocker kind of way," noted Troelstrup.
Exhibiting excellent musicianship, vocals and creative arrangements, the band is especially adept at switching rhythmic styles, and using saxophone and horns in a way that gives its sound both a classic fusion sound and something along the lines of alt-Americana. Lead singer Arnoldt has a voice comparable to Darius Rucker (Hootie and the Blowfish) or Anthony Kiedis (Red Hot Chili Peppers).
How Far To Austin is comprised of Troelstrup, its primary songwriter, on vocals and guitars; Brian Arnoldt, vocals and guitars; Jebb Carter, electric bass; Paul Obis, drums; and Nick Ranucci, tenor saxophone. Troelstrup's wife, Katie, is now involved as a vocalist, and brings an accomplished background that includes operatic training. Occasionally, the band adds piano, a horn section and backing vocals.
"We sound like (a mix of) Elvis Costello, Blues Traveler, and Wilco," said Troelstrup.
Group effort
Troelstrup is quick to credit the team effort that goes into developing the group's repertoire:
"While I write all the music and lyrics, there is a really incredible arranging process that occurs. We as a group take this relatively simple group of chords, words, and melody, and (turn) them into a How Far To Austin song. Of the many bands I've been in, I have never had the pleasure of such democratic arranging," he said.
Troelstrup started on piano at age 4 and took lessons in Oak Park for a number of years, as did his seven siblings.
"When my Mom found out there was a really good piano teacher down the street from us, we all took lessons, there'd be four or five of us walking down the street for our lesson," he said.
Dabbling in other instruments in his youth, including saxophone, violin and clarinet, Troelstrup literally stumbled upon the guitar. His father, John, recalled the unusual start:
"On a family vacation to Mackinac Island, someone left an old, really high-quality guitar on our porch. We asked around, nobody claimed it, and Tate took an interest in it."
For Troelstrup, "strings attached" has proven to be a good thing.
- Pioneer Press


"With the release of THE MOMENT HAS ARRIVED on May 31st, Chicago 6 piece rock act HOW FAR TO AUSTIN delivers an 8 song collection that will set abuzz their already strong midwestern fanbase and set the stage for an introduction to a national audience. Full of well crafted rock songs infused with infectious hooks and sing along choruses, THE MOMENT HAS ARRIVED showcases the pop sensibility that has propelled this band from empty corner bars to sold out headlining showcases at legendary venues like DOUBLE DOOR in Chicago and KNITTING FACTORY in New York. The band is HOW FAR TO AUSTIN, the record is THE MOMENT HAS ARRIVED, get it now!" - Pioneer Press


Discography

SELF TITLED (5 song e.p.) - 2007

THE MOMENT HAS ARRIVED - (8 song e.p.) - 2008

Photos

Bio

in just two years together, HOW FAR TO AUSTIN have made a positive mark on the Midwestern music scene with an infectious musical styling they have dubbed "rock 'n soul".

Producer Stuart Epps remarked that the band "sounds a bit like Fleetwood Mac . . . with a heavy helping of soul". Throw in a blend of The Hold Steady; Billy Joel; Elvis Costello; and you start to get the idea - songwriting with an emphasis on big hooks and a pop sensibility that has earned the band some seriously loyal fans.

The band released a self-produced 8 song collection "The Moment Has Arrived" that contained the songs "Catalina (These Days)" and "Another Shakedown" both songs received generous radio play throughout the midwest, and a live video for "Catalina" recently was voted in the top 10 favorites on Ourstage out of over 500 entries.

HOW FAR TO AUSTIN shared the stage with a host of regional & national artists in 2008, including David Grisman; Ha Ha Tonka; Bela Fleck & The Flecktones; The Avett Brothers; Hello Dave; The Nadas; Tonic; Sugar Ray; and many more. Performances included sold out headlining shows at venerable Chicago venues like Double Door; Fitzgeralds & Cubby Bear (Wrigley).

HOW FAR TO AUSTIN has begun to spread their sounds across the midwest, look for them in a town near you soon!