Ransom Note
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Ransom Note

St. Louis, Missouri, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2006 | SELF

St. Louis, Missouri, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2006
Band Pop Soul




"Ransom Note Digs Deeper and Rocks Harder on Big Soul by Christian Schaeffer"

Ransom Note
Big Soul
Tower Groove Records

When Ransom Note made its recorded debut two years ago with It's You!, the quintet's mix of soft-rock smoothness and blue-eyed soul made for some fun, easy listening, but you'd be forgiven for not taking the band as a serious endeavor. After all, what were these local-scene lifers doing trading in their rock and folk and alt-country bona fides for some serious Silk Degrees mojo?

Big Soul makes sure to earn both words in its title. Once a five-piece, Ransom Note has gone modular to include up to eight or nine musicians at a time, including horn players, backup vocalists and, on a few key tracks here, some string work care of the Rats & People Motion Picture Orchestra. The title of "Baby Blue" may recall Badfinger, but the vibe is pure ELO thanks to the swooping, churning string arrangement. As on "Russian Blue," a song this very publication named the best single of 2012 thanks to its place on the Tower Groove Records comp, the strings elevate these already well-built and carefully performed songs. Singer Merv Schrock has found his groove in the upper reaches of his range and commits to the sway of these songs.

Those misgivings disappear on Big Soul, an album that proves that Ransom Note wasn't goofing on its debut. Here, the band has dug deeper and found a way to rock harder while plumbing emotionally blue territories.

That sway includes the soft-touch ballads similar to the ones on It's You! as well as more dynamic, R&B-flecked moments. "Are You Waiting" is a standout of the set, with Ben Parsons' guitar line cutting through piano frills and flute trills not unlike a '70s single from the Isley Brothers. Even when the effect falls flat, as on the too-spare "Falling For You," Schrock's commitment and heart-on-sleeve performances are admirable for their all-in attitude. It's a tiny shame that the album can't quite contain the live Ransom Note experience, which has transformed into one of the best live shows in town recently, but there is ample evidence of the band's continued growth in big, soulful ways. - Riverfront Times

"Ransom Note 9/26/13"

This local St. Louis band is composed of Merv Schrock on vocals, Jon Parsons on keyboards, Sherman S. Sherman on bass, Ron Leible on drums and Ben Parsons on guitar. When you take a listen to the tracks they recently recorded at KDHX, you'll see that the songs are both familiar and surprising at the same time.

"Baby Blue" and "Russian Blue" have a hazy and comforting quality that makes them very easy to listen to. Picture a house party on the perfect summer evening with the right crowd and queue this music to set the perfect backdrop.

"Georgia" has a really chill vibe that's best suited for the end of the night when it's time to find somebody to dance with real slow. Who could resist swaying their hips to the jangly cadence of a tambourine and the soulful sound of Schrock's vocals?

Finally, "1, 2, 3" is a faster, simpler rock and roll lament for the person maybe you didn't get that slow dance with.

Wherever you are at the party, Ransom Note will make it a night you won't soon forget. Be sure to check them out here and the next time they take the stage around town.

*Includes live performance video - KDHX

"Concert Photos: How Sweet It Is"

Nine St. Louis bands and artists -- including Big Brother Thunder & the MasterBlasters, Kenny DeShields, the Educated Guess, Fresh Heir, Al Holliday & the East Side Rhythm Band, Mo E All-Stars featuring Mario Pascal, Theresa Payne, Ransom Note with the Rats and People Motion Picture Orchestra and Superhero Killer -- performed over 30 Marvin Gaye songs, from his classic Motown hits to deep funk rarities. Dr. Jeff of "The Big Bang!" and Papa Ray of "Soul Selector" served as emcees for the near-sold-out event. - KDHX

"St. Louis Best Local Single of the Past 12 Months"

To see Ransom Note live for the first time is a bliss unlike any other we have experienced in all our time spent going to shows. The mangy-looking group of south-city regulars will have you thinking you're in for some sort of rough-around-the-edges folk or nostalgic rock & roll. Nothing wrong with that. But then they'll kick into an R&B groove so pristine you'll suddenly find yourself floating, and frontman Merv Schrock will keep you there for as long as the set lasts, wailing and preening around the stage, a consummate entertainer with a silky voice. The band ties up the essential Tower Groove Records double-LP, following the screech of Bug Chaser with "Russian Blue." It's the recording that best captures the live show, partly thanks to some help from the horns of the Rats & People Motion Picture Orchestra. Warning: Repeated listens may result in unplanned pregnancy. - www.riverfronttimes.com


Still working on that hot first release.



Ransom Note was started when Merv Schrock asked Jon Parsons to write some songs together. 24 hours later Merv had finished writing lyrics to what became the It's You album. The year was 2005. It's You was recorded in late 2010 with a 2011 release. We had a wonderful response from our local radio station, KDHX, and fans around the St. Louis area and on line.

It took a few years to get a band together with musicians who have the same interests and compliment each others' musical tastes. And over the years the line up has changed a few times. In 2013, John Holt stepped in and helped us record our new record "Big Soul". We had such a great time he is now playing keys and organ with us. Since the recording of Big Soul, we've added drummer Mike D and his super-solid chops.

We have always tried to write songs that are from the heart and the gut. Our goals aren't much. First a "one hit wonder". Then a second and a third. Our live shows are a non-stop soul extravaganza of 3- and 4-part harmonies, pain and suffering, and sheer bliss. We can't wait to play for you!

Band Members