Route .44
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Route .44

Providence, Rhode Island, United States | SELF

Providence, Rhode Island, United States | SELF
Band Rock Americana


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



"Motif Magazine"

[roots report]
Route .44 on the Road to CD Release at Jerky's...

For the longest time the band Route .44 has been among my 1666 "friends" on MySpace.

I always kept it in the back of my mind that I should write about Route .44, their music is pretty cool and there are enough of them to write about — it's a big band – and I live right off Route 44, though the band's name has nothing to do with the highway.

Route .44's leader and founder, Ian "Lefty" Lacombe, gave me the lowdown on this eclectic, rootsy band. Lacombe defined the band's name as meaning "living by the gun" - the .44 being a .44 magnum.

Route .44 started as a duo about four years ago when Lacombe left former WBRU Rock Hunt champs Sasquatch & the Sickabillys and found Matt "MacGyver" Swanton in the AOL Member Directory listings when he was searching for a tenor saxophone player. Over the next two years they slowly added members through other unconventional methods such as Craig's List and MySpace. A couple of the members were just invited in to do session work but wound up becoming part of the band. Singer Jessica Powers approached Lacombe at the Custom House Open Mic and she decided that they needed to play music together. Lacombe's response to her was, "That's fine, we're just not going to be Fleetwood Mac!"

The current line-up – which they refer to as a "rootadelic orchestra" – includes Lacombe on vocals and guitar, Swanton on sax and occasional slide guitar, the vocals of Jessica Powers, Paul Choquette on keyboards and baritone sax, Eric D. on upright bass, Teri Pimley on viola, Rob Champagne on drums, and finally, Judson Lisiecka on percussion.

As for the music of Route.44, well, it is just as eclectic as the members. Lacombe writes the basic primitive form of a song and the band evolves that into a Route .44 original. The players came from differing musical backgrounds: Classical, Techno, Polka, Hard Rock, Jazz, and Rock-a billy. Add to this that a few members are transplants from different parts of the country – Seattle, L.A and Missouri. This melting pot of people and genres brings uniqueness to the band's music. Lacombe says "he is lost as to what to call it. It kind of started as rock-a-billy and mutated into something new." Each song has an overall different feel to it, but underlying you will hear a funky, bluesy, rootsy, trippy, gyspy, voodoo, footstomping revelry throughout.

Route .44 is just finishing up work on their first CD which is tentatively called "All My Trials". Right now they are wrapping up the final mixes and whittling down the amount of songs from 20 to 12. The recording was done at bass player Eric D's "Wicked Smart Studios" in Dudley, MA. The CD release party is set for May 5 at Jerky's Bar & Grill on Richmond Street in Providence. In the meantime, the band continues to play around the Northeast with gigs in Boston, Worcester, Connecticut, and New York City. You can hear them at Jerky's in Providence on March 31 at 9pm with very special guest A.K.A.C.O.D. featuring Morphine/Twineman sax player Dana Colley and Monique Ortiz of Bourbon Princess.

If you want to hear the Route .44 sound for yourself checkout their web site at or their MySpace page at - John Fuzek

"The Noise Boston"

Worthless Lessons
12-song CD
Like a thick muddy snapping turtle out of a Breakheart swamp, Route .44 lets us in on experiencing the thick, lowdown sludgy wonder and glory that IS one of the defining sounds of the New England area. Upon hearing the first track, I ran to grab the album cover to make sure I wasn’t hearing an unreleased song by Mark Sandman and Morphine. That’s a compliment, as Morphine was one of the most interesting and enjoyable bands to come from around this area. Fat sax layers the tracks (sounds like a rhyme to me), along with a bit more guitar orchestration than the ’Phine would have done, but man o man, it grooves, rocks, and has a constant minor tonality burning through the whole thing that satisfies this listener. This is really a great sounding band, and at eight pieces of personnel, generates a big sound. Want more? Listen to the CD! - Mike Loce

"The Providence Phoenix"

You have to hear Route .44's new disc, Worthless Lessons — not just because it's good, but because it's one of the best local discs released so far this year, led by the rollicking Gretsch of Lefty Lacombe, Jess Powers's force-of-nature pipes, and the dirty saxes of Matt Swanton and Paul Choquette. Lacombe and Swanton started out as minimalists, an acoustic duo playing cafes. But their sound expanded, as did their lineup, which grew to a total of eight. "We're more an orchestra than a band right now," says Lacombe, who released Worthless Lessons last week. An orchestra that totally rocks. The opening "Pushed It Too Far" and the closing "Fadin' " bookend a record that isn't afraid to mine a vast spectrum of bluesy rock, ranging from Clash-style rootsy punk to sexy, soulful Morphine-style rockin' R&B. The saxes dovetail nicely with Powers's voice, while Lacombe provides a good foil with a gritty rock vox and axe. All of a sudden, or so it seems, we've got a sweet and nasty band on our hands that deserves your ear. - Bob Gulla

"Worcester Magazine"

What do you get when you mix saxophones, a viola, rock 'n' roll, a touch of blues and a few employees from a psychiatric hospital? The answer is Route .44. One of the lures of this Providence-based band is the prominence of the horn section throughout its songs. "The horns act as the lead," front man Ian Lacombe says, "and the viola adds the melody".

Route .44's sound stretches from blues, rock 'n' roll and beyond on the music spectrum. Lacombe credits the strong influence of horns to the early '90s Boston band Morphine, but still has yet to find a label that suits his music best. "It's mutated into something of its own," he says, "I'm at a loss to describe it".

The band originally started out as a duo of Lacombe and Swanton, but has gained six more members over the past three years, each bringing their personalized style of music to the mix. Lacombe says they never aimed for any specific type of music but just "fell into it".

With members educated in a broad range of music, Route .44 has an incomparable sound. The title track of their debut album, Worthless Lessons, starts out sounding melancholy and slow, then ascends into an explosion of upbeat guitar riffs, sprinkled with the sounds of piano. Teri Pimley's classical training on the viola adds a soft layer to Judson Lisiecka's hip-hop-inspired beats. Rob Champagne, a Berklee School of Music alumni, backs up the songs with his dynamic drum tempos. Eric D. evens the pace on upright bass while Matt Swanton and Paul Choquette lead the ensemble on sax. Jessica Powers harmonizes jazzy rhythms to Lacombe's rock 'n' roll-rooted vocals, which polishes off the sound.

In addition to their diverse backgrounds, three members of the group currently work at the psychiatric hospital in Providence, which has a strong impact on the tone of the majority of their songs. "We're a human service/influence mix," says Lacombe, who often uses his job at the hospital as an inspiration for his songwriting. This influence is apparent in the lyrics "Well on desolation row / all you need is empathy / When there's nothing left to hold / we embrace one another's tragedy," from the title track off their recently released album, Worthless Lessons.

Route .44 has played in Worcester a number of times, at The Lucky Dog and Ralph's — where Lacombe notes they have always had a pleasant response from crowds. The band will revisit Worcester on Saturday, Aug. 25, where they make their first appearance at Tammany Hall, opening for White Chocolate.

Route .44 has played an abundance of shows throughout the Northeast and is currently planning its first tour. Lacombe says he hopes to travel to Los Angeles and back. For more information about Route .44's upcoming shows, check out the band's Web site, or MySpace at - Teresa Franco

"Unsigned Magazine"

Worthless Lessons is a ton of fun to listen to. Opening track ‘Pushed it too Far’ is bluesy and sexy, the sax work on this rock/americana album feels just like what you would expect a hot summer night to sound like. There’s alot going on within this 8 piece band but nothing is allowed to overshadow the other. The vocals and instrumentation hit just right. Ian "Lefty" Lacombe’s gritty growl is perfect for evoking the inner love hungry monster along with Jessica Power’s sultry tones. Something tells me this is one of those bands that will turn you life inside out if you catch them live. ‘All My Trials’ is a dark rock tune that gets into you mind, body and soul. Complete with crunching guitar and driving drums this 11 track CD is a solid solid well executed vision all the way through. - T. Mathenia

"Route .44 & The Volunteers, ShiraGirl"

Route 44: Route .44 keeps chugging down the sonic landscape at the crossroads of blues and rock 'n' roll. Route .44 debut release “Worthless Lessons” (Blue Radio Records) was a dark lush fusion of alt-rock meets the blues that is reminiscent of Morphine if they used guitars and had a 2nd vocalist who was female. There still may not be any cure for pain but Route .44 is on the right track. Haunted and redemption are reoccurring themes as the songs lead done one inviting odyssey after another. Route .44 went blitzkrieg on the competition at last years Motif Music Awards because they are one of the best indie bands in any town so just be thankful that they happen to be from your town. Route .44 is preparing to release another record this spring, keep tabs online at

- Motif Magazine

"Music Scene by Rick Massimo - The Providence Journal"

...Route .44’s second disc, This Is My America, mixes many of the roots of American music with a no-nonsense rock ’n’ roll attitude and pointed lyrics with a distinct lack of roots-music preciousness. With mostly acoustic instruments (including sax, viola and upright bass) and singer and songwriter Ian Lacombe’s electric guitar and moaning, growling vocals, takes cues from Tom Waits, Morphine and The Mekons but keeps its own distinction.

While many of the lyrics seem to take on the problems of the country in recent years, most of the concerns are eternal. “It is kind of timeless stuff,” Lacombe says. And plenty of the songs are “just rock ’n’ roll,” he adds. That’s true too, but lyrics such as, “In poverty, I’m spoonfed a million hopes / Of prosperity, but they got me on the ropes” (from the riff-rocker “House of Cards”) ring with a righteous anger.

Lacombe works at Butler Hospital, and says “I get to see the trials of the individual on a constant basis. I think music is a good vent for that.… Some of [the songs] lean towards the grand scale, and the rest fall into their own thing.”

Lacombe says the band hopes to hit the road in the summer, particularly to Europe, where thanks to the Internet “we sell more CDs than here.”

- The Providence Journal

"Motif Magazine Cover Article 04/09"

If you considered their debut “Worthless Lesson” album a slap upside the head, you better duck. Route .44’s sophomore release is a haymaker. The album, called “This is My America,” can be likened to Russell Crowe’s first big
line in “Gladiator”... “Unleash Hell” or Gerard Butler’s, as Leonidas in “300”... “Prepare for Glory.”Yeah, “...My America” has just that kind of ferocity.
The current lineup of Route .44 came together just under five years ago, with stand up bassist and production guru Eric D. joining in ’05. In 2007, they earned a Motif Music Award for Breakthru Band of the Year. In 2008, they were dubbed Alt-Rock Band of the Year by local music junkies. Here at Motif, Roots music columnist John Fuzek first noticed Route .44 as an upstart roots outfit throwing together crazy elements of various genres into a richly-saturated oblique tour-de-force. The debut work, “Worthless Lessons,” leaned mainly on the bands roots foundation, coming across as much gospel as roots-rock at times. Despite the fact that band leader and lyricist Ian Lacombe peppered the album with hard-edged lyrics in songs such as “Addiction” and “Worthless Lessons.” The sound, vocals, and arrangements are an acquired taste, to some degree. You’re not likely to catch Route .44 on mainstream Clear Channel stations like WHJY, or corporate alt-rock such as WBRU. There’s an oblique power and beauty, admittedly not for everyone.
“This is My America” demonstrates a clear maturation into more forceful songwriting and an uncompromising social critique noticeably absent in this time of war and crisis. “Music has always been a mirror of the times. This album is a continuance of that tradition,” songwriter Ian Lacombe says. “I have always been a fan of music with a conscience from Anarcho-punk bands like Crass and Conflict to Woody Guthrie and Country Joe and the Fish.
“I think we are living in a time when we need more social commentary in music. I don’t think people really want to be spoonfed the latest Britney Spears song about how difficult her comeback has been… I mean,do we really give a f&%$k about that.” One of the more pertinent and in- your face tracks, ‘My America,’ indicts American apathy, political deceit and the dark cruelty harbored by human souls. Referencing the album’s title, ‘My America’ could double for Johnny Depp’s big “Sweeney Todd” number. A blend of breathless harlequin and burning disdain, Lacombe continues his raw wordsmith excellence. ‘My America’ would be like Jim Morrison joining Disturbed and bringing his poetic psychedelia on a Warped Tour. Vocalists Jess Powers and Teri Pimley conflate an angelic foil to Lacombe’s demons. But with the new Route .44, halos tarnish fast in an anti-harmony of vice:
Take my money, give me pain.
Put me out on that train.
Again, the way you use me.
I thought I was forgiven,
but I cannot stop my sinning…
I dream of a catastrophe, already in the making.
In which we are like insects, tryin’ to build a hive.
Like drones we all operate
without the ability to think for ourselves
‘till the day we die.
And our queens will just make more of us,
as we succumb to thoughts of lust...
perpetuate our existence to further make us slide.
This is my, this is my America. This is myAmerica.
“As far as the darker imagery in the lyrics goes, I think that’s simply a sign of the times,” Lacombe says. “The world is getting darker, wars are raging, our economy is shrinking, and resources are disappearing. “In a nutshell, the world shapes the music I present, and personally, happiness isn’t really inspiring to me. I don’t write love songs because I’m not inspired by love.” Throughout the 10-track “My America” disc, Route .44 threads themes of sin, vice, betrayal and fury. The new material has more edge than the 8-member band’s “Worthless Lesson” release. “My America” comes across dirty, sexy, and lust filled, merging more heavy rock, jazz and blues elements than before.
Sax men Matt Swanton and Paul Choquette shine, as does Pimley’s lonesome viola work, and Eric D. (upright bass), Jud
Lisiecka (percussion), and Rob Champagne (drums) lay the groundwork for vocals to soar, mingle and fall to Earth.
On perhaps the most musically brazen track, ‘Trinity,’ blaring horns, driving bass and percussion are challenged by the lofty
vocals of Powers and Pimley, and contrasted by Lacombe guttural mixing of the parables about Hindu God Vishnu and the first testing of a nuclear weapon. The test, like the song, is called Trinity. Site director for the Trinity test, J. Robert
Oppenheimer, later said that a line from the Hindu scripture the “Bhagavad-Gita” came to mind: “I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.” Lacombe uses the line repeatedly. “When I was about 19, I really got into researching the development of the Atomic Bomb,” Lacombe says. “I was always enthralled with Oppenheimer. He was an incredibly compassionate man, and a brilliant scientist, whom I think was devastated by his own creation.” At the time, nuclear test director Kenneth Bainbridge reportedly said to Oppenheimer, “Now we are all sons of bitches.” Pithy Americans!
But ‘Stimulus Response’ lays claim to the most lyrically fierce song on “My America.”
Down, down, down.
This place burns to the ground.
Desperately, we pursue our happiness like
rats in the street.
When our backs are broken and our
knuckles raw, we work from our knees.
Hope is what we feed ourselves at night.
Have some, it’ll make everything alright.
In poverty we’re spoonfed the scraps of a
Bourgeois roast.
A loaf of bread to feed five thousand,
while the CEO’s toast.
We can rise up. We can greet them with a
Or lay down and accept what is the norm.
‘Stimulus’ operates as an unabashed political revolutionary call, devoid of any real hope that a response will follow. Lacombe’s lyrical tact points to the obvious… we’re all screwed. So stand up, or take it like a beat
dog and just roll over. There’s plenty more solid music on“America,” including steamy ‘Lonely
Together,’ with a sultry jazz-based groove courtesy of Eric D. “This is My America” makes the blood
rush fast and hot, makes you smile at the thought of sin and lust.
Jim Vickers - Motif Magazine - April 09
- Motif Magazine

"Editor's Pick @"

If the title to the 10-track sophomore release from this Rhode Island octet sounds ambitiously vast, it's supposed to. The goal here seems to be strategically all-encompassing; you get the vibe they won't be satisfied until they've completely enveloped you in their sound, and they've got ten different ways to assure that you get wrapped up. Via saxophones, standup bass, viola, guitars, precise drums and percussion, and sultry-sly vocals, the band winds down roads as simple as electric folk and as densely complicated as full-on gypsy rock. Listing all the sounds they hit on here would take too much space, but it's not stretch to say that no matter what they take on, they nail it. With this many instruments and such a huge sound, the production is key, and each instrument is clearly audible and very well-placed in the mixes. The songs are romantic and dark, eerie and sinister, and perfect for a dark, hot night.
- CD Baby

"The Providence Phoenix- Into The Darkness, Riding Shotgun with Route .44"

The new release from Route .44, This is My America (Blue Radio Records), provides further insight into lead singer Ian "Lefty" Lacombe's affinity for the dark side, as the enigmatic southpaw guitarist delves even deeper than on the acclaimed 2'07 debut, Worthless Lessons. But Providence native Lacombe and his seven mates know that accolades and first-prize ribbons don't pay the bills.
"We have won a lot of awards over the past couple of years, and it's nice to be recognized for our hard work, but we can't make a living off of awards," Lacombe said. He then addressed the Rhody music scene, tongue firmly planted in cheek: "Bands are now competing with 300 channels of high-def cable, the Internet and video games, and people can now live their entire existence without ever leaving home," he said. "People can text their dealer, have a bag of weed dropped off at their house, order pizza, and play Guitar Hero until the sun comes up. Why leave that glorious life?
"You'll see long lines at the downtown discos while phenomenal musicians are playing in front of nobody. You can blame everyone — from bars to clubs to bands to fans — but the reality is that live music is a dying art, and unless we find out how to get people into the clubs, we will lose live music. Maybe that's not so bad to some, but to me it's another lost resource, another piece of civilization discarded."
But misery loves company, and the octet attracts fans with a unique sound, often drawing comparisons to Morphine (thanks to the horn section of Matt Swanton and Paul Choquette), with Lacombe playing the part of Mark Sandman, especially on tracks like "Barfly" and "Lonely Together," where he quips, "I say that patience can wane on the hardest man, a couple of drinks and the walls are coming down tonight." Vocalist Jess Powers often offers an ethereal counterpoint to Lacombe's bluesy outlook; on "What I Am," she rides shotgun while he slyly addresses his female antagonist: "I'm a serpent in a man, a serpent in human skin." And on "The Blame Game," Lacombe channels Tom Waits with a throaty growl: "Blame is the name of the game you refrain from accepting," followed by an eerie chuckle of "it's all good, man, it's all good." This Is My America (available at,, and iTunes) is bookended by songs addressing the current (and shaky) state of the union, but the core of the text remains unrepentant heartache and revenge. Lacombe has said he's not inspired by happy-go-lucky love.
"Yeah, my wife was really happy to read that quote," he said, cracking wise, "but it's the truth. There was a long time following Worthless Lessons when I couldn't write anything. Simply put, I was a happy man. Not that I'm unhappy now, but I am looking outside of my personal life to find inspiration and, sorry to say, it's everywhere now. That's where the darker tone of this album stems from."
Lacombe expounded on his lyrical approach: "All of the songs are about people in my life, or people within me. Not in a split personality sort of way, but more like the characters I wish I'd been in certain situations within my life. You know, when you wished you had done things a different way or handled things differently.
"It's a very strange place, my brain, and the stories that you hear in our songs are basically the stories I see or imagine on a daily basis."
Call it rootsy-blues, an eclectic indie symphony (bolstered by Teri Pimley's viola and the active percussion of Judson Lisiecka), or fired-up folk — the Route .44 sound is impossible to pigeonhole. "We have no genre to tie us down, which is exactly what we want," Lacombe declared. "We want people to hear one of our songs and say, 'That's Route .44.' We want to create our own vibe and sound, though we're all hard-pressed to describe it."
Gigs are lined up throughout the region over the summer, including the Roxy in Boston, the Cantab Lounge in Cambridge, and multiple appearances at the Blackstone, where Lacombe refereed to as "home base for Route .44.
"You'll see that symbiotic relationship we have with our fans on Friday night," he proudly said. "Expect to celebrate the ever-encroaching darkness, and liberate your soul through whiskey and foot-stomping revelry."
- The Providence Phoenix


"This Is My America"
- Full length album, released 04/04/2009

"Worthless Lessons"
- Full length album, released 05/05/2007

Video for "Barfly" (a single) released on May 16th 2008...For Web Distribution



What began a minimalist duo has evolved almost accidentally into the dynamic cast of characters that is Route .44. These eight unique personalities explore a variety of styles and meld their diverse musical influences to produce a cohesive sound that is intense, expressive and truly their own.

May 2007 brought the release of their debut album, "Worthless Lessons", a collection of twelve songs that offers an unobstructed view into the soul of songwriter Ian Lacombe and his inspired co-conspirators. The record has been well received, and Route .44 was voted "Best Alt-Rock Breakthrough Band of the Year" at the 2007 Motif Music Awards.

Comfortably at home in Providence, RI, Route .44 performs regularly from Boston to New York and everywhere in between.

Awards and Accolades

CDBABY- Editors Pick- 2009- Our Album "This Is My America" is now featured in the Editors picks on

Winners of motif Magazines Music awards
Alt-Rock Band of the Year 2009
Alt Rock Album of the Year 2009
Female Vocalist of The year 2009

Bodog Battle of The Bands- Northeast regional finalists 2008

Providence Phoenix Best Music Poll- nominated for
Best Local Act, Best Album, Best Female Vocalist…

Winners of the Best Local act and Best female Vocalist category- 2008 Providence Phoenix Best Music Poll

Motif Magazine Nominated for Best Alt- rock Band and Best Female Vocalist

Winners of Best Alt-Rock Band 2008

Motif Magazine music awards-Alt Rock Breakthrough band of the year 2007

some of the bigger gigs we've done

2007- Foo Fest @ AS220 over 1000 in attendance, Block Party, downtown Providence

2007- Ocean Breeze Blues Festival- New Bedford, Ma. over 1000 in attendance

2008- International Beer Festival - Providence, RI
over 4000 in attendance, we played 2 sets an hour apiece