The Alternate Routes
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The Alternate Routes

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"The Fairfield Mirror"

“The sincerity in Tim Warren’s voice is incredible, as is Eric Donnelly’s masterful [guitar] playing. Together, they looked like it wouldn’t matter if they were performing for the bedroom walls, they get so much joy out of music – a charming and refreshing attitude.” - --->

"The Fairfield County Weekly"

“The Alternate Routes are one of the few groups that tackle both writing and performing with the same zeal and have the talent to back it up. They play radio friendly rock with charismatic vocals, good changes, and a solid beat.” - --->


Top 10 Albums of 2005

1. The Alternate Routes: Good and Reckless and True (Starpolish)

If you’ve ever experienced love at first sight (I did, and I married her), then you’ll relate to the musical equivalent of love at first listen. I remember the day clearly. It was the middle of 2005 and I had no reviews to submit to my editor this particular week. Then the mail came, and in it was the debut from this (yet unsigned) Connecticut based band called the Alternate Routes. Skeptical as I am with every new band I’ve never heard of, I put it in my CD player and it took about 15 seconds to hook me in. Good and Reckless and True is the best album I have heard in a long time, and one that I never get tired of. The songwriting is heartfelt, the vocals of Tim Warren are clear and emotive, and the production wizardry of Jay Joyce (Patty Griffin’s Flaming Red) is the cherry on top of the sundae. I play this record for just about everyone that steps foot in my house and the reaction is always the same: “Who IS this?” Need I say more? Go buy it, and watch as songs like “Ordinary,” “Time is a Runaway” and “The Black and the White” become part of your own musical landscape too. - --->


"The Alternate Routes' debut album, Good and Reckless and True, has many faces, as well as a depth that we lack in the industry today. The three guys -- Tim Warren, Eric Donnelly, and Chip Johnson -- can no doubt rock out with the best of them, but at the same time, their songs are lyrically astounding. I sat with my fingers on the keyboard for about half an hour, hit backspace more times than I would like to count, and yet I could not pinpoint an exact style that would justly describe these guys. Some might call it being too all over the place -- unfocused, if you will -- but I call it ingenious. When you have the ability to tap in to so many styles on one album and have it flow in a way that works, you can only think one thing: we've got something great on our hands.

You feel it -- you can't help but feel it: everything from the lyrics to Warren's vocals (which are very much reminiscent of that of Damien Rice) to the instruments (with guitar workings that are nothing short of electrifying).

The album runs a range of emotions that takes you on a whirlwind adventure. With such an emphasis on lyrics and such an emotional presence to it, The Alternate Routes go against the grain as to what a "rock band" should sound like. Good and Reckless and True is an alternate route worth listening to." - --->

"The Washington Post"

"Living up to its name, "Good and Reckless and True" is the lovely debut album by the Connecticut-based Alternate Routes, who will roll into Jammin' Java on Wednesday. Formed in 2002, the trio is led by songwriters Tim Warren (vocals, acoustic guitar) and Eric Donnelly (electric guitar), with bassist Chip Johnson filling out the pleasing, roots-pop sound.

The Routes recorded their independently released CD in Nashville with producer Jay Joyce, veteran of sessions with Patty Griffin and John Hiatt. As with McNally, the material can be both tender ("Hollywood") and raucous ("Who Cares?"). It's the kind of CD that moves quickly from new favorite to old friend in your collection.

In a rare vote of confidence for a new band, Jammin' Java and a few other smart venues, such as New York's Knitting Factory and Philadelphia's World Cafe Live, are offering the Alternate Routes a five-week "residency" this summer, meaning that the trio has a regular weekly gig in each city. Through Aug. 10, you can catch Alternate Routes every Wednesday at Jammin' Java, so there's no excuse for missing them." -Marianne Meyer
- --->

"Performing Songwriter"

Ones to Watch

"It's certainly fitting that the Alternate Routes -- a smoking, rootsy power pop trio out of Black Rock, CT -- have titled their debut release 'Good and Reckless and True'. The 11 songs on the CD are chock full of infectious hooks, unforgettable melodies and pure, honest emotion.

'We went through a difficult time of personal loss at the start of this year,' notes lead singer/acoustic guitarist Tim Warren, 'and we were able to channel a lot of those emotions into this recording. The feelings of searching, of anger, of longing, and ultimately of love we were going through are really reflected in the songs and performances.'

'Ordinary', the poignant and stunning opening track, and the Beatlesque 'Time is a Runaway' offer excellent examples of the band's orchestral dynamics and ability to pull heartstrings. Lead guitarist/vocalist Eric Donnelly is quick to point out that producer Jay Joyce, who's also gone behind the boards for Patty Griffin and John Hiatt, played a huge roll in spurring the band members to stretch outside their comfort zones.

'It was such an eye-opening thing, because he'll push you in a new direction and then make you try something totally different,' Donnelly recalls. 'For example, during the recording of 'Time is a Runaway' he handed me a baritone guitar that was tuned in a weird key. I had no idea what kind of instrument it even was, but he told me to fool around with it and figure out something, which I did. He was just a really sharp, smart guy and a lot of fun to work with.'

A fun tune for Berklee-trained bassist/vocalist Chip Johnson is the blistering, turbo-charged U2-ish rocker 'Are You Lonely?' 'It was the first song we cut, and the next day Jay had already mixed it,' Johnson says. 'When he played it back for us, we were like, 'Holy cow! This is pretty sweet!'' So is the rest of 'Good and Reckless and True'. make no mistake, you're going to be hearing a lot from these guys in the months ahead." - --->

"Nashville Scene"

"This alt-rock quartet from Connecticut take their name to heart, gaining momentum by following a grassroots approach. They've done weekly residencies in various high-profile Northeastern venues, including New York's Knitting Factory, Philadelphia's World Cafe and Boston's Paradise Lounge, where they've been picking up fan support and adding to an active street team. They recorded their recent album, 'Good and Reckless and True', in Nashville with producer Jay Joyce, who captures the immediacy of the band's stripped-down arrangements and singer Tim Warren't sweet, expressive tenor. Reminiscent of Guster and The Thrills, the Alternate Routes recall the classic song structure of folk-rock groups of the '70s while strutting just enough like rockers to keep things interesting." -Michael McCall - --->

"No Depression"

The debut from this rootsy power-pop trio out of Connecticut is one of those rare records that captivates from start to finish. The opening track, “Ordinary”, is a reflective, atmospheric pop gem that showcases singer Tim Warren’s stirring, full-throttle voice and his knack for crafting easily remembered, ear-pleasing choruses with co-writer/lead guitarist Eric Donnelly. “Time Is A Runaway” and “Endless Conversation” both feature an infectious Beatlesque groove and lush harmonies, while “Are You Lonely?” is a sizzling U2-ish rocker marked by Donnelly’s blistering slide work and Chip Johnson’s driving bass. A great example of the band’s keen sense of orchestral dynamics is the closer, “Please Don’t Let It Be”, which starts out as a soft, Americana-tinged ballad that subsequently builds in intensity until it ends in a searing crescendo of feedback-drenched crunch. - --->

"Northeast Performer Magazine"

The unspoken album title for this debut effort by the Alternate Routes is “Now Ready for Prime Time.” Good and Reckless and True is everything it is billed to be – tight, well crafted songs with interesting lyrics, a passionate delivery, unexpected and engaging musical choices, all wrapped in a comfortable pop rock song structure. From the radio-friendly “Ordinary,” a standard is set. The songwriting duo Tim Warren (vocalist and acoustic guitar) and Eric Donnelly (electric guitar) blend the melody and lyrics with the lead guitar beautifully until the music and words are complimentary sides of the same coin. The lonely blues number “Hollywood” showcases Warren’s voice with a pure melancholy melody over a forlorn guitar; his voice is the central treasure of this band —evocative, pure, and trustworthy. The voice draws you into the lyrics, which flow poetically in each melody. There is one notable miss in the doomed rock hymn “Going Home With You” where Donnelly’s guitar riff is too much groin-centered Zeppelin and Warren’s ethereal voice never gets raw enough to match. However, they come back together with more harmony in the similar “Are You Lonely?,” where the rocking blues riff melds better with the emotive vocals. Each song has melodies that sound familiar enough that you want to sing along, but are different enough to keep attention on each chord change and extended bridge.

The album is kept tight and alive by the consistent and imaginative drumming of Brad Pemberton and Giles Reaves who segue from intelligent rock numbers like “Endless Conversation” to the tribal beat of “California,” where the primal rhythm becomes the heartbeat in Warren’s lyrical tale. Easy bass lines from Chip Johnson and the multiple talents of producer Jay Joyce round out the power of Alternate Routes’ tracks and elevate them from good solid songs to polished, engaging music. - --->


Good and Reckless and True (2007) - released on Vanguard Records
The Watershed Ep
(2008)- Vanguard Records
Sucker's Dream
(2009)- Vanguard Records



Money's tight. Times are tough. But take heart - there's an American band built for these uncertain times.

Since The Alternate Routes released their debut album Good and Reckless and True two years ago, hailed by Performing Songwriter as having "an unfailing melodic and soulful touch," many miles have rolled under their van's wheels and many stage’s have witnessed their songs. They've morphed into a touring beast with a sturdy backbone of fan support and an impressive repertoire of crowd-pleasing songs.

"In our music we acknowledge the hardship that's out there," says singer/songwriter/guitarist Tim Warren. " But we do our best to make people forget about it for a while and give them a great show."

Their sound - a hybrid vibe of Rock n' Roll grit and ghostly, meaningful balladry-provides the kind of wide-ranging sonic experience that leaves crowds feeling they got more than they bargained for. "Every night we push ourselves to take our show to a new level," says guitarist Eric Donnelly." That's what keeps us going, knowing that the next thing is gonna be the great thing. The next album is what we're fighting for, the next big gig. That's the addiction part of what we do."

It's also, in the bands own words, "a sucker's dream."

Loosely based around a handful of themes - seeing light at the end of tunnel, powering through hardship, holding onto hope in the face of long odds-A Sucker's Dream, their new sophomore release, builds on the diverse, melodic compositional work of the band's debut by adding decibels, power, vision and a collaborative studio effort. Produced and mixed by Jay Joyce (Tim Finn, Patty Griffin, John Hiatt, Derek Trucks), the Nashville guru behind the band's first album, the recording turns The Alternate Routes from a band with great potential to a band that has clearly delivered on its potential. "We all challenged ourselves," says Donnelly. " Jay got us in the room playing together, which we all were really into because we felt we had something to prove."

Explanatory titles like "Just a Dream," "The Future's Nothing New" and "Never Gonna Be Rich" prove that The Alternate Routes - which also includes members Chip Johnson (bass) and Mike Sembos (guitar) - could sing about the harsh realities of life without actually giving in to them. They could confront hard times without ever losing hope, a train of thought central to the band's approach. "We sat back and took a look at the themes on the album," says Warren, "and we discovered there was a lot of hope and a lot of adversity, which is basically the combination of things we've been dealing with since the last album."

"Desdemona, you're not dead yet and it's not wrong, if you want everything in life under the sun," sings Warren with a little help from acclaimed sing-songwriter Patty Griffin, who brings a women's touch to the decidedly acoustic track.

Further lyrical exploration of these tunes, written mainly by Warren, Donnelly and Johnson, turns up some enlightened gems. "The Future's Nothing New," the record's evocative first single with a subtle Latin flair, comes from the viewpoint of a fortuneteller. "Never Gonna Be Rich" tells about the time the band landed in an old Oregon mining town. The hope that remains in a town searching for gold that has clearly gone years without any discovery had great meaning for a young band in search of its own success.

The rollicking, REM-styled "A Sucker's Dream" finds the band wondering how they ended up "starving on a sucker's dream." "All That I See" is a chiming reaffirmation of love from a guy who's constantly on the road. "If all we can find is a life we can't hide from, then all that I need is you."

Since forming over seven years ago at Fairfield University in Connecticut, the band has hung on tightly to their music and their ideals, playing wherever they can, shuttling from temporary homesteads in Bridgeport, Boston, New York and back again, logging trucker's miles between Colorado and Connecticut in recent years hoping to build an audience that mirrors the one they've created in the Northeast. For the longest time they held on to menial day jobs to support their rock 'n' roll habit. One day broke, broken, and down to their last buck, they made enough money gambling to pay for the pressing of an early EP.

Today, Warren, Donnelly, Johnson and Sembos believe even more deeply in what they do. "We're not an overnight success story by any stretch," laughs Warren. "We take it one city at a time, one fan at a time. It's not glamorous, but we pride ourselves on working hard and making life on the road a viable reality. We've seen what's out there in the live music circuit and we continue the journey based on the fact that we believe we have something unique and musical to offer."

In a few years of touring the band has developed a live experience that is second to none, and regardless of whether they're playing raucous, sold out shows in New York or quiet rooms in the bo