The Red River
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The Red River

Long Beach, California, United States | INDIE

Long Beach, California, United States | INDIE
Band Pop Folk


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



"A.V. Club"

The newest record by West Coast indie-pop collective The Red River is called Little Songs About The Big Picture—and that’s hardly a bit of unnecessary self-deprecation. Collecting 10 lushly arranged slice-of-life sing-alongs from bandleader Bill Roberts, the record seeks to find universal truths through highly specified experiences, from touring a significant other’s childhood home to doing the dishes. Though that premise threatens to wear thin awfully quickly, Roberts’ unsophisticated, circular compositions (which frequently recall gentle giants of Pacific Northwest indie like Death Cab For Cutie and Built To Spill) and general frankness give the record a warm, basement-show quality. Live, they should make even the diciest venue feel downright inviting. - The Onion

"Fogged Clarity"

“Sonically, the music rides an even keel, swooning gracefully between the intimate, close, and minimal, and billowy piles of polyphony; feeling like you had a party and everyone who came brought a voice, a horn, a string, and it all fell together just so. Which, in a way, is what happened.” - Fogged Clarity

"Willamette Week Review"

[SINGER-SONGWRITER, WITH BAND] The Red River was more legend than band when I first heard them—all hushed whispers and home-dubbed cassettes. They were from Long Beach, Calif. Dhani Rosa from Eskimo and Sons said they “taught us everything we know,” and Eskimo and Sons was a band that knew a lot about sending shivers up and down my spine.

When I first saw them—in the basement of the PSU student center—they took my heart whole. French horn! Singalongs! Sincerity! The full-throated choruses and clamor of horns and clattering drums of their first album, Grassblades, has never been more than a month out of my steady rotation since. A line from that album, “You are something good, and so am I,” saw me through some of my toughest times.

I saw them again in the winter, a semi-secret house party on Northeast Beech Street. I brought a bottle of wine and shared it with their lead singer, Bill Roberts. We all sang together, warming that little living room with our earnest breath.

They moved up here, I heard, but sadly I missed the one show I heard about. They were working on a record, but there was no timeline. Then I heard nothing.

If it feels like I’m talking about myself, it’s only to explain my anxiousness about hearing the Red River’s new album, Little Songs about the Big Picture. Can they still bring that warmth, that grace, that big-heartedness that shone through those ramshackle shows? Would they lose the innocent wonder of that earlier album? - Willamette Week

"Performer Magazine "Little Songs" Review"

After listening to The Red River's impressive debut LP, Little Songs About The Big Picture, you too will find yourself wondering why you haven't heard about this band before. It's hard to believe for a debut this strong from start to finish. Led by vocalist Bill Roberts, The Red River take you on a stroll down a memory lane of first loves, taco-making, and Boyz II Men sing-alongs. Fortunately for us, this memento happens to be a collection of beautifully written songs full of life and youthful splendor.

Unafraid of sentimentality, Roberts' songs are like short stories and have been described as "picture box dioramas," chock-full of personal narrative. On the song "Apple Valley," he sings "This is where I had my first kiss/Here is the corner where my dad had his accident/This is the Del Taco where my brother cut his finger/Here is where my friends and I hung after school." While these lyrics might be reminiscent of Blink 182, don't be mistaken. This band takes you beyond 18 and the song's build-up is thick with instrumentation, while Roberts' vocals are strong and familiar.

Album favorite "When We Are Wild," was mixed by Tucker Martine, who has worked with the likes of My Morning Jacket, The Decemberists, and Sufjan Stevens. Like the rest of the album, the instruments are aplenty and the chorus will have you singing along. Songs "Tomahawk" and the whistle-friendly "St. Bernard's Lily" are also personal favorites. The band's honest lyrics, beautiful arrangements, and lack of pretense made a fast fan of me. It's only a matter of time before The Red River is no longer music's best-kept secret. (Brave Records) - Performer

"NPR Tiny Desk"

I was wondering how the 10 members of The Red River were going to squeeze behind my desk at the NPR Music offices. Where's the arm room for the violist? Where are they going to put two keyboards, let alone drums, French horn and guitars? It turns out Bill Roberts and his band had other plans.

When I met them at their van and they cascaded out like a gaggle of circus clowns, they headed to the NPR office with just a single guitar. I was puzzled, to say the least. But The Red River rose to the challenge, re-arranging four of its tunes by playing body percussion, 10 voices and one guitar.

The California-born band of friends is now based in Portland, Ore., and plays songs about the beauty in the day-to-day. The group sings in praise of the unremarkable, and at times, Roberts' songs are reverent, even religious. This stripped-down performance provides a glimpse into The Red River's simple elegance — captured on Little Songs About the Big Picture, a record that easily made my Top 10 for 2010. - NPR

"NPR's Top Ten 2010"

There is beauty in the day-to-day. There's elegance in the unremarkable. Little Songs About the Big Picture by The Red River celebrates the mundane. At times, the way songwriter and lead singer Bill Roberts writes about the wonder of life, it's reverent, bordering on religious. And when his eight friends join in -- on viola, French horn, keyboard, drums, guitar and other voices -- and this nine-piece band does its slow build, it feels spiritual and sentimental. - NPR


Tracks from "Little Songs" featured above.



The Red River was formed in Long Beach, CA by Bill Roberts. They released their debut LP "Little Songs About The Big Picture" in November of 2010.