The Red Western
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The Red Western

Pittsburgh, PA | Established. Jan 01, 2008 | SELF

Pittsburgh, PA | SELF
Established on Jan, 2008
Band Americana Indie


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



"The Red Western On The Morning Mix"

Joey Spehar interviewed The Red Western’s Lauren DeLorenze and Jay Leon in anticipation of their performance at WYEP’s Community Broadcast Center for November’s Third Thursday show. They shared some insight into the band, and what they love about Pittsburgh.

The Red Western has been around since 2007, but most of the members of the band had known each other for a while longer. The guys asked Lauren to join the band because early on they had recognized the potential of her voice. Joey asked why she joined The Red Western when she hadn’t joined other bands that asked her before. “It was something interesting for me to do. I went to music school and after two years I decided not to do it anymore, so I quit,” Lauren said. “I was pretty interested in getting back into music.”

In 2013 The Red Western teamed up with another Pittsburgh band, Grand Piano, to release a split LP. “We wanted to release vinyl really bad,” Lauren said. “Yeah, we wanted to release vinyl, but not pay for all of it,” Jay laughed. Lauren continued, adding, “I just love the idea of doing splits. I always remember buying old punk rock splits, and I just thought it was something bands in our genre don’t do as often as I’d like to see.”

Joey wanted to know the story behind the song “Love For Free”, which is a favorite around the WYEP studios. “Listen, all of our songs have incredibly deep and layered meanings,” Jay joked. “It’s basically a ‘giving up on relationships’ kind of a song. I guess you might want to think ‘free love’ is kind of a hippy-ish idea, but it’s really about just not wanting to try. You want someone to care about you, but you don’t want to try for it."

The Red Western’s sound originally was very much alt-country inspired, but lately they’ve drifted into more into the rock and power-pop genres. Joey asked what caused this shift, and they cited a change in musical taste as the reason. Lauren said, “My music taste definitely changes as I get older. I’m a little more sophisticated in my taste now too.” John agreed saying, “I think when the band started, it had more of a project feel. We were really into alt-country at the time, and we wanted something that fit that. But all of us grew up on punk rock, so it was only a matter of time before things got louder.”

They wrapped up the interview with Joey by talking a bit about the Pittsburgh music scene. “I think Pittsburgh is the greatest city to start a band in. There’s such an incredible pool of talent, of unpretentious really sweet and special people that are great songwriters from so many walks of life, and you can get a show in a month and a half if you want to,” Jay said. “I think it’s the coolest place for people to share ideas and everybody is very supportive of each other.”

Check out more about The Red Western on their website,, on twitter, and bandcamp. And don’t forget to check them out at Third Thursdays! - WYEP 91.3fm

"Local scene: Red Western, Grand Piano veer off stylistically on split LP"

Not that they can't get along in the same package, but there will be no mistaking that the Red Western/Grand Piano split release is in fact two different bands.

While both Pittsburgh acts fit nicely in the indie-rock spectrum, they're on separate trips here on RW's "There's a Fire" and GP's "America's America."

The Red Western is a song-driven female-fronted band increasingly toeing the line between alt-country and power-pop, while Grand Piano (which has no piano, grand or otherwise) likes to set the scene and then venture off into head-spinning jazzy, proggy jams between the guitars and horns.

"We had all been fans of their old band, had become friends with them from hanging out at the [Birmingham Bridge Tavern], and have had a great time at all of the shows we've played with them," says Red Western guitarist-singer Sean Soisson. "So this seemed like a fun, unique project to do with friends. We also wanted to split the cost of getting vinyl pressed. We're not millionaires."

The Red Western formed in 2007 and is fronted by Lauren DeLorenze and Mr. Soisson, with guitarist Jonathan Gunnell (who produced the both halves of the LP), bassist Leon and drummer Sean Finn. The band released a debut album, "Loves You," in 2011. Now, it shifts away from that alt-country sound.

"It just sort of ended up that these were the types of songs we were writing," Mr. Soisson says. "Jay and I had originally talked about how we didn't really want the band to be anything in particular, just a vehicle for whatever type of songs we felt like playing (within reason, of course) and it just ended up that what we wrote in 2007 is a little different than what we wrote in 2012."

Grand Piano came along in 2010, but the core group of singer-guitarist Zak Kane, guitarist Thomas Cipollone, bassist Wesley Conroy and drummer Nick DeAngelo -- goes back much longer. They added a horn section in trumpeter Bob Kircher and saxophonist Ryan Booth, and released the five-song EP "$1000." Narrowing "America's America" down to an EP proved to be a challenge.

"By the time we went in to record 'America's America' we had about 30 or so songs already written and just chose five that were the most relevant and polished," Mr. Conroy says.

The band noticed a theme or concept emerging in the songs about a person's search for happiness in the face of mortality. "That answer," he says, "comes to them when they realize on this journey that it was in front of them the whole time by living in the moment, which is why the EP ends with an epic instrumental." - Scott Mervis Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

"The Red Western and Grand Piano team up for a split LP"

The contemporary conundrum for independent bands goes something like this: No one buys CDs anymore, but it's tough to sell downloads at a show. (Not to mention, it doesn't feel quite as professional, or accomplished, as having something tangible to sell.) And vinyl — it's great, but it's not cheap to press. So some bands — like locals The Red Western and Grand Piano — are revisiting a practice that's been part of DIY punk for years: the vinyl split.

The two bands are close, of course, which has led to them playing shows together, but the big decision to put out a record as a collective effort came down to more than just friendship.

"Doing a vinyl split is great because you can afford it," explains Red Western singer and guitarist Lauren DeLorenze.

The fact that both bands were recording EPs at once — both with Red Western guitarist Jon Gunnell — helped make the idea happen. "Talking to Jon about recording a new EP, he mentioned that they were doing the same thing," says Grand Piano's Thomas Cipollone. "It all lined up. If you have a full record's worth of material, why not put it on vinyl?"

The Red Western is the more established of the two bands, though both have members who have been floating about the music scene for years. Grand Piano's Cipollone, Zak Kane and Nick DeAngelo all played in thrashy, math-y punk band Red Team Blue Team previously. In 2010, with that band broken up and some of the members playing solo, they joined up with bassist Wesley Conroy and a horn section — saxophone player Ryan Booth and trumpet player Bob Kircher — to create a very different team.

Red Team was a more extreme band, right down to the fact that there were two bass players. "Red Team Blue Team was the kind of band where it was like, ‘Let's play the most-creative, heaviest, most-loud, fast shit that we can, all the time!'" explains DeAngelo.

"We've got more control now," adds Cipollone. It might have a bit to do with age and maturity — they're hitting their mid- to late-20s now.

"I think every kid that starts playing music starts with the idea, "I'm gonna shred, and crush, and rock 'n' roll right away," says Cipollone. "And you do that. My first band was a punk band. Once you get the thrashy stuff out of the way, you can step back and say, ‘Now I want to listen to what I'm doing.'"

Which isn't to say they're lacking energy in Grand Piano. "I think it comes out more in the writing than the execution," says Kane. "We're not louder than every band we play with anymore."

One thing they do have that most rock bands in town lack is horns; wind players who are willing to play rock shows in dingy bars are seemingly at a premium ... and that puts the Grand Piano horns in demand. Do other bands ever try to steal them?

"All the time," says Cipollone. "The Harlan Twins tried to steal them, and succeeded."

"I appreciate when people steal them," says Kane. "They're great dudes and awesome musicians. Go ahead and steal them, and teach them some chord progressions we're not using, so they can bring those back to us and we can take them."

The Grand Piano horns play on The Red Western's side of the split as well. And while the two sides are different, they're also complementary. "We're both rock 'n' roll bands," says Kane, "but we both get to it through different alleyways." Grand Piano is more eclectic, taking influences from old-timey folk, indie rock and even a little jazz here and there. The Red Western, which started out as more of a country-rock band, has settled into a straightforward, folk-inspired rock outfit.

The Red Western began in 2007 when lifelong friends Sean Soisson and Jay Leon began playing with singer and guitarist Lauren DeLorenze (whose main instrument had previously been drums). After a few years of lineup changes, the band finally officially released its first long-player in December of 2011. Putting together this second record took a bit less time.

"I think it was a conscious effort to not repeat the process of taking two years to put out a record," says Soisson. "That last record was done for a year before we released it, which, when you think about it, is crazy!"

It was, of course, partly a matter of establishing a lineup that stuck; the revolving door at the drummer's throne before the arrival of current drummer Sean Finn (Life in Bed, Manifold Splendour) made it hard to make any big moves as a band. (One drummer played one show before leaving town for the West Coast, for example.) Having a bit more permanence makes everything a little less stressful.

"It really seems like writing is so easy now," says Finn. "There hasn't been any one song that we've worked on that hasn't worked out."

Soisson — whose off-the-clock musical interests lie primarily in metal — notes that on its newer material, The Red Western has gotten a bit more rock 'n' roll. "The biggest difference is that [the songs are] louder. We kicked the gain up a bit. It's not as country as the older stuff was."

He begins to explain how the band can't really rightfully be pigeonholed into the country category exactly. "I don't know that any of us are really just listening to Loretta Lynn," he says, and is quickly interrupted.

"I listen to Loretta Lynn," insists DeLorenze. "I don't know what you're talking about."

But they can agree on some things.

"I would say, playing as a band, especially live, there's a lot better energy on stage," says DeLorenze. "I can look back at Finn, and he's having a blast, sweat dripping off his mustache. And I think we just blend together better now."

Both bands released their respective sides of the split as CD EPs; they're also available for download. But they expect the vinyl to last longer.

"Everyone gets CDs and you might listen to it once, then throw it in the back seat of your car, and your friends step on it or whatever," says Cipollone. "With a vinyl record, I think you're more likely to actually keep it and listen to it."

That's certainly the hope — and there's little reason why it shouldn't happen. The split is a good document of two good rock bands, neither clinging too closely to genre, but neither straying too wildly at the same time. And both are happy to complement each other while pursuing their own thing.

"We don't want to sound like other bands," says Cipollone. "We just want to sound like our band. However that turns out, it's good by us." - Andy Mulkerin Pittsburgh City Paper

"After some delays, The Red Western and Delicious Pastries release debut albums"

When a band is born, it'll usually release some sort of recording not long after it starts playing shows. But this weekend sees the release of debut albums from two local bands that have been around a while -- and had some issues that prevented them from releasing anything sooner.

For The Red Western, the delays largely result from a revolving door at the drum kit: The rock-infused alt-country band is now on its fifth drummer since its inception in 2007. Other obligations, cross-country moves and the shifting of one drummer, Jon Gunnell, to guitar have left the band searching for a percussionist more often than not. Now, Sean Finn (Life in Bed, Manifold Splendour) has taken over, anchoring the five-piece that's the songwriting vehicle for longtime friends Sean Soisson and Jay Leon.

Loves You is the band's first album, 11 tracks of largely upbeat country-rock featuring the vocals of the more-than-capable Lauren DeLorenze. It's been done for nearly a year now, but with all the band members in one place, and Finn as committed drummer, the band will finally hold an official release show Fri., Dec. 9, at Brillobox.

The same night, not far away, Delicious Pastries releases its own debut, after three years as a band. Some early lineup changes and recording delays plagued the almost-twee pop-rock band, but a hard deadline -- the looming departure of bassist Jacob Eisenstein for a job in Georgia -- left it rushing to get a finished product together in time for this week's release.

"I'd say 'scrambling' is an understatement," says drummer Jesse Ley, explaining that he and co-founder Jonathan Chamberlain were up until 6 a.m. last Saturday night, mixing the album with producer Derek White.

The four-piece (which is rounded out by guitarist Burr Settles) lays it on in the new album, a seven-track affair that, in its complexity, might surprise those who have seen the band live. "When we play live, it's fun and it's energetic, but it's not a true representation of how we sound," says Ley. "It's a really wild record."

THE RED WESTERN CD RELEASE with TRIGGERS, GRAND PIANO. 10 p.m. Fri., Dec. 9. Brillobox. 4104 Penn Ave., Bloomfield. $7. 412-621-4900 - Pittsburgh City Paper


Still working on that hot first release.



The Red Western formed in October of 2007, shortly after the dissolution of Jay Leon (bass) and Mark Phillips (drums) band My Sexiest Mistake and Sean Soissons (guitar/vocals) move to Pittsburgh. The band recruited Lauren DeLorenze (acoustic guitar/vocals) to round out the lineup. Jonathan Gunnell (Satin Gum and Derek White and the Monophobics) joined the band on drums after Phillips departure in 2008. By 2009, Gunnell began covering guitar duties while the band worked through several drummers before recruiting Sean Finn (Life In Bed).

Recording for their debut album, Loves You commenced in late 2010. The album consists of 11 tracks of Folk, Americana, Alternative Country, and Soul influenced Rock. Over the following year, the band expanded upon these roots to include elements of Indie Rock, Punk, and Power Pop. In 2013, The Red Western put out a split LP with Grand Piano. The album was also released as two separate EPs: The Red Westerns Theres a Fire EP and Grand Pianos Americas America EP. In July of that year, founding member Sean Soisson left the group to pursue a career in Salt Lake City, Utah. The band continues as a 4 piece and is currently preparing for the release of 2 new EP's, Arrows & Sirens due out 2/5/16.

Band Members