Blending equal parts southern-inspired rock with a heavy dose of the blues, Chris Colepaugh and the Cosmic Crew have rightfully earned a reputation for crowd-pleasing, hard-driving rock. The multiple award-winning group, fronted by guitar virtuoso Chris Colepaugh, has spent more than two decades actively touring Canada and the United States, supporting acts including Gov't Mule, The North Mississippi All Stars and Big Sugar. The group's latest effort, RnR, pays homage to the stripped down rock and roll of years past, but with modern touches. Chris Colepaugh is proudly endorsed by Gibson Guitars, Traynor Amplifiers and Sennheiser Microphones.
As the old adage goes, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” but still, New Brunswick’s Chris Colepaugh looked to change things up when he approached the making of RnR, the first studio release from his namesake band, The Cosmic Crew, in six years.
Colepaugh’s move could be construed as a risky one. After all, he is the proud recipient of multiple East Coast Music Awards, and deservedly earned sponsorships from music industry heavyweights Gibson Guitars, Traynor Amplifiers and Sennheiser Microphones. Not to mention, his work as part of Roch Voisine’s band over the last six years has exposed Colepaugh’s talent to tens of thousands of fans across Canada and Europe.
While Colepaugh has undoubtedly earned some RnR in the form of rest and relaxation, the RnR referred to in the name of his latest record has very much to do with rock and roll.
“This time around, I wanted to approach the making of the album differently from what I had done in the past,” Colepaugh says. “The making of previous albums typically revolved around us combing through various demos and piecing together what we felt would make for the most coherent record.”
“I’ve loved the eclectic nature of our previous albums and how they showcased an acoustic side of the band as well as a more rock-driven side. With this album, I had a clear vision of what I wanted right from the outset, which was to make a straight-ahead rock and roll record.”
Crafting a record he would be eager to listen to as a fan forced Colepaugh to pore over the finest of details during the songwriting process and saw the musician fiddling with tempos, grooves and guitar tones in an unprecedented approach for song perfection.
When all was said and done, RnR was intermittently birthed over the course of a one-year period, from November 2014 through November 2015. The process proved to be a sharp contrast to previous Chris Colepaugh & The Cosmic Crew albums, many of which were captured over the course of one month or less.
“It was refreshing to be able to step away from the making of the album at different points over the course of the year and evaluate where I was at. That’s the great thing about having your own studio to work out of. If I wasn’t happy with a particular guitar tone or solo, or if something didn’t strike me as living up to its full potential, I’d sit with it for a couple of weeks, clear my head and then reapproach it with fresh eyes and ears.”
The end result is an album that Colepaugh says is perhaps most representative of the band’s stage and studio abilities. He proudly notes that RnR is one of the group’s first studio effort from which all tracks could be (and most likely will be) played during the band’s fiery live performances.
From the frantic, punk-inspired guitar riff that drives “The Ghosts” through the blues revelations found in “My World,” “All These Faces,” and album opener “Stateless,” RnR wastes no time in reaffirming the record’s title.
Interestingly enough, three of RnR’s tracks – “One Time Friend,” “By Your Side,” and “Thinking About You” - are each nuggets from Colepaugh’s storied past, all of which have been finally realized for the potential that he was confident they held all along.
“’One Time Friend’ has been around since the 90’s, but just honestly fell off the radar in favour of other songs. I always loved it though and felt now was a great time to revisit it. ’By Your Side’ was written during a period I was living in California, where I was staying with a friend,” Colepaugh continues. “I had originally intended to go there and find inspiration to write a whole slew of tracks, only to arrive at an impasse where nothing was coming to me. I got up one morning, was sitting on the porch and this song just poured out of me, effectively ending the bout of writers block I had been trying to work through. ‘Thinking About You’ previously appeared on our Mazes and Mirrors release in 1997, and reappears here with a completely different vibe to it.”
Capping off RnR is a faithful cover of “When My Baby’s Beside Me,” a track written by Memphis cult favourites Big Star, appearing on their 1974 release #1 Record.
“I’ve been a Big Star fan for awhile, but it was after seeing the documentary on the group that it really dawned on me how they never really got their due. So many acts get lost in the fray. Not only does ‘When My Baby’s Beside Me’ suit the overarching theme of RnR, the thought of somebody else discovering Big Star is reason enough to have included it here.”
RnR will be released on January 29th both digitally and physically in stores. You can find out more about upcoming tour dates and events on their website www.colepaugh.com.
RELIX MAGAZINE REVIEW- “Chris Colepaugh is all about the melody. That’s not to say that this son of Southern blues doesn’t rock. Just listen to what happens when he unleashes his doubleneck Gibson on tunes such as “Some Things Never Change” on his latest album Missed a Page. Guitar riffs don’t get much thicker than this. But Colepaugh is more of the school of Stephen Stills restraint than Lynyrd Skynyrd abandon. Listen to how he holds back the instrumentation—just enough—on “Some Time Away.” The effects are enticing vocals that float on top of the musical stream, underscoring the strong yet dreamy message. As if that’s not enough variety, Colepaugh mixes it up a bit, adding steel guitar and slow burning percussion to the blues anthem “What You Need.”
“Jamming blues rock band Chris Colepaugh and the Crew construct their music on big riffs and spacious, impressive solos. Their 2016 record RnR is consistent, driving and can get intense for the genre, a live sound coming off their recordings.” – SXSW 2016 Operation Every Band
(Live Review) “Adding to the overall package was the undeniable fact that the trio genuinely enjoyed sharing the stage with each other, all of which served to remind just how skilled Colepaugh is at writing timeless songs and just how seriously this group needs to be taken.” – Canadian Beats
(Review of RnR) “Tight, high efficiency rock & roll” – Jeff Liberty “Take Liberty” CBC
“RnR hits hard. Heavy riff rock. Soaring guitar harmonies that would make any southern rock act envious.” – Grid City Magazine
“Nicely-paced and stripped-back in its approach, ‘My World’ (single) develops into an instant, old school rocker, with fans of My Morning Jacket sure to lap this up.” – When The Horn Blows
“Colepaugh lays down the groove early and often throughout the record, delivering his acclaimed guitar work with a finesse typically associated with some of the greatest guitarists of his generation.” – Musicnerd.ca
“Stripped down rock and roll.” – Bread & Molasses
“RnR is a blues infused, southern rock masterpiece that displays Colepaugh’s impeccable guitar playing and vocals in a manner that manages to capture the essence of the Muscle Shoals sound of the late 60s and 70s. Tracks like All These Faces and Thinkin’ About You (a complete reworking of a previously released track) evoking memories of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Muscle Shoals album and the Cosmic Crew all but channeling the Swampers.” Canadian Beats.ca
« Et comme il avait deux talentueux guitaristes (Chris Colepaugh et Christian Péloquin) sous la main, Roch Voisine a saisi l’occasion d’insuffler un peu de tonus aux succès » La Presse
« Accompagné de cinq musiciens, dont le guitariste de Moncton Chris Colepaugh, Roch Voisine a entamé son tour de chant, vendredi, avec une pièce de Neil Young, Heart of Gold, tirée de sa trilogie Americana. » Acadie Nouvelle
" Fans of soulful southern rock should check out the new album from Chris Colepaugh and The Cosmic Crew, Missed a Page, which was released this past Tuesday. This is the eighth album for the band and they continue to produce masterful tracks that only seem to improve. Missed A Page is a smooth blend of classic rock and meaningful lyrics with a twist of southern twang that is only intensified by the use of the pedal steel guitar"
The Argosy, Album Review CCCC Missed A Page
"Colepaugh first caught my ear at SXSW a few years back with an impressive blast of blues-influenced rock. If you like muscular guitars and melodic rock riffs, , you’d be hard pressed to find a better song (Some Things Never Change ) , or heck, a better release, this year."
Twangville.com , John Mayer’s review/playlist
" I was blown away by the Canucks Chris Colepaugh and the Cosmic Crew as the gravelly soul in Colepaugh’s voice was a the helm of this band, which can lay down a wicked southern-fried boogie with a kick in the ass. The dude has a cool beard too."
Jambase.com / SXSW Showcase review
“There may be a very simple reason for the influx of the Canadian music talent in the United States. Just ask fellow northern neighbor Chris Colepaugh , recently signed Gibson artist who, along with his band, Cosmic Crew are quickly establishing themselves among the ranks of successful Canadian acts to cross the border."
Gibson.com USA Artist profile
"Vocalist/guitarist and his Cosmic Crew deliver old-fashioned rock crossed with alt-country. Sounds like Gov’t Mule meets the Jayhawks."
"Moncton’s Chris Colepaugh and Lynn Daigle are the Cosmic Crew, and they transform this Eastern community into a rolling and rocking landscape where one swears they can actually see the Golden Gate Bridge off in the horizon."
EXCLAIM: Toronto, ON