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Vintage Trouble

Vintage Trouble are playing the Top Hat on Sunday, Dec. 8.

Familiarity and timelessness bind Vintage Trouble. This blending allows the Los Angeles-based band to circumvent the trappings of becoming a retro band or living in a vacuum. Their timeless may be heard in the juke joint touches that inspire them; the familiar in the swaggering, contemporary soundscape that they too revel in.

“We have all been inspired and fascinated by the 1950s and '60s rhythm and blues and rock 'n’ roll,” said Ty Taylor, vocalist of Vintage Trouble. “We’ve all been fascinated by that music and we’ve lived a long time being inspired and influenced and fascinated by that time. But we found out that we started to be equally inspired by music, musicians and songs that are younger than us. To be fuller artists we allowed contemporary sounds, textures and sounds to come through us and intermingle with the 1950s impetus. That was hard for us. We now lean into the use of new technology on the record making, so not to seem like a band from yesterday.”

It’s been about 10 years since Vintage Trouble first arrived on the Los Angeles club setting and since then the quartet — Ty Taylor (vocals), Nalle Colt (guitar), Rick Barrio Dill (bass), and Richard Danielson (drums) — have tallied thousands of shows across several continents. Late-night jam sessions and random networking brought the unit together. There was something cohesive and special about their R&B and rock 'n’ roll instincts and within a few weeks the four were playing at popular clubs on the Los Angeles night circuit. The first time they played at the noted Harvelle’s in Santa Monica, California, they’d successfully improvised three hours worth of original material. Quickly, the band became the hip thing, performing four nights in four different areas in Los Angeles in a single week. Something out of the ordinary started taking hold; a fan base was traveling to the multiple venues. News of the quartet spread to famed music manager Doc McGhee and soon the guys were accompanying major acts to England.

“Ten years as a real band is big,” said Ty Taylor. “To be able to do this, to influence people in a positive way, is big too. One of the things that I love most about our band is we have something for everyone.”

Taylor, 50, grew up in Montclair, New Jersey, and little has changed in regards to his love of certain styles, especially his fondness for the vocal work of R&B titans such as Otis Redding.

“I remember the first time I heard 'These Arms of Mine,' and I was singing it last night. There has been no devolving in my love and infatuation with that song.”

Vocal work is a constantly developing organism, Taylor said, and its progression surges and evolves similar to any other life experience.

“I’ve always been proud of my vocal training and vocal skill set, but I think that the older I get, I add more life to it all. I’m dangerous, and I’m willing to be wrong a lot on stage, and in that I find new things. I’m working with my voice as a muscle and now my falsetto is one of my best friends. As far as the height of a note and the texture of note, I really like to treat my voice like it’s an instrument.

I play with bravado a lot and I play with range and textures. To me, I like to expand my voice according to the emotion of the song that I am trying to convey. A lot of times I will get a riff from the band, and it’s one that my body doesn’t understand. But I’ll have to understand it and have to muscle my voice a different way. Getting across the finish line of having to conquer a new element of yourself is pretty huge. The more I can do that and the more excited I can be about the music.”

Taylor said that if there is one thing that Vintage Trouble can be expected to deliver it is the assurance of a celebration.

“What we deliver to people is a good time, good songs, authenticity, and we are appealing to people who feel as if they are a part of a movement. People won’t go out to see shows every night, but they will definitely go to a party every night, and we try to make it a party.”

Vintage Trouble takes its cues and directions from the audience from moment to moment, Taylor said. Their audience, he said, isn’t coming out to be led; they are coming out to participate in a memory.

“It’s still amazing to us people will come out and be that wild, and that intrigued, and that mesmerized, and that giving, and that inspiring to us. They are inspiring to us. The show that they are giving us is better than the one we are giving them. Our audiences are leaders.”

Vintage Trouble exploded onto the music scene on account of its slick combustibility of soul, rock, and blues and its contagious young-at-heart exuberance. It’s the heart and spirit of the child that connects Taylor and the band to their music and unites them and their crowd.

“That childlike wonder keeps me feeling relevant and makes me feel like the world is beautiful. And the fact that I don’t think that I’ve unleashed my glory days yet, that is the fact that makes every single day exciting. I feel it in the depths of my heart — and we want you to, too.”

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Brian D’Ambrosio is the author of "Montana Entertainers: Famous and Almost Forgotten." He may be reached at dambrosiobrian@hotmail.com.

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