J. Roddy Walston and The Business


First time I listened to Essential Tremors I was at the office. Work was piled up, people were barking at me on the phone. I never really was able to get into a groove with it and I wasn’t digging it at all. Fast forward to a Friday afternoon and I’m heading home with the sun out and windows down. Cranked up Essential Tremors and that was that. I was digging it so much that I damn-near high-fived a complete stranger coming out of a store.

That’s the lesson here. J. Roddy & The Business don’t want to deal with your annoying day-to-day bullshit. J. Roddy wants to catch you during that time when you’re hanging with your pals, knocking down shots (even though you swore them off when you turned 40) or sitting on the porch with the sun on your face. Essential Tremors continues to fit that bill.

Listen to Essential Tremors and you can feel Logan and Steve’s thumping rhythm. You can damn near visualize Billy hunched over during his solos. And you can definitely feel Rod’s vocals take you to that special place that their live shows do. For those not familiar with J. Roddy Walston & The Business, they are a band to be taken in the live setting. I once described them as a blend of Jerry Lee Lewis and T-Rex and Essential Tremors only ups the ante.

There are the quintessential sounding tunes that embody everything they are about like Marigold and Tear Jerk that are build around Walston’s piano. They boogie through three minutes with no apologies and the back-up vocals of Billy & Logan. There are also a couple of tunes where Rod grabs the guitar like the tribal Sweat Shock, built around a fierce riff.

The boys also slow things down for a couple of songs, providing a nice breather through the frenetic album. It shows the range and growth of the band. Nobody Knows is a great track right in the middle and the closer Midnight Cry sounds like a classic tune from the 50s updated in a way that only these four guys could do.

Essential Tremors is a gem but to truly understand them as a band, seeing them live will only cement your love for them. I have taken many people to see them, and the general reaction of all is, “That was fucking awesome;” complete with stinging high-five. They are going to be at The Double Door next Thursday where I will put forth that theory again. And the following day, they will pay HearYa a visit again for their 2nd session.



HearYa session alums J. Roddy Walston and the Business are releasing their third album and first on the excellent ATO label. These boys remain the embodiment of all that is good about rock and roll. There is zero bullshit. Just four guys firing on all cylinders with flying everywhere.

Heavy Bells picks up where their last album left off. The album will see the light of day on September 10th. In the meantime, enjoy Heavy Bells and dig into our session. Here is the lowdown from the PR firm:

No stranger to the south, lead vocalist, guitarist and pianist J. Roddy Walston was brought up in the southern church hometown of Cleveland, Tennessee before relocating to Baltimore where he made the acquaintance of lead guitarist and vocalist Billy Gordon, bassist and vocalist Logan Davis and drummer Steve Colmus, now collectively known as The Business.

Essential Tremors, the band’s third release, is the most far-ranging and eclectic album in the band’s history. Their blend of classic rock & roll emphasized by rapturous hooks, riffs and rhythms, coupled with Motown flavor and funky charm brings out a pure Bacchanalian splendor. J. Roddy’s arresting voice and thumping piano playing travels directly from your eardrums to your bone marrow as he keens, croons and intones words and music that are at turns lunatic and mystic. Their relentless touring and trademark spirited live performances has helped J. Roddy Walston & The Business grow from a grass roots movement into a band with a loyal and expansive following.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa

Full HearYa session with J. Roddy Walston & the Business is here.



One of HearYa’s favorite labels, ATO Records, has picked up two phenomenal acts in the last two weeks. First up is Kopecky Famil Band out of Nashville, TN. Their full-length debut, Kids Raising Kids, was on HearYa’s top 50 of 2012. ATO will be re-releasing Kids Raising Kids on 4/2/13. HearYa will be releasing their HearYa session in the coming weeks.

Next up is J. Roddy Walston and The Business. The boys from Baltimore will be releasing their 3rd album and ATO debut this summer. Subsequently I will be drinking too much beer at a live show this summer, most likely high-fiving friend of HearYa, El Jefe. I had a heard some of the new stuff last SXSW and it was damn good. In the meantime, you can dig into our HearYa session for a taste of what you’re going to get.

So congrats to ATO, J. Roddy Walston and The Business and Kopecky Family Band. Much like my sorties to Kebablicious, this was money well spent.


HearYa Live Session alumni J. Roddy Walston & The Business got themselves a brand spanking new website. To celebrate, they’ve released a video featuring footage of their time in DC, Phily and Brooklyn and they are offering a free download for the cost of your email. The song is called “Jesus Gonna Do His Best” and is everything you would expect from the boys. As they so aptly put it, its the perfect tune for post-Rapture. Head over to their site to download.

J. Roddy Walston and The Business – Use Your Language (Unofficial Video)


J. Roddy Walston & The Business, Live Session #83

January 17, 2011

I first caught J. Roddy Walston & The Business last year, standing in a parking lot on my last day at SxSW. It was 30 degrees in Austin that day, made colder by the Lonestar tallboy in my hand. I only mention the tallboy because it was the last thing I needed on the last […]

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J. Roddy Walston and The Business, like Jerry Lee Lewis fronting a 70’s glam rock band. [Album Review]

August 5, 2010

The last day of SxSW 2010 was miserably cold. A fact made worse by our inadequate preparation and attire for sub 40 degree temperatures, but I wanted to catch the Futurebirds set on an outside stage at the 40 Watt Party. On our way out, the Futurebirds’ manager, Jay Steele, told us to catch a […]

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