The first time I heard Train Company was about 7am one morning while driving in the cold and pouring rain. The windshield wipers and blurry red brake lights in front of me, combined with the silky saxophone whispers jumping from my speakers, reminded me of walking out of a smokey downtown club, flipping up my collar against the cold night air, and strolling down the boulevard to my next haunt. That was a pleasant distraction from rainy Atlanta traffic and an introduction to an interesting new band, Train Company.
Working their way around the Chicago music scene, Train Company is headed by the unique and memorable vocals of John Zozzaro and the perfect accompaniment of Mark Alletag’s sax. Not to be outdone, Train Company is rounded out by Mike DeWitte on Bass and Rob Lejman on drums. Their sound is more of a upbeat rock/jazz infusion with the sax and flute in more of a support role. The sax is used very similar to older O.A.R stuff but that isn’t to say the music from the two bands is similar. Train Company’s sound is more of a quicker burst of energy than the jam type feel of an O.A.R song. This is definitely evident when you notice half of the songs on their self titled debut are under 2 minutes and 50 seconds long.
Their first release from Train Company’s self titled debut is “A New Kind of Home” and it really sets the tone for the beginning of the album. A quick stepping cymbal really sets the pace and continues on through “Lovely Lady” and “Do You Really Wanna Know” but then we slow down a little for one of my favorites from the album, “Clementine”. Every album needs a song about a girl and this one showcases Alletag on the sax and is the perfect lead in to one of Zozzaro’s songs from his days, finding his own sound, in New York. That song, “Forest”, is one of the other songs on Train Company that slows the percussion down a little and really lets the Jazz vibe breathe. Part of the credit for this has to go to Train Company’s producer on this album, Patrick DeWitte. Producers don’t always get mentioned in album reviews, but the quality of this debut, self released album cannot be ignored. Pleased trust me on that, I have heard a lot of shit over the years.
One of the last songs on Train Company is “I’ll Keep Walkin'” and it kinda sums up my impression of this new Chicago band. Not in the way of I’ll keep walkin on by them, but in the way that this group of early 20 somethings has managed to put out a pretty good album, they are going to keep on and there ain’t no stopping them.
Click the link below to hear Train Company’s new single, “A New Kind of Home”.