The Boston Boys first came to my attention when they recently opened a run of shows with The Infamous Stringdusters. I know the ‘Dusters have a good ear for music and regularly pick eclectic, up and coming bands to join them on tour, so I make it a point to check out whoever they are digging at the moment. Upon taking a listen to Idea of Love, the new EP from The Boston Boys, I knew why the ‘Dusters latched on to these guys. The Boston Boys can flat out play, they write great songs, and they defy the convention that might restrain other bands with a similar acoustic instrumentation.
This genre blending quartet is already well versed in world traveling, spreading distinctly American sounds overseas while incorporating the foreign musical flavors they experience into their own songwriting. The end result is a fresh sound that can’t be pigeonholed or typecast.
I recently caught up with Eric Robertson, guitarist and singer for The Boston Boys, to chat about the new EP, world traveling, and the dangers of being a Red Sox fan in New York City.
BRO – Your band is relatively young, but you have already performed in upwards of a dozen different countries. How did you guys get so well traveled so quickly?
ER – The first tour this quartet did was in the Middle East. We went to Morocco, Israel, Egypt, Cyprus, and Saudi Arabia in partnership with the U.S. State Department on a program called American Music Abroad. For us, when we saw the audition, it just seemed like an amazing opportunity to kick start the whole thing. Since that tour, we have been to many other countries with the State Department and through our own initiative. The big highlight was a return trip to Morocco in January for nearly a month. We were able to seriously hang and play with some of the country’s most incredible musicians. Through the overseas touring we realized our collective passion for teaching and have embraced that as part of the band’s identity. We frequently teach workshops on the history of American music and push ourselves to dig deep into these roots. When you step back and look at all that’s happened in only the last century, that context is a great reminder of the full range of possibilities we have before us.
BRO – We are featuring “Between You and Me” on Trail Mix this month. What’s the story behind the song?
ER – “Between You and Me” was a co-write between me and Cameron Scoggins. Cameron is a great musician and actor. We grew up together in Greensboro, North Carolina, and now we are neighbors in Harlem and write together all the time. I think the story of the song is pretty clear; sometimes things get rusty. Sometimes relationships crash and burn. Sometimes they wither. We had fun producing this song. It certainly came out as the most bluegrass sounding track on the new EP.
BRO – Exactly what are “future roots”?
ER – In the context of all that’s come before us, what are we going to contribute to the heroic status of what music can do for people? To bare that fruit – that’s our challenge.
BRO – You released your new EP, Idea of Love, last month. Any plans for a full length release?
ER – We are actually about to record a live EP to be released as an A/B side with Idea of Love. But, yes, a full length album is definitely on our horizon. We have a lot of new music written already. The main thing we are waiting for is the right producer. Our three EPs were all self-produced, to the band’s benefit, though we are looking forward to finding the right fit in the studio to help us translate the next vision. After being on the road the past couple of years, we are a much tighter unit. We want to make the next record mostly in the live room together, just playing the whole time, perhaps with someone in the control room to chime in with the occasional “Yeah! Do THAT!” or “You guys should probably go swimming for a while.”
BRO – Though you hail from Boston, you now call New York City home. Is it safe to rawk a Red Sox cap in Yankee territory?
ER – No. Extremely dangerous.
The Boston Boys will be playing the ROMP Bluegrass Roots & Music Festival in Owensboro, Kentucky, on June 26 and then they are off to the historic – and recently reopened – Lime Kiln theater in Lexington, Virginia, where they will be supporting Love Canon on June 28th. The band will also be in the Charlottesville area in October for The Festy Experience, the annual roots music get down hosted by The Infamous Stringdusters.
Surf over to www.thebostonboys.com for more information on when The Boston Boys will take to a stage near you. Also, check out https://thebostonboys.bandcamp.com/ to download a copy of Idea of Love, the brand new EP.