Title - Tomorrow
Artist - The Rave-Ups
For those unaware, The Rave-Ups’ three previous albums — 1985’s independently released Town + Country, along with 1987’s The Book of Your Regrets and 1990’s Chance, both for Epic Records — established the group as one of the pioneers of the cowpunk genre that eventually transformed into Americana, following in the footsteps of L.A.-bred country-rock groups from the Flying Burrito Brothers and the Byrds through contemporaries like X, the Blasters, and Rank + File.
The original Los Angeles lineup — singer/songwriter Jimmer Podrasky, guitarist Terry Wilson, bassist Tommy Blatnik, and drummer Timothy Jimenez, who first met while working together in the A&M Records mailroom — have reunited for Tomorrow, set for release February 4th, 2022 by Omnivore Recordings, which reissued Town + Country in 2016 with 11 bonus tracks.
1. So, You Wanna Know The Truth?
2. Brigitte Bardot
4. How Old Am I?
6. Coming After Me
7. The Dream Of California
8. She And He
9. When I Write Your Name
10. Violets On A Hill
In what can only be described as a raw, earthy, heartfelt slice of Proto-Americana cowpunk, complete with an undertow of a deeply rooted sense that it has always been something we have lacked hearing more of for the past few decades, the album opens on the political polarization of So, You Wanna Know The Truth? and the take-your-partner Texas two-step tale of unrequited love within Brigitte Bardot and backs those up with the melodic, harmonica-driven Roll (a tale of two star-crossed lovers), the driven How Old Am I? (inspired by a question from Jimmer’s widowed father, suffering from poor health), and then comes the delightfully jaunty Cry (itself a blast at a former, unnamed President).
Next up a radiant harp solo opens the tale of fear and paranoia within the rambunctious Coming After Me (whose subject is Jimmer’s three-day stay in a mental institution) and the Mississippi Delta and Mumbai raga of Terry Wilson’s The Dream Of California, and they are in turn followed by the deep rooted poignancy found within another harmonica-imbibed track, the mid-tempo She And He (a tale about how one can be in a relationship and yet feel alone at the same time), the openly sardonic divorce ode veined throughout the joyously rampant When I Write Your Name, the album rounding out on the gently fervent Violets On A Hill, closing out on the edgy verses found within the light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel title track, the yearning ode of Tomorrow.
When Pittsburgh native Jimmer Podrasky graduated from Carnegie-Mellon University in 1980 (where his theater classmates included Holly Hunter and Linda Kozlowski), he had already formed a version of the Rave-Ups, a rousing punk-rock band that took its cue from the emerging New York and London DIY scenes with groups like the Ramones and the Clash.
When he packed up and headed for Los Angeles, he discovered kindred musical spirits in Wilson, a Springfield, Missouri native who had played with the Ozark Mountain Daredevils; Blatnik, a suburban kid from Whittier, Calif.; and Jimenez, a Burbank, Calif. native who had never been outside the state nor on a plane until he toured with the band.
The Rave-Ups’ Town + Country led to major label interest and a recording deal with Epic Records, where they were signed by A&R exec Roger “Snake” Klein, best known for bringing in Indigo Girls, who brought the Rave-Ups on tour with them as an opening act.
The band was introduced to the world when Molly Ringwald, a friend of Jimmer (he dated her sister Beth), had their name scratched onto a notebook in John Hughes’ Sixteen Candles, then appeared as themselves in Pretty in Pink, performing “Rave-Up, Shut-Up” and “Positively Lost Me,” a track that landed on Rhino’s compilation Just Can’t Get Enough: New Wave Hits of the ’80s. After releasing Chance in 1990, Jimmer left the Rave-Ups to raise the son after whom the album was named.
The Rave-Ups briefly reunited five years ago to play Town + Country at a record release party for that album’s Omnivore reissue, but a full-fledged reunion wasn’t in the cards until Jimmer and Tim hooked up at the latter’s studio, where they began working on a song that turned out to be “Violets on a Hill,” a country-flavored number recalling such Stones romps as “Wild Horses” and “Dead Flowers.”
When they were eventually joined by Terry and Tom, it was clear this was not a Jimmer solo project — like The Would-Be Plans (2013), God Like the Sun (2017), Almost Home, Again (2019) and last year’s six-song Shoulder to Cry On EP with duet partner Syd Straw — but a full-on Rave-Ups revival.
“The best part of this project was when the four of us were in a room making music together,” says Jimmer. “That was brilliant. I never doubted how the four of us would sound. That was the most joyous thing about making this. We didn’t overintellectualize or analyze. We trusted each other musically and the finished album made it all worthwhile.”
The band’s country-punk bona fides are buttressed by the presence of pedal steel maestro Marty Rifkin (replacing the late “Sneaky” Pete Kleinow, who famously played on Town + Country) on “How Old Am I?” “Tomorrow” and “Coming After Me.”
“The Rave-Ups made a record that’s really good and sounds like us,” says Jimmer about Tomorrow, deferring about whether the band will be playing any shows. “The proof is in the pudding.”
And ready to be tasted!
The Rave-Ups - How Old Am I? [Official Video]
Omnivore - Rave Ups - Tomorrow [Official Trailer]
Official Purchase Link