We were actually glad the entire line-up of River City Extension did not show up for our interview – we would have never been able to fit them all into frame! Joe and Mike were more than generous with their time and we had a lot fun chatting with them! We hope that some day soon they’ll visit our River City! We could not find a video that did their Bonnaroo performance justice (even from the very back of the audience we could feel their energy!) so we grabbed a vid from another show to share with you! Also, check out their Daytrotter Session!
River City Extension was born restless, curious, and conscious. It is a monster and a gentleman. Formed by singer-songwriter Joe Michelini in the fall of 2007, the band has proved to be an important addition to the development of independent folk music, and has earned the respect of everyone from seasoned punk rockers to Brit-pop legends.
After spending years building an invaluable local following as a solo artist, Joe’s moniker became a symbol of hope for musicians in his hometown of Toms River, NJ; like lost souls, the members of River City Extension were drawn to each other. Taking a year and a half to carefully finalize their line-up, the band went into the studio to record their DIY EP, Nautical Sabbatical. The record was self-released on January 1st of 2009, and they had no other option than to hit the road.
Be it Joe by himself, with one member, two members, or five, River City Extension toured diligently across the North-East and the Midwest, just hoping that someone would listen to the call of their wild, insatiable need to play, write, feel, and inspire. By the winter of 2010, their dream was beginning to come true.
The band had started to record their full-length album The Unmistakable Man, with no budget, no plan, and a lot of faith. As word began to spread, they found themselves supporting bands like Cake, Robert Randolph, and The Avett Brothers, in and out of their home state. Near the end of production, the band signed a deal with XOXO Records (The Gaslight Anthem, Let Me Run), and shortly there after blasted the press with what would be the new flagship of this venerable Asbury Park punk label. The Unmistakable Man was released on May 11th, 2010 with national distribution and international promise. RCE quickly garnered the attention of important music outlets such as Paste, Spin, and NPR, as well as being validated by timeless international performers such as Glenn Tilbrook of the band Squeeze, who would later make a cameo on the vinyl release of the bands first LP.
Now, River City Extension is growing up. With one national tour under their belt, countless regional tours, and a slew of new material, the fabric of these eight east-coast pioneers has been sewn to the highways of America in a way that cannot be torn, seen, stepped on, or fully understood. It is growing, it is evolving, and it is seeking the best and the worst in all of us, in hopes that we will find a common ground on which to stand with our fellow man; in hopes of writing an anthem that we can strap across our hearts and sing together with pride and understanding.