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March 13, 2014 | 12:00 a.m. CST
Every time Run Boy Run takes the stage, it’s a family affair. The band is made up of the Rolland brother-sister duo, the Sandoval sisters and a college friend. Then Matt Rolland married Bekah Sandoval this past summer. Got all that? From this complicated family web comes an atypical folk band headed to Columbia on its second national tour.
The up-and-coming band made Paste’s list of “10 Arizona Bands You Should Listen to Now” and won the Telluride Bluegrass Festival Band Contest in 2012. Guitarist and fiddler Matt Rolland says the group draws on bluegrass and old-time roots to create a signature sound. With haunting harmonies and a down-home feel, Run Boy Run adds depth to the traditional folk and bluegrass scenes.
When: March 18, 9 p.m.
When the band members came together, they played many traditional songs such as “Silver Dagger” and “Down in the Willow Garden” but then started to write their own original content.
“Everyone in the band is a songwriter,” Rolland says. “That’s kind of a unique part of the band because a lot of times there will just be one primary songwriter.”
Currently Run Boy Run is producing a second full-length album with an expected release date in May. Each band member writes songs individually, but they all work together to arrange them. Rolland says this helps create a unified sound.
“We were surprised by how cohesive, thematically, some of the songs were, and that did inform our decision making about what to put on the album,” he says. “I’d say the dominant theme is travel and longing for home but also being excited by new opportunities.”
A long time fan of Run Boy Run, Kristen Heiss can relate to that feeling. She and her fiance first saw the band perform at a bluegrass festival in Wyoming. A couple weeks later, she moved to Columbia to take her dream job, a coaching position with MU’s swim team. When Heiss found out the band was playing in Kansas City, she went to the concert by herself.
“Seeing them brought back so many memories,” Heiss says. “It was a reminder of home, but also realizing (moving to Columbia) was the start of something great.”
Run Boy Run always has a piece of home traveling with them. Rolland says everyone has gotten to know their siblings better; however, fighting can be more intense among family members.
“But there’s just a sense that when you fight with a family member you know you’re going to put the pieces back together,” Rolland says.