Thirteen years after its last original release, the West Michigan band is back with new music. Local Spins on WYCE also debuted tracks by Max Lockwood, American Restless, Michigander and more.
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Titling Troll for Trout’s first album of original material in 13 years “North Downriver Road” makes perfect sense in more than one way.
Named after a road along the Au Sable River near Grayling, it embodies the northern Michigan aura the band has embraced in its music for 30 years.
Frontman, singer, multi-instrumentalist and producer Michael Crittenden noted the album cover photo even highlights some of the rugged road’s potholes – a fitting metaphor for any band that’s survived the ups and downs of a three-decade-long run.
Today, the West Michigan folk-rock band – Crittenden, drummer Brian Morrill, keyboardist John Neil and bassist John Connors – will release the long-anticipated double-album that features 15 new studio tracks along with four songs recorded live during a performance last year at Sandy Point Beach House in Grand Rapids.
After putting many of their newer songs “on the back shelf” for years, the band finally “sifted through all of the material that had accumulated and picked the best stuff” for the album, Crittenden said.
The resulting collection includes the sort of outdoorsy, folk-rock tracks that “tried-and-true fans” of the band have long admired, as well as some songs that are a “little different” from the norm.
This week’s edition of Local Spins on WYCE debuted two tracks from the new album – the appropriately named “Worth the Wait” and “Balloon.” Scroll down to listen to the tracks, interview and full radio show.
A ‘FULL-SHOW’ ALBUM-RELEASE WITH SPECIAL GUESTS
The band celebrates the double-album’s release during a sold-out concert tonight (May 5) at Midtown in Grand Rapids, with backing singers Tara Cleveland and Bethany Rae joining Troll for Trout, along with saxophonists John Gist and Otis Connors. Phil Biggs and Kevin Paul will open the 7:30 p.m. show.
Crittenden said Midtown makes an ideal venue for the story-telling, singer-songwriter flavor of the album-release show. The performance will feature new tracks and old favorites, with the saxophonists adding a “Van Morrison-esque extra texture” to the evening set.
He stressed that Troll for Trout is “not going crazy with gigs” in 2023, but plans to make each show special for fans, including a July 21 return to Grand Rapids’ Sandy Point Beach House.
More than anything, the long-delayed release of “North Downriver Road” represents a full-circle milestone for a band that played its first gig in June 1993 at Grand Rapids’ Festival of the Arts. It has since played more than 1,500 live shows and released six full-length albums of original songs.
Like the well-traveled road for which the latest album is named, fans – and band members – keep coming back to experience Troll for Trout’s charm.
“We tried to kill it once, back in 2001,” Crittenden joked. “That lasted about nine months.”
The album is available for streaming and can be purchased online here.
In addition to highlighting Troll for Trout’s new music, this week’s edition of Local Spins on WYCE – which spotlights local and regional music at 11 a.m. Friday on WYCE (88.1 FM) and online at wyce.org – also featured new music by Max Lockwood, American Restless, Jim Alfredson, Jeff Karoub, Jeff Socia, James Filkins, Michigander and Silver Creek Revival, as well as a track by Cabildo in honor of Cinco de Mayo. Listen to the full radio show here.
PODCAST: Local Spins on WYCE (5/5/23)
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