Run Boy Run’s “Something to Someone”

August 31, 2014 |
Run Boy Run Photo courtesy Run Boy Run

Run Boy Run
photo courtesy Run Boy Run

The quintet comprising Run Boy Run is a tightly knit group, playing together since 2009 when they blended as a band through that most-common connection vehicle in greater Tucson, the UofA. Driven by virtuoso fiddle, cello, stand-up bass, guitar, and, above all, beautiful melodies and unearthly female vocal harmonies, they’ve carved a regional name for themselves squarely at the intersection of bluegrass, Americana, folk and classical.

Friday, Sept. 5 sees the CD release party for “Something for Someone,” an eleven-track recording that is deep, complex, and often melancholy; ten of which are original compositions. Recorded in Seattle and released on their own Sky Island Records label, the second full-length album finds the band displaying the instrumental virtuosity that characterized last year’s release “So Sang the Whippoorwill,” with a songwriting maturity.

Violin, guitar player and band manager Matt Rolland addresses the band’s songwriting process: “We approach songwriting individually, but song-arranging collaboratively. We have five songwriters in the band. The songs (on this album) are largely born out of our first national tour in 2013, traveling 25,000 miles in two and a half months. We all wrote songs on the road and after we returned home… we were hungry to get together and work up band versions of those songs.”

The album was constructed from those songs, and taken from bare idea to fully arranged and recorded in two months. “It was an experiment of sorts to try to do the album the way we did – learning all those new songs, arranging them, and then recording them – in a two month period. The end product is a testament to the group’s creative process and also a painting of where we are at right now as musicians and songwriters,” elucidates Rolland.

The band connections run deep with Rolland married to Bekah Sandoval – writer, fiddler, guitarist and one of three female power-house vocalists in the group – her songwriting sister Jen Sandoval also sings and plays mandolin; and cellist, vocalist, and Rolland’s sister Grace Rolland is also a part. The band is rounded out by bassist Jesse Allen.

“At the end of the day, it helps to be related because you’re committed to putting back together whatever is broken. There’s a shared history with siblings that is just a reality for us – it helps in some ways and challenges us in just as many ways. Fortunately, nothing has been broken that badly in the band other than a collarbone and an ankle,” Rolland gratefully states.

Run Boy Run Album CoverNotable album tracks include The Lord Taketh Away and Heavy the Sorrow – both require more than one listen! On these cuts, the writers are clearly pulling deeply from the sad proud Americana tradition of composing slower, heart-wrenching songs about betrayal, death, loss, and faith.

Third track Dream in the Night is a lilting melancholy number which could have been composed after walking Tucson’s North 4th Avenue, and to the listener, begs the question: Was it?

“In a way, it was,” Rolland explains. “Bekah (Sandoval) wrote this song while we were on the road, missing Tucson. The imagery comes from the Dia de los Muertos parade that takes place downtown. We recorded this song live at the studio – one of the only songs on the album we did this way. We wanted to sound like you could be hearing it in a club, lights low, candles flickering… (a) sensory experience reflective of the parade itself – sights, sounds, colors, and music in all directions.”

If one has experienced Tucson’s soul-stirring All Souls Procession, which Rolland references, that feeling rings true through the cut.

There are also foot-moving toe-tappers here. Song six, an instrumental entitled Sunday for Larks, has a classical chamber-music feel and a dance feel at the same time. And the last track on the release, is both sad, emotionally, and moving, physically, as the lyrics of Far From My Home carry us through the ultimately fruitless empty search for love away from home, and, as the tune progresses to the second and final movement of the piece, called The Lion and the Fawn, a dance again breaks out for the listener, who is sent away from the listening experience with a spring in their step.

The band is definitely gaining national exposure. By the end of 2014, they’ll have logged six regional tours at years’ end, performing over one hundred live shows. From Sept. 3 through Nov. 16, Run Boy Run will perform twenty-one times in ten different states.

“We’ve learned that three weeks is our ideal tour length; much longer and our voices wear out, limbs get tired, we get road-weary,” says Rolland. “We’ve learned that booking a balance of show types on tour – clubs, festivals, concerts, house concerts, radio spots – helps us come away feeling energized from a tour.”

Catch them before they hit the road again!

Run Boy Run performs on Friday, Sept. 5 at the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St., along with Ryanhood before embarking on its ten state odyssey. The official release date for the album is Oct. 28. Pre-orders CD, digital or vinyl are available at For more show details, see