Photo: The band Train Company recently released their third CD, “The Remains of an Effort.” Photo courtesy of Train Company
by Amanda Niemi
ST.CHARLES—After four years of finding their eclectic sound, local quintet Train Company has made it on the major music scene with the release of their album “The Remains of an Effort.”
The album takes styles from Chicago blues, bluegrass, jazz and rock, and incorporates backup artists and a string quartet to create the band’s “most ambitious project” to date.
This is Train Company’s first major album release since their debut EP. It took one day for the band to record those three initial songs; “The Remains of an Effort,” aptly titled, took over two years to complete.
“It finally feels like the real thing,” band frontman said John Zozarro said.
The self-described “rotating group of musicians” consists of a core group that includes Johnny Zozarro (lead vocals, guitar), Mark Alletag (saxophone, guitar, woodwinds), Mike DeWitte (bass, backing vocals), Rob Lejman (drums), and, most recently Sam Wyatt (piano, keyboards, and key-tar).
“We’ve evolved not only stylistically, but we grew up together, too,” Zozarro said. “We started (Train Company) when we were just 21; you can hear how we’ve grown in our song composition and styles. We’re putting out the best we can do right now.”
The band made a decided choice to “keep it local” and give back to their fans as over 500 people came to “The Remains of an Effort” album release at St. Charles’ historic Arcada Theatre on Aug. 17.
“We have such a strong backbone in St. Charles and wanted to bring the show to them,” Zozarro said. “The Arcada is historic and beautiful; it worked out perfectly.”
The record release at the Arcada was Train Company’s biggest production to date, including back-up singers, strings and horns.
“At one time there were 17 of us on stage,” Zozarro said.
Fans were vocal about the CD release on the band’s Facebook page, posting pictures, well-wishes and positive reviews.
“I can’t stop listening to this CD; repeat for days. It’s beautiful,” said one fan from St. Charles.
“Sooooo I just heard your entire new album like (two) days ago, and I gotta ask … did you intentionally make me not want to listen to anything else?” said a fan from Chicago.
Zozarro seemed humbled by the bands supporters, new and old.
“We’ve had nothing but positive remarks all around from fans, blogs, magazines and news (organizations). We released something we were 100 percent satisfied with.”
Their recent tour included some impressive music venues, including Chicago’s Double Door, House of Blues, Metro, and South By South West (SXSW) in Austin, Texas. The band has also been an opening act for major acts like Counting Crows, Blind Melon and Blues Traveler.
Though the band chose to stay local for their first major release, Zozarro said they’re looking toward bigger things for the future.
“Over the last six months, we really wanted to release the album in the right way,” he said. “We’ve been fairly concerned in this area. We did the weekend warrior shows in the past, but this was our first big tour.”
Even though it’s been only a year and a half since the band ventured out of local venues, they’re confident they won’t have to play bars anymore.”
Train Company’s next performance will take place at Martyrs in Chicago on Friday, Sept. 7, at 9 p.m.
For more information on “The Remains of an Effort,” tour dates, or to contact the band, visit TrainCompany.net or email TrainCompany@gmail.com.