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O.A.R. - Evolution of a Song – Episode 1

Ben Fong-Torres

Ben Fong-Torres

Posted to New Releases on May 13, 2016

Music fans have always enjoyed learning how some of their favorite music gets made. They’ve dug shows ranging from the jazz critic Ralph J. Gleason’s Anatomy of a Hit to the ongoing series, Classic Albums, which you’ll find here at Qello. From Elvis to Elton, and whether it’s Pink Floyd or Bruce Springsteen, it’s fun looking back at the creation of music and hearing new things in that music. But what if artists were captured as they were creating that music, from the first chords plunked on a guitar or piano; the first mutterings of possible lyrics; the fleshing out of an idea for a song?

That’s the idea here. This is the first in a six-part original series from Qello Concerts, and it’s O.A.R. who are up for the experiment. And there’s drama involved. O.A.R. has been a successful band for 20 years, but it’s been eight years since their last big hit, “Shattered (Turn the Car Around).” The band, along with their manager and record label, Concord Music Group, are hoping they can come up with “one great song,” one that will get on the radio and, as lead singer and chief songwriter Marc Roberge adds, keep the guys working another five years.

That’s pressure. As Dan Sell, Concord’s chief operating officer, says, “You don’t see many bands say ‘We’ve got to write the song of our career—and we have to document it…and release it as an ongoing series.’ That takes a lot of balls.”

Director Peter Harding deftly mixes interviews with band members at work and at home; they all talk about songwriting (Allen Stone quotes Johnny Cash’s line about a good song being, simply, ‘Four chords and the truth’).

But, as we watch Roberge at work, we see that it’s not that simple. “I’m in savior mode,” he says while working on a song. “Like, we’d better get to the next level, or…”

What does he say? No spoilers here. But he sets up a perfect cliff-hanger.

Evolution of a Song - O.A.R.

Even if you weren’t reading Rolling Stone magazine in the late '60s /early '70s, you might still know who Ben Fong-Torres is from the movie “Almost Famous.” Ben Fong-Torres is the legendary Rolling Stone Senior Editor who was characterized in the Cameron Crowe movie and now,… More

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