UWeekly – Local Gold
By Kyle Reisz
Now that we can do anything, what do we do? For some time, songwriter and community activist Andy Gallagher struggled with that very question. And when it finally came to him, the Columbus music scene and arts scene as a whole, got a big shot in the arm. Gallagher’s answer was to quit his job and focus on two things: his band, Trains Across the Sea and the newly established Peach District.
“If there is this thing that I want to do, then I should go for it,” Gallagher said. “I took a year off and just focused on Trains. Literally every day, I woke up, ate breakfast and figured out what the next thing to do was, and the first thing to do was make this album.”
The album is “Greetings from the Peach District,” a folk dagwood loaded up with all the rock’n’roll toppings and stuffed into a 19-minute wrapper.
“I was living in the Peach District at the time, I am one of the contributing, founding members of the Peach District and am still active, so it seemed like a nice little ‘welcome to our crazy world of nice, community biking people,'” Gallahger said.
While the disc is short, it was a very intentional move.
“It’s exactly the length of my mother’s commute to work, and is actually the average commute time for Columbus. It is absolutely the perfect thing to listen to in the car,” Gallagher laughed.
Recorded with the help of fellow bandmates Joe Gilliland (guitar), Counterfeit Madison (keys/vox) and Adam Nedrow (percussion), the disc was named 2009’s “most fun album of the year” by a Columbus artist. [ed. note: I hadn’t met Joe, Counterfeit, or Adam when I was making this record, and it was named “most fun” by Columbus Alive.]
“We like to make a very clear distinction between folk rock and folk rock’n’roll,” Gallagher said.
“Folk rock does not sound like a very good idea, but at least what we get with folk rock’n’roll, I think, is much more ’50s rockabilly sort of soul influences,” he said.
While the band and the album are lending serious credit to the Columbus music scene as a burgeoning national hot bed, it’s only the tip of the iceberg for Gallagher’s contributions to this city. Frustrated by the pervasive notion that to “make it” as an artist you must head off to the green indie pastures of NYC or Austin, Gallagher became instrumental in planting the seeds of the Peach District. And, while the area can be geographically defined, the neighborhood between Victorian Village and campus, it’s also a philosophy.
“It’s nothing more than a bunch of people who, instead of complaining that stuff they want to happen in their community isn’t, they just make it happen,” Gallagher said. “You have to take a much more active role in your own happiness and your own community and your own everything, and so the Peach District is just people who are similarly minded about that, but who also like to drink and put on fun shows.”
The district and its founders were responsible (and perhaps best known for) a variety show-style series it hosted earlier this year know as “The Greatest Show.” A total of 11 events featured everything from Burlesque to stand-up comics and served as a giant networking event that has spurred many more artist collaborations within the city.
As the Peach District comes into its own, so has Trains Across the Sea. Gallagher was excited to talk about the band’s sophomore album, “Thanks For Coming Out Tonight,” which will be available in hard copy form August 19 and online even sooner.
“I have just finished, actually just got the master[ed] track back two days ago,” Gallagher said. “That’s what I’ve been doing for the past two months and it’s been a lot of work, but I definitely think it’s paid off.”