The original concept for the band and for its first release, Tenderfoot, was to reintroduce great rock tunes in a distinctive country style. Along the way, Run 8 Rider started writing its own material, and Tenderfoot ended up with an even split of originals and covers. The result is a striking mix of tunes that range freely across the heartland of American music.
One will hear shades of Mr. Cash, the cosmic country of Emmylou and Willie, diverse soundscapes a la Daniel Lanois, the modern alt of Wilco, as well as some new sounds that will captivate: driving beats, hot guitar, big vocals, and pedal steel guitar llano landscapes. There are some sad songs, some uplifting ones, and even a defiant anthem or two. And of course there’s some good ol’ Rock n Roll here as well.
The covers on Tenderfoot hail from some unexpected corners of the pop universe. Run 8 Rider works its “tenderizing” country magic on “I Gotta Feeling” by The Black Eyed Peas, Devo’s “Whip It”, and “Faith” by George Michael, along with more obscure gems like “Patience,” from the great Boston band Morphine, and “Ain’t No Rules,” from the hot U.K. 80s band, Transvision Vamp.
Run 8 Rider believes it essential that the music transmit the values that have made America great: self-determination, self-reliance, hard work, big fun, and big freedom.
Run 8 Rider is:
Joel A. Nielsen (aka BW Jackson) - lead vocalist, guitarist, 6 string banjo, poet, and patriot
Billy D. (aka Billy Radio) - vocals, lead guitarist, steel, other strings, and production
H. Mark Golden (aka Hoss) - the deep voice, guitarist, harmonica, philosopher, and historian
Sarah S. F. Nielsen (aka Zane) - drums, rhythm, backing vocals, backbone, and time
Nikky Beach - keyboards, backing vocals, spirit, and magic
The story of the music starts back in 2009, when Joel and Billy decided to try the tune, "Wonderwall," (by the English rock band, Oasis) with a country feel, and it sure felt all right! A few hours and couple of Single Malts later, a demo was made, with Sarah on drums (she being a lefty drummer on a righty drum set, and 8 months pregnant), and Nikky on tambourine. Before long, a band of five had formed, including Joel and Sarah from Wisconsin, Billy and Nikky from Massachusetts, and Mark from Alabama.
Mark and Billy are old friends for a long time, going back to college at Auburn University, where they embarked on many a picking fest, jamming in the wee hours at bluegrass festivals, hanging with the local music folk, and the like.
Joel was born in Motown but raised in a small town in northern Michigan. He has a background in guitar playing and singing rock and country tunes. Joel recently retired from the Army Reserve after 23 years of service including two deployments overseas. Joel contributed greatly to the production of Tenderfoot, engineering the drum sessions, as well as several late night vocal and percussion sessions at Grendel’s Lair, Joel and Sarah’s studio. Joel did most of the photography and graphics for the Tenderfoot album art and has a love for photography and film. Educated in comparative politics, he maintains a keen interest in international relations, firearms, archery, and most other things made of steel and/or leather.
Billy grew up in Daytona Beach, childhood home also of Duane and Gregg, and pretty much has had a guitar stuck to his arm since he was a small lad. He also has a background in saxophone and classical piano. While playing mostly rock in his early years, he got a fair dose of country from his dear Dad, who is a long time huge country music fan. Billy experimented with all sorts of guitars and styles, and is a big fan of jazz, experimental and progressive rock music, classical music, and of course bluegrass and country. Most recently he has started playing the steel guitar, which he loves, and finds is a universe unto itself. Billy is responsible for the arranging, production, and mixing of Tenderfoot. He, like Joel, but on a smaller scale, served his country in the Air Force during his earlier years. He likes waves, cold white frictionless surfaces, and all manner of stringed instruments.
Mark, originally from a small Georgia town known as “The Town Sherman Refused to Burn,” will be heard as the deep voice on the album…he definitely covers the Barry White territory! Mark is a southern gentleman, and the true historian of the band with regard to the long legacy of country music and its many sub-genres. Mark likes telecasters, tube amplifiers, a good laugh, microbrews, and fine food (food truck to Michelin 3 Star).
Nikky, originally from New York, has been a piano and guitar player for many years. She is in many ways the spiritual glue of the band and can be relied upon for solid innate judgment on production decisions. She contributed to the album cover art, and likes fashion, swimming, sand between her toes, and fast cars.
Sarah was born and raised in Michigan, and is, like Nikky, an integral part of the backbone and spirit of the group. Her musical experience is that of symphonic and kit drum percussion, and she keeps great time for the entire unit. She is a guiding light for production values, what looks and sounds good, and is responsible for much of the creative philosophy. Sarah likes really nice blue jeans, running, and… really fast cars.
Additional musicians on Tenderfoot:
Dave McNally, a renowned rock keyboardist, teacher, and classic keys aficionado from Rhode Island, provided the Mellotron parts on "Patience."
The strings on the album were arranged by Billy, and played by Yaiko Miranda, on violin, and Linor Katz, on cello, both from the New England Conservatory in Boston.