There’s an assumed certitude projected onto a band like RED. Whether it’s the GRAMMY nomination or Dove-wins, best-selling albums or chart-topping singles, it’s easy to believe these guys—guitarist Anthony Armstrong, bassist Randy Armstrong and vocalist Michael Barnes—have it made. That’s simply not the case.
To hear Anthony Armstrong tell the story, the members of RED are questioning a lot of things these days as they release their latest album, Gone (Essential Records, Oct. 27, 2017—buy). They face potential independence after years spent signed with Sony/Essential. They also want to remain relevant with each album, making sure they’re asking and answering questions that resonate with fans and each other. Even more, Armstrong says, RED is concerned about their own legacy, searching inward to make sure they’re accomplishing what they originally set out to do as young friends and musicians who relocated to Nashville to “make it” in the music industry.
Added together, Armstrong and company aren’t taking anything for granted, and they’re certainly not content to coast along for the ride, believing that their previous success is any guarantee for the future. It’s a testament to their humility and work ethic, but Armstrong says it’s also tied to the tension of our modern culture.
“As violent as the world has gotten, it seems there’s a lot of fear out there,” says Armstrong. “People aren’t understanding, rightfully so, what’s happening with the world and why so many people are trying to abdicate the throne, so to speak. The ISIS situation, the constant terror attacks, the suicides of famous musicians that we’ve all looked up to coming up through the ranks—there’s so much craziness happening every single day. Everything is in such turmoil for so many people. That’s where our head was in the middle of making this record.”
Gone is the band’s sixth full-length album and speaks directly to these uncertain times marked by unexplainable turmoil and violence. The band’s own responses mirror the conversations they’re having with fans every night after a show—asking deep questions related to suffering while also expressing joy in the midst of such troubles.
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