Rye Brothers

We have written about Rye Brothers in past publications of the Laughlin entertainer. They are a relatively fast riser on the lounge band circuit, having been together in one personnel make-up or another only since 2015. But whatever the makeup, the two founding members, Justin Foutz (lead guitar, lead vocals) and Paul Justin (lead guitar, lead vocals) are the necessary driving force and essence of this SoCal based band.
The booking for the band at the Losers’ Lounge is not an inaugural one. They have played here before, as well as other venues in Laughlin. But Loser’s is a bit different. This lounge primarily features rock bands and Rye Brothers is primarily a country band. They get re-booked here because they are a talented group of musicians who can reach over to rock with ease, as well as deliver viable originals. And that is why we have featured them in various past issues.
In addition to Foutz and Justin, band members include Jeff Sorenson (drums and backing vocals); and newest member Evan Chudnow (bass and backing vocals).
We caught up with Evan Chudnow via a phone interview last week to get some insight into the band beyond just what we have heard from the stage. Here’s his take on…

As a new member, what impressed you with this group going in?
Chudnow: One of the immediate things that jumps out is the strong songwriting—the strong originals and the emphasis they put on trying to write accessible music that can speak to a large audience.
Also, there are multiple lead singers and songwriters with two strong frontmen in Paul Justin and Justin Foutz. Both of them do a lot of songwriting and collaboration within the band.
Also, our drummer Jeff writes and throws his hat in the ring. I have a lot of songwriting collaboration in my background, but I’m new, so there’s only a couple of songs I’ve been able to work on with them. I’m looking forward to doing more of that in the near future. I sing as well and have been singing more lead, so, now we actually have three lead singers for the cover shows.
We definitely all have a deep love for playing music and playing it well. That’s one thing that stands out with the band. That creates camaraderie and brotherhood. There’s always challenging moments with any band. I always say it’s like being in a relationship, except it’s like four of you.

Give me five words to describe your sound.
Chudnow: Rockin,’ energy, twangy, tight and inspiring. Not bad for putting me on the spot. That’s a tough question.

Original songs…
Chudnow: A lot of people are surprised by the accessibility of the originals. They stand out as something you could have heard on the radio. And maybe that will be the case in the future.

How do you guys go about choosing which cover songs to play?
Chudnow: The catalogue is just ever growing. We’ve all played in a lot of different bands so we each bring songs to the sets.
And we get requests that we have to learn so we don’t disappoint the audience. Some people expect you to know every country song ever written. We know 200, maybe 300, and that’s a lot, but they’ll want to hear the one we may not immediately know—so we have to have them ready to go.
It’s like sometimes on breaks someone comes up and says, “Here’s a hundred bucks, can you play this song?” Then we’re like, “Yeah, we can learn that song real quick for you.”
And then we do rock stuff, too. We have this whole 150-200 or more catalogue of country songs and another 75 to 100 rock songs that we can do, too. So we don’t generally do the same set every time we have a span of gigs. We might do the same one a couple nights in a row—if it makes sense—but we also like to switch it up.

Going about the business of creating a fan base…
Chudnow: We love to go back to places every month or every two months. It makes sense for both us and the venue. For example, we play in Mesquite, Nevada, in a couple weeks. That’s a drive for us so it doesn’t make sense for us to book that every month—but they’ve been excited about us playing that gig because there are people up there asking “When are you gonna come back next?”
You want to come back and re-establish that relationship and continue to build on a following at all these various far out places we tend to play.

What original song goes over best with crowds?
Chudnow: I think the song “Sixteen,” is the one that people go, “Whoa, that’s one of your songs?” It utilizes all the five buzzwords I just gave you earlier. That’s my favorite of all the originals.

Social media…
Chudnow: We’ve been doing Facebook live sessions at Jeff’s (Sorenson) home studio in Burbank. He’s a real techie with cutting edge technology and was able to set up these multi-camera live Facebook sessions. That’s one of our main avenues to try and get people interested in our originals and get stuff out there and do something a little different than everyone else.
People can access these sessions through our Facebook page. If you’re not able to tune in live, the video’s there forever for you to watch. It’s fun—you get a little back story, you get a little bit of just us chuckling around and making fun of each other—telling stories of the songs and, hopefully, play them well ’cause we’re doing them live.


Riverside Losers’ Lounge

Wednesday-Saturday, December 14-17 (8 p.m.-1:30 a.m.), no cover