Health & Safety Features
$1.00 per ticket sold will go to each’s band charity partner
Marymoor Park Concerts Presents
Summer Tour 2022
DISPATCH AND O.A.R.
$1.00 per ticket sold will go to each’s band charity partner
Marymoor Park Concerts Presents
Summer Tour 2022
DISPATCH AND O.A.R.
Marriage, birth, death, departure; for Dispatch, the only constant these past few years has been change. Add to that an exceedingly tense political climate, long-overdue reckonings on racial justice and gender equality, and a runaway global pandemic, and you’ve got an idea of what’s been fueling Chadwick Stokes’ and Brad Corrigan’s writing lately.
“It’s a scary time,” says Corrigan, “but it’s also a super inspiring time. I think people are realizing now more than ever how important it is to be fully present and engaged with what’s happening, how much we all belong to and rely on each other.”
It’s that spirit of collective awakening, of embracing change in all its pain and beauty that defines ‘Break Our Fall,’ Dispatch’s extraordinary new multi-part album. Marking the band’s eighth studio release and first full-length collection without longtime member Pete Francis, who stepped away in 2018 to focus on mental health, the record arrives in five distinct phases, each consisting of three tracks inspired by one of the emotional stages of grief and transition. The songs here speak not only to the band’s personal evolution, but to human nature itself, charting a course from denial and resistance to growth and acceptance through deep introspection and empathetic character studies. Heady as that all may sound, the music is pure Dispatch, blending infectious roots rock with hints of reggae, folk, and blues, and the production is similarly lean and energetic, leaving plenty of space for some of the group’s most pointed, political lyrics to date. The result is a timely and essential album from a band still breaking new ground two-and-a-half decades into its storied career, an ode to resilience and survival that manages to find hope and joy on even the darkest of days.
“Everyone in this country has been facing some kind of turmoil these last four years,” says Stokes. “As fathers of young kids who worry about what kind of world we’re leaving behind, as people who’ve lost family and friends to suicide and addiction, as bandmates navigating this transition from trio to duo, I think that feeling of everything being in flux was particularly acute for Brad and me. Writing’s always been the way we’ve made sense of the world, though, so that’s what we did.”
Making sense of our often-incomprehensible world has been at the core of Dispatch’s mission since the very start, when Stokes and Corrigan were still just students at Middlebury College in Vermont. Over the course of a slew of acclaimed studio and live albums and countless tours and festivals, the band would go onto become one of biggest success stories in independent music history, selling out three nights at Madison Square Garden and drawing over 100,000 fans to a massive outdoor show in their adopted hometown of Boston without any traditional radio or major label support. Rolling Stone called the group “roots-rock heroes,” while Billboard praised their “seamless harmonies, ragged edges and breezy attitude,” and SPIN hailed the band’s “remarkable renaissance.” Throughout their rise, Stokes and Corrigan took every opportunity to use their success for good, launching charitable organizations to fight poverty and mass incarceration, raising funds and awareness for environmental causes on the road, and even traveling as far afield as Nicaragua and Zimbabwe to work with children and communities in need.
“A lot of this new album is focused on what’s happening in America right now,” says Corrigan, “but it’s also really influenced by the experiences we’ve had outside of the country. Getting to know people who live in these desperately poor circumstances but still manage to smile and laugh and love and treat each other generously, that’s a life-changing thing. It teaches you what’s really important—community, family, cooperation, respect, kindness—and it makes you want to stand up for those things even more at home.”
While the band traditionally steered clear of anything too sharply political for much of its history, recent years have seen a shift towards more topical songwriting, and ‘Break Our Fall’ finds Stokes and Corrigan more explicit and outspoken than ever.
“Writing about the political climate and the issues that we care about has been really liberating for us,” says Stokes. “From the start, our core motivation for being in a band was to speak up about the things that really mattered to us, and I think that our experiences these last few years have really crystallized that.”
Though the heightened political stakes of the present moment and Francis’ recent exit both had a major impact on the group’s direction, they were far from the only dramatic changes that helped shape ‘Break Our Fall.’ In the span of less than a year, Corrigan got engaged, married, and became a father for the very first time. Stokes, meanwhile, welcomed his third child into the world, only to tragically lose his cousin to suicide just a few years later.
“We were both processing all of this personal joy and despair and growth and loss along with everything else going on in the country at the same time,” says Stokes. “Hundreds of thousands dead from COVID, the killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, the climate crisis, #MeToo; there was just a collective pain unlike anything we’ve ever experienced.”
Stokes and Corrigan tapped directly into that pain in the studio, working with frequent collaborators Mike Sawitzke (Eels) and John Dragonetti (The Submarines) to craft a wide-ranging collection all about coping and catharsis. The journey begins with the chaos of Phase 1, which works its way through a litany of modern fears and frustration on the driving “May We All” and laments the direction of the country in no uncertain terms on the simmering “All This Time” (listen closely for soulful vocal contributions from The White Buffalo). Reality sets in on Phase 2, with the heartache of missed opportunities and lost loved ones coming into sharp focus on songs like the bittersweet “As Old As I” and epic “Connie Hawkins,” which tips its cap to everything from Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen to The Cars and Violent Femmes. By the time the soaring title track arrives in Phase 3, though, a change is in the air, and grief and helplessness begin to give way to hope and determination.
“I wrote the title track about my late cousin, who was always there to break everyone else’s falls,” says Stokes. “His passing left me wondering what would happen without him, and the answer, I realized, is that we’d all have to step up and be there for each other. And I think that’s the case with the entire country right now. We’ve all got to look out for each other so we can bounce back from the ugliness of this moment and not just shatter into a thousand little pieces.”
The pendulum swings back towards optimism on Phase 4, with the stream of consciousness “Elevator Operator” and waltzing “Born On Earth” making peace with what lies beyond our control, but it’s the arrival of Phase 5 that truly signals the start of a new emotional chapter, as the dreamy “Stoned Enough” finds transcendence in human connection and ecstatic closer “Pour Into You” recognizes that, despite all our brokenness, love remains, and always will.
“We wanted to walk people through the feelings of sadness and anger and loss we’ve all been experiencing lately and take them to the other side,” says Corrigan. “We wanted to deliver them to a place where they’re wiser and more compassionate, a place where they’re kinder and more unified, a place where they’re ready to truly protect and care for each other.”
It’d be a lofty goal at any time, let alone coming off of the brutal year we’ve all just bruised our way through, but that’s no concern for Stokes and Corrigan. At the end of the day, Dispatch doesn’t just believe in the impossible, they’ve made a career of achieving it.
O.A.R. might just be music’s biggest best kept secret. The platinum-certified Rockville, MD band has quietly sold out Madison Square Garden twice, filled Red Rocks Amphitheater a dozen times, earned platinum and gold plaques, lit up the Times Square New Year’s Eve celebration, and built one of the most committed fanbases in the world. The group—Marc Roberge [lead vocals, guitar], Richard On [lead guitar, backing vocals], Chris Culos [drums], Benj Gershman [bass], and Jerry DePizzo [saxophone, guitar, backing vocals] accompanied by Mikel Paris [keys, backing vocals, percussion], and Jon Lampley [trumpet, backing vocals]—ring in 25 years together by strengthening this special bond with audiences everywhere.
“When we were kids during summer, we’d hijack a minivan from one of our moms, head to the local amphitheater, and watch our favorite bands,” recalls Marc. “On the way, I’d look out the window and think, ‘I’d like to be in a band that gives this to people’. We’ve got an original crew. It’s like Stand By Me, The Goonies, or Stranger Things. We put the essence of neighborhood friends into our songs.”
The implications of this secret have become downright mythic over the years. As legend has it, O.A.R. took the stage for the first time at the eighth grade talent show. “That is still one of my proudest moments,” grins Marc. “I love the fact we had the guts to do it.” A few years down the road, Jerry joined the fold at the Ohio State University. While in high school, Marc instituted a sales rep program, asking friends who had gone away to college to sell boxes of CDs and document the names and emails of each buyer, attracting a grassroots following. Tens of thousands of hours later, they sold out Madison Square Garden for the first time in 2006 only to repeat this feat one year later. Along the way, two singles—“Love and Memories” and “Peace”—and the live album Any Time Now went gold as “Shattered” achieved platinum status. The 2011 anthem “Heaven” emerged as their most successful song on the West Coast. 2019’s The Mighty marked the group’s third consecutive Top 15 debut on the Billboard Top 200. Piquing the curiosity of media, they’ve incited think pieces by everyone from the New York Times to Sports Illustrated and performed on The Today Show, The Tonight Show, Live with Kelly and Ryan, the Special Olympics Opening Ceremony, the ESPYS, and more. They have done it on their own terms.
“We’ve always had an independent spirit,” affirms Jerry. “The crowds give us the energy to forge our own path. We’re not beholden to traditional cycles, schedules, or any of that bullshit. We contribute a soundtrack to people’s lives, and take a lot of pride in it. Internally, we’re a cottage industry. This is a small business run by five friends, and we do it daily. It comes down to always super-serving the crowd.
We put ourselves in a fan’s shoes, think about what we would want from our favorite band, and do our best to execute that.”
The ardor and adulation of the fan community comes through loud and clear among forums of diehards. Beyond indulging this community, O.A.R. gives back as well. The band’s Heard The World Fund supports youth, education, and the under-served in the United States, raising, and contributing millions to benefit various schools, students, and organizations. They established a scholarship at their alma mater, the Ohio State University, and provide scholarships to veterans and gold star families via Folds of Honor. The Concert For Dreams, performed at NYC’s famous Beacon Theater, raised north of $1 million for Garden of Dreams. Additionally, the band has gone to bat for causes, including Connor’s Cure to stand up to pediatric cancer. They raised and donated $100,000 for the Jimmy V Foundation.
“We feel a moral obligation to help,” adds Jerry.
At the onset of the COVID-19 Pandemic, O.A.R. engaged listeners in a different way. The frontman launched “I Feel Home with Marc” on Instagram Live, playing acoustically, communicating from the heart, and bringing a little light to the world. Impressively, he drew tens of thousands of viewers on a regular basis.
“I didn’t want to do it,” he admits. “Then, everything changed. My daughter asked, ‘Hey, are you going to sing songs again? Are you going to write?’ So, I thought, ‘I’m going Live. Let’s give it a swing’. I’m sitting in the house, playing guitar, and it’s like getting on stage at a little club or a bar. We all need to be together even if we can’t do so in-person. I fell in love with the process.”
In the end, the bigger this secret gets, the more special it becomes.
“We’re in a constant state of appreciation,” Marc concludes. “This isn’t something we have to do; it’s something we get to do. It comes from a pure place of imagination. O.A.R. is not only a declaration that we’re here, but that we’re going through what you’re going through. To all of us, O.A.R. is a stable, concrete foundation. We’re all doing this for the right reasons, and we’re a family.”
“Each day since I was five-years-old, I’ve woken up and chased my dream,” Jerry leaves off.
“This is a manifestation of the same dream. We won’t ever take it for granted.”
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