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O.A.R. Rows On With Evolved Sound

Of the Oakland Press

Posted: Friday, September 4, 2009

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With a No. 4 debut on the Billboard 200 chart and the group’s first Top 50 hit — “Shattered (Turn the Car Around)” — 2008’s “All Sides” took Columbus, Ohio, rockers O.A.R. into some uncharted territory.

“It was the best representation of the band to date,” says saxophonist Jerry DiPizzo, F1 “and it was really the record where O.A.R. found out how to be O.A.R. in the studio. We’re still really proud of the record.” But because “All Sides” is tighter and more polished than the expansive, jammy approach on which O.A.R. staked its reputation, the group has taken its lumps from older fans who’d rather not share their band with the mainstream. DiPizzo even recalls seeing some fans studiously not sing along to songs from the album at its shows.

He respects their position, however.

“The ones that speak up the most are the ones that have a real deep love and passion for the band,” notes DiPizzo, 30. “They’re certainly entitled to their opinion, and I take it with appreciation.”

DiPizzo also expects those fans will be happier with the next studio album, which O.A.R. plans to start recording in early 2010 — after releasing a live CD, recorded in Chicago, this fall. He describes it as “a fan’s record” that will bridge the gap between “All Sides” and O.A.R.’s earlier work.

“I think what we’re going to try to do on this next record is carry on that momentum and that style of writing (from ‘All Sides’) but maybe twist it a little left of center,” DiPizzo explains. “We really want to make ... a groove-oriented record that really showcases what O.A.R. does that other people don’t do.

“That vibe, that feeling that you get when you come to the O.A.R. shows, we’re still striving to put that on a record, and we’re getting closer and closer to doing that.”

O.A.R. and Brett Dennen perform at 7:30 p.m. Friday (Sept. 4) at the Meadow Brook Music Festival on the campus of Oakland University in Rochester Hills. Tickets are $35.50 pavilion, $20 lawn. Call (248) 377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com.

Web Site: www.palacenet.com

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