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The RTs

With Special Guest, Derek Eisel
Thursday, July 13th at 6pm

On the Village Green
203 N Beach Rd, Eastsound, WA 98245

The RTs

On May 26th, 2023, The RT’s released Imperfectionism, their most ambitious and original album to date.

In the modern musical landscape, it’s rare to find a band that stays together, committed to a collective vision. Conservatory-trained musicians (the five met in college studying jazz performance), the RT’s cut their teeth holding residencies at peanut shell-strewn bars across New York City and touring international jazz circuits. They built their reputation on delivering high-energy performances and recorded studio albums in pursuit of faithfulness to the endorphin rush of their live show.

Imperfectionism marks a transformation. Driven by a pop-forward, synth-infused sound, the eleven tracks showcase The RT’s songwriting at its most intimate and eclectic, unfettered and experimental. Always genre-bending, the fuzzy-toned guitar and hip hop-inspired percussion spur a psychedelic undercurrent, while restrained horns gesture toward their jazz-inspired past. It’s a dancefloor record with an eye toward introspection. The resulting sound is a little new wave, a little retro, and undeniably groovy.

Produced by long-time collaborator Chris Peck in his Hudson Valley recording studio and at Vinegar Hill Sound in Brooklyn, Imperfectionism was written primarily in the depths of 2020. For the first time, the five members of the Brooklyn-based quintet were physically separated: without the prospect of tour in sight, they were urged to look inward, and ultimately, to each other.

Over the course of their ten-plus-year history, The RT’s have placed collaboration at the center of their creative doctrine. Primary vocal duties are shared between Mike Harlen (bass), Alden Harris-McCoy (guitar), and Patrick Sargent (saxophone and keys), who take turns leading songs that speak to loss, self-preservation, and the disquieting nature of existing within a nation in flux. Their voices live in conversation with one another, offering subtle, omnipresent harmonies, leavened by additional vocals from Michael Fatum (trumpet) and Jamie Donald Eblen (drums).

The contrast between affecting lyrics and danceable grooves is compelling, but it’s the deeply felt creative partnership that makes Imperfectionism truly stand out. “Even when I can’t see clear, going on 20 years, I hold on for our love to be, and everything you mean to me,” Sargent croons weightlessly in the album closer, hinting at his – and his collaborators’ – journeyman history of multihyphenate musicianship. It evokes the intimacy and simplicity of a tale told directly from his piano bench: “I won’t let you down, for anyone,” he concludes, and it feels like a glorious release. In spite of the splintering of the pre-pandemic musical world that the band once inhabited and its precarious aftermath, with Imperfectionism, The RT’s know who they are.

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Derek Eisel

Derek Eisel is a farmer and musician on Lopez Island. He plays a one man show of songs and poems/storytelling broken into short sets where the audience can guess the theme to win a dozen eggs from Watmough Bay Farm, the farm he shares with his husband. You can find Derek’s book, What Kind of Man, at the Lopez Book Shop and at Elliott Bay Books in Seattle.

Glide Magazine said “Eisel explores relationships with a charming and earnest folk sensibility. With a vocal tone and cadence that at times brings to mind contemporaries like Father John Misty

Catch Derek in Seattle performing with longtime collaborator, muse and chanteuse Bobbi Jo Blessings at the Rabbit Box in Pike Market on July 23, and on August 5th at the Lopez Uncovered Music Festival, or every Saturday selling veggies and eggs at the Lopez Island Farmers Market.