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The Renegade Saints

Last Updated: 01/27/2009

Mercy Saints Alive! (New Album)

Last Updated: 01/27/2009

THE RENEGADE SAINTS: Mercy Saints Alive!

Last Updated: 01/27/2009

It's their second: "Mercy Saints Alive"! Recorded live at the Edgefield, as part of McMenamin’s Great Northwest Music Tour, faithfully captures their excitable Northern Rock sound. They’ve dusted off the old material, with better musical chops, better voices, better clothes (but less hair and shorter solos). They’ve also added new material from their more recent bodies of work (as Kerosene Dream & John Shipe Bands.)

Last Updated: 01/27/2009

Saints today: Shipe, Ned, Mike (bald), Dave (goatee), Al

Last Updated: 01/27/2009


Between that promising opener for Bob Dylan at the Hult Center in Eugene, Oregon, and the sell-out swan song show at The Roseland in Portland 5 years later, The Renegade Saints played a thousand gigs, bringing a brand of "Northern Rock" all over the country.

Last Updated: 01/27/2009


Last Updated: 12/12/2006

The Saints Line-up

Dave Coey (bass, vocals)
John Shipe (vocals, guitar)
Al Toribio (guitar, vocals)
Mike Walker (keyboards)
Drummers (in chronological order): Matt Reynolds, Mike Partlow, Andy Mitchell, Mike Partlow, Dave Austin, Ned Failing

Last Updated: 12/12/2006

A Metronews Music Review by Randy Krbechek

Renegade Saints, Fear of the Sky (River Road Records 1994) -- Here's a rare combination -- a debut album for both a band and a label. River Road Records, a new label out of Minneapolis, has signed the Renegade Saints as their first act. This five-piece band make an auspicious debut on Fear of the Sky; if only radio can find them, they should catch fire.

The Renegade Saints are based in Eugene, Oregon, and consist of Mike Walker on Hammond organ and piano, Dave Coey on bass and vocals, John Shipe on guitar and vocals, Alan Toribio on guitar and vocals, and Andy Mitchell on drums. With a sound that is dominated by the richness of a Hammond organ, three-part vocal harmonies, and rockin' rhythm and guitar, Renegade Saints conjure up images of Santana and The Allman Brothers.

Featuring three lead singers, Fear of the Sky doesn't settle into a single groove -- rather, each singer brings his own spin to the fold. When asked what message they were trying to convey in the album, John Shipe said, "Everybody is fucked up in some way or another, so we should quit giving each other a hard time about it. One way to say that in music is to open up and make yourself vulnerable."

Mike Walker adds that his biggest learning experience was "coming to college at a time of existential bewilderment. I was ripe for enlightenment and was given much food for thought, both in and outside of school. Anecdotally, riding my Sting Ray off a four-foot drop because Evel Knevil made it look so easy taught me several things. Some things aren't as easy the pros make them look; the laws of physics require a ramp in order to gain elevation; and always cover your nuts when throwing yourself into a freefall."

On their best tracks, such as "Thin Layer" and "Something Good," the Renegade Saints deliver a heady, rocking mix that sounds like a cross between Big Head Todd and Blues Traveler. However, the real highlights of the album are the more countrified/acoustic numbers like "Tara" and "Deep End." In particular, the splendid gospel harmony vocals on "Deep End" sounds like they came straight off the great new album from the Subdudes (Annunciation, on High Street Records).

"Deep End" is a true showcase for the talents of the band, and a song that deserved considerable air play. Fear of the Sky ought to be a big crossover hit, as River Road Records has found a real gem. But if you haven't figured it out by now, let me make it plain -- there's no justice in the music business. Bands are judged based on their label affiliation instead of their true talents. So be fair and open minded -- give the Renegade Saints a chance, and you'll like them.

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