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Popping the Cork: Train

On their sixth studio album, the newly anointed vintners in Train serve up carefree, California-flavored rock...

By Elizabeth Barker
Posted April 13, 2012

MusicLast year, Grammy-winning pop-rock trio Train teamed up with the San Francisco Wine Co. to produce their own line of red and white. Taking their names from two of Bay Area band's biggest hits, the Drops of Jupiter petite syrah and Calling All Angels chardonnay allowed vocalist Patrick Monahan, guitarist Scott Underwood, and drummer Jimmy Stafford to share their oenophilia with fans across the country. But despite the considerable buzz behind their new endeavor, Train recently returned to the studio to create their latest collection of rootsy and gorgeously melodic rock music.

Due out this month, Train's sixth full-length album California 37 serves as the follow up to Save Me, San Francisco (the 2009 album that featured hit single "Hey, Soul Sister"). The record's uptempo lead single "Drive By" shows Train in top form, with Monahan's soulful vocals backed by a flamenco-inspired guitar. The video, meanwhile, gives a nod to Train's wine-loving spirit by taking its setting in a lush vineyard (complete with grape-stomping and much imbibing).

Formed in the early 1990s—shortly after the breakup of Monahan's Led Zeppelin cover band—Train got their start playing coffeehouses and swiftly landed opening slots on national tours by big-time bands like the Barenaked Ladies and Counting Crows. Soon after signing with Columbia Records, Train earned its first top 40 hit with "Meet Virginia" in 1999—a smash success that paved the way for 2001's multiplatinum album Drops of Jupiter (whose title track scored the Best Rock Song award at the 2002 Grammys).

Not the only new offering from Train, California 37 may soon be followed by an addition to the band's wine collection (from which a percentage of proceeds go toward Family House, a nonprofit that provides temporary housing to the families of seriously ill children). In a recent Rolling Stone interview, Monahan announced plans to expand the line with a Save Me, San Francisco-referencing bottle named Hella Fine Merlot—and quite possibly a Train-branded chocolate bar.

California 37 by Train will be released by Columbia Records on April 17.

 

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