Worldwide Collaboration: An Interview with Robert Jon and the Wreck

When Robert Jon & the Wreck began the creation process of their latest album, Last Light on the Highway, they knew they wanted to make a statement.

In addition to self-producing the entire album, they used their networking skills to collaborate with brilliant musicians. Blues rock guitarist Joe Bonamassa’s background singers recorded vocals from Australia. Singer/songwriter Marc Broussard’s horn players added their piece from New Orleans. Despite working around the world, the songs came together in a way that they had only dreamed of.

“It was amazing because we didn’t have one single note to give any of these amazing musicians,” drummer Andrew Espantman said. “They were that good. We put all of those pieces together at the end and it sounded amazing. A real worldwide collaboration.”

They also made sure that the album was reminiscent of their previous work. Long instrumentals are part of the Robert Jon and the Wreck signature and this album was no different; this time they pulled out all the stops. The two end tracks, “Last Light on the Highway, Pt. 1” and “Last Light on the Highway, Pt. 2”, are a testament to the sound that listeners know and love from the band with an undeniable twist.

“We threw away all of our sensibilities about what makes a good, catchy song and just tried to make a musical statement,” Espantman said. “It’s a really good feeling seeing that the audience appreciated that we took that risk and we’re supportive of the end of the record. The reviews have also been really supportive of those tracks as well which is always great to hear when you’re pushing the boundaries.”

The only thing that has really gotten in their way, naturally, is a worldwide pandemic. Tour dates have been rescheduled, marketing for the album has been reimagined, but they’ve figured out a plan that works for them.

They recently released the music video for “Do You Remember”, which shares footage from several years of tour. It brought back a lot of wonderful memories as they played back the clips, and they even spoke about it on their podcast, The Wreck Podcast.

“We were a bunch of broke 20-somethings in a tiny van with maybe seven shows booked for a two-month tour,” Espantman said. “We had a lot of blind faith back then and it led to some of the best times in our lives.”

The song itself is about reminiscing on how easy it was to be a child and trying to find that sense of freedom again. When the pandemic hit, the lyric “do you remember being free” took on a whole new meaning to them and they wanted to share the positivity that they found in what they’ve accomplished so far.

“Especially now more than ever we just want people to know they’re not alone,” Espantman said. “We’ve gone through terrible relationships, depression, hardships, drugs, drinking, you name it. The only thing that’s kept us alive is having each other and treating everyone like family. COVID hasn’t been any different. We’ve tried to stay positive with each other even though we haven’t been playing as much. It’s only through each other that we’ve been able to stay sane and get through this. Don’t stop moving forward. Push through the pain with the people you love. Stay safe and we love you.”