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Ripe (Glassnote)

Ripe’s new album, Bright Blues, is a collection of 12 songs the Boston-based quintet put together to weather the tough times of the past few years. They’ve had a shifting lineup, a change in management, and challenges in the musicians' personal lives. Then the pandemic made the recording of the album into a bi-coastal project.


“The wildest thing for me is that the record simultaneously sounds like it has the scars of everything we’ve been through and also that it doesn’t – it’s joyful music, which is very exciting given that it was made in the middle of getting hit in the stomach,” says singer Robbie Wulfson, who came together with guitarist Jon Becker, drummer Sampson Hellerman, trombonist Calvin Barthel and bassist Nadav Shapira while they were students at Berklee College of Music.


Ripe received kudos from publications like The Boston Globe and Huffington Post with their first two EP’s Produce The Juice and Hey Hello, a sound the band built on, folding in a hint of R& B. Their streams on Spotify grew exponentially past 56 million. Ripe would conquer stages at festivals including Bonnaroo, Firefly, SweetWater, and Bottlerock, selling thousands of tickets across the US, including sell-outs at iconic venues such as the House of Blues Houston and Brooklyn Steel.


Signing with Glassnote Records, Ripe was ready to approach Bright Blues from a different perspective, bringing in outside producer Paul Butler (St. Paul & the Broken Bones, Michael Kiwanuka), and co-writers for the first time, recording four songs they released as singles throughout 2020. “We thought, how can we do something new?” Hellerman says. “Something that still carries our sound and vibe at its core, how can we expand our boundaries and reach more audiences while still staying true to what makes Ripe Ripe."


The answer had the band teaming up with Noah Conrad (BTS, Niall Horan) and Ryan Linville (Olivia Rodrigo, Dermot Kennedy), who were classmates from Berklee, as well as up-and-comers in the world of Pop songwriting and production. Along with its collaborators, Ripe created a buoyant sound on the album’s opener “Get Over,” where synths flesh out a throwback pop sound. “All or Nothing” has Soul elements where horns accentuate snappy rhythms that power the smooth, fully self-assured vocals. The result is a record that shows the scope of the band’s abilities as writers and performers. Their live show has always been at the core of who Ripe is, now recorded music can stand alongside it as all-encompassing representation of who the band is and where its going. Bright Blues shows that the members of Ripe can still surprise each other.


At radio, Ripe’s new album is trending at radio with WTTS, Indie 102.3, Lightning 100 and WYEP among the 20+ stations already on it.


Photo by Brent Goldman

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