If you’re looking for feel-good, groovin’ rock ‘n’ roll, just swipe your trusty Metrocard and enjoy The R Train Band. The Brooklyn-based trio, consisting of vocalist/guitarist Jeffrey Black, bassist/harmonist Denny Lee, and drummer/vocalist (and firefighter) Mike Annese, combines classic-rock vibes with a modern, indie attitude while making sure it always sounds good. Named after the NYC subway’s R Train, these guys love their New York roots and embrace the opportunity to live in one of the world’s premier cities and create their art. Their newest single, fittingly titled “Take a Ride,” dropped October 16th, and it perfectly embodies the band’s spirited energy and rousing positivity.

Formed in early 2019, The R Train Band is also deeply committed to supporting noble organizations through their music. Drummer Mike Annese, a career firefighter, is particularly fond of this commitment, and his day job allows him to fully understand just how far charitable contribution can go. Joining us for this awesome and inspiring Guest Blog, Mike runs down the vision of The R Train Band and how they support his chosen organization, the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation.

The R Train Band on Livestreaming to Support Firefighters:

The R Train band is a rock power trio, consisting of straight-up guitar, bass, and drums. We strive for a pure rock sound with an energetic feel while creating a rhythm you can move to and shake your head at. Along with the music, we each support a charitable organization, and my choice is the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF).

So, why perform a benefit livestream show? Not unlike the recent Jimmy Kimmel show where Borat came on the show to eradicate coronavirus for all the staff in comedic fashion, our National Fallen Firefighters Foundation show was intended to provide a little entertainment and shine some light on our firefighter heroes that have lost their lives in the line of duty. This organization aids the families directly in a time when they need it most. It’s a very worthy cause and one worth donating to for the families as well as in memory of our lost firefighters.

Our NFFF show kicked off with our latest release, “Take a Ride,” a feel-good, rocking song that we wanted to share with everyone in the midst of the Coronavirus and give folks a chance to focus on some of the good things in life. We hit the chords and drums right off with a driving beat and power chord riffs that is meant to transform the listener to be riding on something like an amusement park ride. This cut is a solid rock/blues style shuffle with an upbeat vibe that begs for the listener to let go for a little while and enjoy the sheer energy of the song.

Artwork for “Take a Ride” by The R Train Band

The second tune we went with is “Flip Out Zone,” a song that feels more like a scream for help during what we’ve all been living through these past months in the Coronavirus prison we’ve been subjected too. The song warns of the traps in life; of falling into the fear and mundane state of mind, especially now, and urges the listener to step back and remember what’s important and to live your passion and dreams before it’s too late. The last song we chose was the Jimi Hendrix song “Fire,” which we felt firefighters would appreciate and one that ends in a ‘live fire’ style with flaming drum sticks burning while crashing crescendos rise to the feedback coming from Jeffrey’s guitar and the low rumble of Denny’s bass.

The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation is close to my heart because I have been in the fire service myself for 22 years now, and I want to give something back to my fellow firefighter brothers and sisters. The reality is, it’s not always the big fire that kills firefighters. It can be just as tragic when a firefighter gets struck by a vehicle on the highway while rendering care to a person in another vehicle involved in a car crash, or even when contracting a disease when treating the sick as a paramedic; you really never know how things can turn out during any given shift on duty.

Another unseen killer of firefighters are suicides, which have been on the rise over the last several years.  The profession has seen great strides in peer counselling and treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and the support systems have greatly improved since I first started the job. But what else can you do; how do you stay balanced? Some people do yoga, some go to the gym, others go fishing or hunting. For me, I find a lot of tension-release and relaxation from playing the drums in the band; just ‘beating something with sticks’ allows me to relieve so much stress! Living my passion by creating music with The R Train Band is my favorite way to cope and stay healthy and positive.

The R Train is going to be putting out a new song every 8-10 weeks with accompanying video, each one a little different from the last, and we promise to keep rocking and sharing fun sounds while giving back to our world. So climb aboard today at: www.thertrain.com to receive one of our FREE vinyl 45 Records and “Take a Ride” – the new video is out now HERE!