Scott Terry has come a long way from singing along to Barry Manilow records in his parents’ living room.
The alum and frontman for indie rock band Red Wanting Blue has been crisscrossing the country the last several years, performing in front of thousands of people at hundreds of venues. Wednesday night, he and his fellow bandmates will have the opportunity of a lifetime when they appear on the Late Show with David Letterman.
“To be honest with you, my first thought was, ‘Finally. Oh my God,’” said Scott, speaking from a rooftop in Brooklyn, NY, about his immediate reaction to the late-night gig. “For me, growing up, that was the holy trinity (for musicians): Saturday Night Live, Leno, Letterman. It’s pretty surreal … We’re all excited.”
According to his parents, Jack and Vicki Terry, who both still live in Moorestown, Scott had an interest and an aptitude in music from a very early age. But Scott said he didn’t take music seriously until he moved to Moorestown and began singing in the choir at the and later joined the Madrigals at Moorestown High School.
He credited Joel Krott and Jeanne Haynes, directors of the First Presbyterian choir and the Madrigals respectively, for having a huge influence on him.
“Between the two of them, they taught me pretty much everything I know about music,” said Scott, 36.
After fiddling around with a band here in town, playing on a rooftop on South Stanwick Road with friends, Scott went to Ohio University in Athens, OH, where he formed Red Wanting Blue.
For the last 15 years, the band has embodied the do-it-yourself model of musicmaking, independently releasing seven albums over 15 years, plus a live album. It was a conscious choice not to be on a label, said Scott, a way to avoid the risks associated with letting someone else, someone from the outside, make decisions about the band.
“I won’t allow anyone to be in control of my destiny, so I’ll go around it,” he explained, adding, “We weren’t trying to be the poster boys of doing it yourself.”
Red Wanting Blue—which describes itself as traditional rock ‘n’ roll, but clearly has elements of country woven in—signed with Fanatic Records a couple years ago and released From the Vanishing Point in January, its first album recorded for a label. Described as a “coming-of-age” album on the band’s website, Vicki Terry said the record has represented a major breakthrough for the band.
“Slowly their fan base has grown and grown and grown,” she said. “They’re kind of exploding all of a sudden.”
That explosion has manifested most recently in the Letterman gig.
“It really is just heartwarming, and we feel so full of pride,” said Vicki. “Scott is the ultimate 'perseverer' ... I’m a big fan, and I would be if he wasn’t my kid.”
Scott’s father, and former township manager, Jack Terry, said, “This is truly a big shot, even though it’s only one song … We’re proud as can be of these guys. This is a great opportunity.”
Jack, who casually mentioned Scott’s early Manilow fixation, said he has no idea where his son’s talent stems from: “It certainly isn’t me, I can tell you that.”
As he looked ahead to Wednesday’s performance on Letterman, Scott said the band’s newfound fame—which also included a show at the Super Bowl Village a few days before this year’s Super Bowl—has taken some getting used to. But as much as it’s a treat for the band, it’s also a gift to their fans.
“It’s like, in case you were wondering … the popular opinion of the world right now is, you liking our band was the right choice,” he said.
To learn more about Red Wanting Blue and to listen to their music, visit their website or check out their Facebook page. The Late Show with David Letterman airs at 11:35 p.m. Wednesday on CBS.
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