The four-piece folk fellowship Free Rollercoaster faces an uncertain future after the release of the Penn State student-run band’s first studio “extended play” last month.
“The Plaid Part of Town” marked a milestone for the group. The December release, which can be found on its bandcamp.com profile, brought the group to a crossroads as band members have invested their individual time in their education.
“We’re kind of on a hiatus right now,” DJ Sukanick, guitarist and bassist for the band, said. “Blake [Gifford] is in Rome and I’m student teaching.”
All four of its members will be graduating from Penn State this spring. For now, the band is waiting to measure a response from the new EP, Sukanick (senior-mathematics and secondary education ) said.
“We had poor quality recordings on our laptops,” Ricky Lynch, banjo and bass player for Free Rollercoaster, said.
Free Rollercoaster has rallied most of its support through the Penn State Songwriter’s Club, a student-run organization that builds an environment to promote original music, Lynch (senior-physics) said.
“The band first started as Ricky, D.J., and myself around March of 2010, and that was at a time when we weren't really doing much else other than playing open mics around town,” Gifford, the lead vocalist and ukulele player for Free Rollercoaster, said.
Once the band began playing bars and small events around town, it existed only through cover songs. It wasn’t until the addition of Miles Wright that Gifford took Free Rollercoaster to the next level.
“That's when I started in on writing original songs and we gradually established folk as our preferred style,” Gifford (senior-architecture) said.
The addition of Wright (senior-electrical engineering) brought a rhythmic backbone to the band, a necessity for every folk family. The musicianship of each member extends far beyond one instrument, also, putting an interesting edge on the band’s music. Wright noted he plays snare drum, kick drum, guitar, flute and slide whistle, for example.
The group hopes to continue producing music that highlights the members’ diverse talents moving forward. Fans should expect more music in the future, Gifford said.
“I feel incredibly blessed, not only because we're a part of what really is an extraordinarily talented group of people, but because we've received so much love for something that the four of us do for fun,” Gifford said. “All I can say is that we’re far from being done.”