- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 9, 2015

Family is family, but when you work with and continuously perform on the road together — as the Los Angeles band of siblings R5 does — you can in fact take your family with you on tour. It’s as if bringing life to the moment in “Almost Famous” when Penny Lane (Kate Hudson) tells young journalist William Miller (Patrick Fuget) “You are home.”

“There’s always just so something so fun about waking up in a new city and walking out to see the stage and getting ready for the show,” said R5 bassist and vocalist Riker Lynch, who will take the stage at Wolf Trap with his family this Sunday. “There’s something about all the energy there.”

The band comprises the Lynch siblings of Littleton, Colorado — brothers Rocky, Riker and Ross and sister Rydel — plus family friend Ellington Ratliff on drums.

“This is just what we love doing more than anything in the world with my best friend,” Mr. Lynch said of Mr. Ratliff. “And I’m most excited to be on tour playing shows and traveling the country and seeing all these amazing fans.”

The R5 sound is a rock/pop hybrid, heavy on radio-friendly cuts and optimism, particularly on the upbeat “All Night” from the band’s latest album, “Sometime Last Night,” which debuts Friday.

Mr. Lynch says “Sometime Last Night” melds many of R5’s influences, including INXS, Peter Gabriel, Bruce Springsteen and John Mellencamp.

“I’d say there’s a good amount of funk, which probably came from us listening to a ton of Michael Jackson when we were younger,” he said. “But at the same time, it’s like ‘newer’ pop … it’s not like straightforward pop.”

The members of R5 have played festivals with the likes of OneRepublic and Maroon 5. Mr. Lynch recalls fondly sharing a dressing room with the members of Fall Out Boy.

“That was like, ‘Wow, this is seriously cool,’” he said of the backstage encounter. “The fact that we [were] playing the same time as Fall Out Boy was a huge, huge moment.”

Mr. Lynch is proud of the effort he and his bandmates have poured into “Sometime Last Night.” However, he is cognizant of the fact that album sales remain severely below their heyday thanks to the Internet.

“You spend months and months on one song, trying to get it right, and then somebody can [download] it for $1.29,” he said. “That’s kind of a letdown.”

While the digital markets of Spotify, iTunes and Pandora mean artists like himself typically reap pennies per download, Mr. Lynch is quick to point out the bright side of the online model: More fans can discover their sound, just as Mr. Lynch has himself discovered the artistry of others.

“As a music fan … the fact that you can just stream anything on Spotify … that is so cool,” he said. “But as the artist, it’s kind of a bummer.

“So I think you just have to hope that your hardcore fans are the ones who are going to get the physical album at Target or Wal-Mart and just go that extra mile because they love you so much.”

Fans can expect a high-energy, spontaneous show, Mr. Lynch said of the band’s District appearance Sunday.

“We just kind of create this energy between us and the crowd,” he said. “I think if you kind of just let yourself go and lose yourself in the moment, you will have an amazing time and just forget the world for a little bit.”

Likewise, he believes music aficionados everywhere will appreciate “Sometime Last Night.”

“I’m very proud of” the new disc, he said. “I think, if you give it a shot, you will absolutely love it as well.”


WHAT: R5 with Jacob Whitesides

WHERE: Wolf Trap, 1645 Trap Road, Vienna, Virginia 22182

WHEN: Sunday, 7 p.m.

INFO: Tickets $30 to $100 by calling 877/ WOLFTRAP or visiting Wolftrap.org 

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