- Associated Press - Saturday, November 21, 2020

MILTON, Del. (AP) - The country rock band Triple Rail Turn, whose members come from Wilmington to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, is no stranger to Downstate.

With multiple appearances at June Jam, Paradise Grill in Long Neck and Dover Downs, TRT is one of the most popular groups to play the area. But it’s been a while since they’ve been here.

“The last time we were at Dover Downs in January, I left my gear cart there in the green room area. And Jason, their front of the house guy, called me and said ‘Dude you left your cart here.’ I said ‘We’ll be back in two weeks. No big deal.’ And it’s been there ever since. It’s still in there,” said TRT guitarist and co-founder Brian Hannon.

All these months later, TRT is finally back in Delaware Saturday night with a show at the Milton Theatre at 8 p.m. A limited amount of tickets are still available.

Of course, the reason the six-piece band has been gone so long is because of the coronavirus, which has severely limited the number of gigs TRT has played this year. Normally they perform about 250 dates a year from New York to Virginia and as far west as Pittsburgh.

That hasn’t been the case this year.

“We’re just trying to roll with the punches and be as much of a chameleon as we possibly can. But it’s certainly taken a toll,” Mr. Hannon said.

He and his bandmates are grateful for a chance to play the Milton Theatre, where they have consistently limited shows to 30% capacity.

“That is wonderful because they’re doing it the smart way. They’re limiting capacity. They’re keeping groupings of people in their bubble and separated from one another,” Mr. Hannon said.

“There is no physical interaction between us traveling performers and the people who are attending the performance. So they’re doing it right and they are doing it smart. I really applaud them for having an avenue for us to perform in.”

He said he’s glad to get back down to the area.

“We haven’t been able to really play this summertime and that’s the majority of the time we play down in that area. It’s going to be nice to be back there and see some familiar faces,” he said.

“A lot of people reached out to me directly saying like ‘We’ve got tickets to your show. We’re really excited to see you.’ Of course you can’t see a lot of these people because of code restrictions but just to be able to play in front of people that I call friends and just faces that I haven’t seen in such a long time - it’s going to be refreshing.”

Triple Rail Turn started life as Philbilly when Mr. Hanson, who is from Philadelphia, decided to form a band with drummer Mike Hostler about seven years ago.

’It was a slow build. We started with smaller club dates and then just kind of worked from there and put our noses to the ground and just worked. And slowly it built and built and built and got some notoriety,” Mr. Hannon said.

“We were just always trying to one up the next stage and just be smarter about build it bigger and people started to notice, which is fun.

“We never had any grandiose plans but it’s nice that it’s working and it’s just fun. If you have fun doing what you do, it’s not really a job. The majority of us came from touring national bands and record deals and all that stuff. So it’s a little bit of an homage to that. But we get to go home instead of being gone for six months out of the year sleeping in Walmart parking lots.”

Although he had spent years in heavy metal and pop punk bands and listened to bands such as The Beach Boys and The Beatles growing up, Mr. Hannon said putting together a country band filled a need in the area.

“At the time, there wasn’t really anybody doing it in the area. Mike was from Wilmington. I was living in Philadelphia. It was almost like an untapped market. And we love the music, and us being from more of a rock background, it was different. It was fun for us to do it because it wasn’t what we were necessarily comfortable with. So for us to step out of our comfort zone and do something that people really did respond to and didn’t have a medium for, that was fun and refreshing and just different. And people liked it,” he said.

These days, the band comes equipped with its own hard-driving sound and an expansive light show.

“I was signed to a metal label and toured the U.S. doing like pop punk stuff, living on the Warped Tour forever. Mike was in a Delaware-based band called Solitude. It was fairly popular. Again, record deal, touring, the whole nine yards. So to have that juxtaposed to a modern country with our take on it. Just by the nature of who we are, where we come from, is obviously going to be a little bit different from someone who’s more traditionally based in country.”

He said TRT has a new light show for the audience at the Milton Theatre Saturday night and he’s dying to try it out.

“We’re going to be able to try some new stuff on Saturday and I’m really, really excited. We got a whole bunch of new lights, some new programming stuff. It’s going to be cool. Six months in the making and we finally get a chance to do it,” Mr Hannon said.

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