Originally called Gus, and originally a trio, the now-four-piece band Guster was born in the suburbs of Boston, on the campus of Tufts University in Medford. Bongo player Brian Rosenworcel and acoustic guitarists-vocalists Ryan Miller and Adam Gardner met as freshmen in 1991, and were soon performing at colleges and busking out in the streets, featuring lots of strumming, neat vocal harmonies, and a mix of pop and folk that placed them comfortably in the grassroots/indie arena. They released their first self-produced album “Parachute” in 1994 (their CD release party was at a Tufts dining hall), and just after graduating college, they made “Goldfly,” which added electric guitars to the mix, and got them a contract with Sire Records. They would regularly change their format over the years, with Rosenworcel switching over to a full drum kit, yet sometimes using his hands rather than sticks, and adding a fourth member for a fuller sound – first was multi-instrumentalist Joe Pisapia, later replaced by multi-instrumentalist Luke Reynolds. The albums kept coming even when labels changed (Sire to Warner Bros. to Universal). The well-received “Lost and Gone Forever” (1999) was followed up by the even stronger “Keep It Together,” which gave the band a hit single with the poppy “Amsterdam” in 2003. This was actually their first album to feature bass, keyboards and a full drum kit. After “Ganging Up on the Sun” in 2006, they decided to get off the road for a while, and with the exception of a benefit gig for President Obama, didn’t play together as a band from October, 2007, to March, 2009. Guster has a reputation for doing two-set concerts, in which they play one of their albums in its entirety in the first half, as well as having no problem with people in the audience recording the gigs. They worked on their own, without label support, for 2010’s “Easy Wonderful.” And just as they were about to start a January, 2015-May, 2015 tour, taking them all over the States, then all over Europe, then all over more of the States, in support of their new album, “Evermotion,” on their own Ocho Mule label, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh declared January 15 to be Guster Day.

(Ed Symkus)

Published on January 15, 2015