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Local Label, The Color Group, Finds Its Valley Niche

Published: Friday, March 2, 2012

Updated: Tuesday, March 6, 2012 17:03

The Color Group

Ryan A. Ruiz


St. Ranger may be a young band, but it's ahead of the game. A laid back local band with songs ideal for breezy spring break road trips, St. Ranger is taking off.

They recently released their debut EP, Life Coach, through The Color Group, a record label co-run by their guitarist Jeff Taylor. 

This is the first album The Color Group has released, and according to Taylor it was a bit of a bumpy ride. 

"The Color Group has been presenting shows for a few years now," said Taylor. "We've been booking tours and managing bands off and on, and we decided last year that our focus is going to be on releasing records."

It was a natural progression for Taylor, 21, and his business partner James McInnes, 22, who have plenty of experience between them. 

Taylor has booked shows and tours for years and owns a social media business where he runs social media websites for businesses around town. McInnes is currently studying audio engineering at Mesa Community College.

The duo has helped booked local acts such as Courtney Marie Andrews, The Constellation Branch, and Small Leaks Sink Ships. 

McInnes has been managing Owl & Penny, aka Ryan Osterman, for a few years and they are currently recording Osterman's first full-length album. Owl & Penny has an acoustic and intricate style and has been recording since last fall. St. Ranger, on the other hand, recorded its EP in five days.

Life Coach is a five-track EP with a bright and sunny demeanor. Taylor said they picked a summer theme for the EP on purpose. 

"We wanted to make our first effort not a full-length album," Taylor said. "We wanted just a few songs so we decided to do an EP. We did five songs for this record and we tracked at the end of our first long tour."

St. Ranger was coming off a three-week tour last August when they settled down in Los Angeles to record. 

"[The album is] poppy and the song structures are straightforward," Taylor said. "We have some songs that are a bit darker and the structure is a bit more unique, but those are coming later this year."

Vacationing in sunny California and playing shows after they recorded helped the band lay down the tracks that were the "cream of the summer crop."

However, recording the album was only the first step. Mixing and mastering the album took longer than expected. Once it was ready, the band also ran into problems getting vinyl in time for their record release party. 

"We're trying to take a different approach in that we're not going to print CDs for this album," said Taylor. "It's hard to make money off CDs. They're cheaper but not a lot of people want them anymore."

Taylor said it had been years since he even bought a CD, which seems fairly outdated these days. 

"A lot of the push toward digital music is because CDs aren't a quality product anymore, so we're trying to put out vinyls that the people aren't about to go home and throw them away because it's a product that they're going to want to hold onto, and it feels better than a CD does," he said. 

The Color Group is trying to enter this niche market with vinyl and hopes to create a better product for St. Ranger and Owl & Penny. 

Taylor said it was difficult having to deal with outside parties that couldn't keep to their deadlines. He found that it was hard to trust anyone but himself, but that it was all part of the learning curve. 

This music education started early for Taylor, who met his band mates in high school when they were all in different bands. It was at this point that he decided to try booking shows for himself. 

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