ANNOUNCING THE 30TH ANNIVERSARY RELEASE OF THE CONNELLS' BREAKTHROUGH ALBUM RING

Craft Recordings celebrates the 30th anniversary of the Connells’ breakthrough album, Ring, with its first widely available vinyl reissue, and bonus-filled CD and Digital Deluxe Editions. In stores August 11, and available for pre-order now, the album includes the North Carolina band’s enduring Top Ten international hit “’74-’75,” plus such favorites as “Slackjawed” and “New Boy.” The deluxe editions of the album have been newly remastered by Brent Lambert at Carrboro, NC’s The Kitchen, and include 21 bonus tracks, including rare B-sides and 12 previously unreleased demos. Rounding out the packages are new liner notes by the Raleigh-based journalist and author David Menconi, featuring new interviews with the band

 

Long heralded as one of North Carolina’s most successful indie rock bands, the Connells carved out a niche for themselves in the early ’90s alt-rock scene with their special brand of introspective jangle pop. The band was formed in Raleigh in the early to mid-80s by brothers Mike Connell (vocals, guitar) and David Connell (bass) and soon expanded to include Doug McMillan (vocals), Peele Wimberley (percussion) and George Huntley (guitar, vocals). They played their first show ever in September of 1984, and in 1986, the band released their debut LP, Darker Days, followed by the Mitch Easter-produced Boylan Heights (1987). They continued to build momentum, entering the Billboard 200 with 1989’s Fun & Games and 1990’s One Simple Word, and scoring a string of college radio hits like “Something to Say,” “Stone Cold Yesterday” and “Get a Gun.”

 

After three years of steady touring, the band (which now included keyboardist Steve Potak, who joined in the fall of 1990) entered Woodstock’s Bearsville Studios with producer Lou Giordano—whose future credits would include the Goo Goo Dolls, Paul Westerberg and Taking Back Sunday— to record their fifth LP, Ring. Building upon the success of their earlier albums, the Connells delivered a supremely catchy collection of radio-friendly songs, blending power pop, bittersweet lyrics, sweeping harmonies and rootsy guitars—particularly on favorites like “Slackjawed” (a Top 10 hit on Billboard’s Alternative chart), “Doin’ You,” “Carry My Picture” and “New Boy” (also issued as an EP).

 

Released in the fall of 1993, the album is perhaps best remembered for its pensive breakout hit, “’74-’75.” Steeped in nostalgia, the song finds Mike Connell reflecting on failed relationships and the fleeting nature of time. The single’s poignant video, directed by Mark Pellington, was inspired by Michael Apted’s Up documentary film series and focused on graduates of Raleigh’s Broughton High School Class of 1975 (attended by several members of the Connells), juxtaposing new footage against their yearbook photos. In 2015, to commemorate the class’s 40th anniversary, nearly everyone involved reunited to shoot an updated visual. In celebration of the reissue of the album, the video has been remastered from the original tapes and is available to view now in HD for the first time ever.

 

While “’74-’75” has long remained an underground favorite in the US, it became a massive hit abroad nearly two years after Ring’s release, landing in the Top 10 in 11 European countries, including Sweden and Norway, where it hit No.1. In the UK, meanwhile, it peaked at No.14, while it ranked at No.23 on Europe’s year-end chart for 1995. The album found success as well on the charts—breaking the Billboard 200 and landing in the Top 40 in the UK and across Europe. After the release of Ring, the band embarked on extensive international touring, including a show in Rome supporting the legendary Def Leppard, before a crowd of 100,000.

 

Over the decades, the Connells and Ring have frequently received fond words from the press, including Trouser Press, who hailed the album’s “brilliant pieces of pop songcraft.” Reflecting on the record, AllMusic praised Ring as the band’s “strongest effort to date,” adding that it “established the Connells as the forerunners in the group of jangle pop bands that had previously lived largely in the shadow of R.E.M.” In another retrospective, American Songwriter declared, “The Connells are a thinking person’s band, flush with a sobering attitude even in the midst of spawning their rock and roll revelry. Theirs is a mostly pensive perspective, one that adds extra emphasis to each of their songs.”

 

In the years following Ring, the Connells released three more albums (1996’s Weird Food and Devastation, 1998’s Still Life and 2001’s Old School Dropouts) before taking a hiatus from recording. In 2021, the band—which currently includes the Connell brothers, MacMillan and Potak, plus guitarist Mike Ayers and drummer Rob Ladd—returned with their first album in a decade, the acclaimed Steadman’s Wake.

 

  

Ring Tracklist (Vinyl)

 

Side A

  1. Slackjawed
  2. Carry My Picture
  3. ’74-’75
  4. Doin’ You
  5. Find Out
  6. Eyes On The Ground
  7. Spiral

 

Side B

  1. Hey You
  2. New Boy
  3. Disappointed
  4. Burden
  5. Any Day Now
  6. Running Mary

 

Ring Tracklist (30th-Anniversary Deluxe CD)

 

Disc One

  1. Slackjawed
  2. Carry My Picture
  3. ’74-’75
  4. Doin’ You
  5. Find Out
  6. Eyes On The Ground
  7. Spiral
  8. Hey You
  9. New Boy
  10. Disappointed
  11. Burden
  12. Any Day Now
  13. Running Mary
  14. ’74-’75 (Radio Edit)
  15. Slackjawed (Radio Edit)
  16. Logan Street
  17. Wonder Why
  18. Living In The Past

 

Disc Two

  1. ’74-’75 (Demo)*
  2. Carry My Picture (Demo)*
  3. Disappointed (Demo)*
  4. Doin’ You (Demo)*
  5. Eyes On The Ground (Demo)*
  6. Hey You (Demo)*
  7. Logan Street (Demo)*
  8. New Boy (Demo)*
  9. Running Mary (Demo)*
  10. Slackjawed (Demo)*
  11. Spiral (Demo)*
  12. Wonder Why (Demo)*
  13. New Boy (Live Acoustic Version)
  14. Doin’ You (Live Acoustic Version)
  15. Running Mary (Live Acoustic Version)
  16. ’74-’75 (Live Acoustic Version)

 

*Previously Unreleased

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