When I first saw Trouble in the Wind performing on a summer Sunday at Topa Topa, I was blown away. The five-member band managed to instantly fill the large industrial space with the warm, communal vibes of pure Americana-infused rock and roll. The eclectic group of musicians features the perfect blend of pedal steel, electric guitars, piano, organ, and the secret weapon — accordion.
After their first song, my friend and I were transported, dancing in the brewery as if it were a festival field and amazed we were able to enjoy this show with just the purchase of a pilsner rather than a hefty ticket price. The San Diego Music Awards recently named the talented group its 2018 Artist of the Year, and with a tour already underway through California and Arizona, 2019 looks promising as well. The rootsy rock group is on tour promoting its impressive new album, Hammer On. I spoke over the phone with lead singer and rhythm guitarist Robby Gira in advance of the band’s show on Sunday, January 20, at Topa Topa.
How did you get your start as a band? In 2005, I got an acoustic guitar and started writing songs in my dorm bathroom. Ryan Fox and Trevor Mulvey started learning the songs and encouraged me to play them in cafés and open mics.
You recently won Artist of the Year and Best Americana Album at the San Diego Music Awards. How has living in Oceanside impacted your sound? Our sound has always been a very organic development, stemming from basic acoustic orchestration. Our home here in [San Diego’s] North County is a big influence on this sound, providing us with a landscape of simple beauty and atmosphere to draw from.
What is your songwriting process like? Where do you find inspiration for your songs? The songwriting process can stem from a simple vocal or guitar melody and usually build from there. Occasionally a song comes to my head, and I simply just try to transpose it onto guitar. I find inspiration in nature and everyday life.
Your newest album features a variety of instruments, including pedal steel, electric guitars, piano, organs, saxophones, and even accordion. Who are some the biggest musical influences who have shaped your sound? The eclectic sound of the band stems from each member bringing their own unique influence and style. We draw heavy from the American songbook, but we also find there’s a raw beauty deep at the heart of any genre. Bob Dylan, David Bowie, Billie Holliday, Neil Young, Lucinda Williams, Sparklehorse, and Prince, to name a few influences.
What can attendees expect from your live show? Audiences at our shows can expect raw and heartfelt songs with Americana/country orchestration and sweeping vocal harmonies, as well as some dust-raising rock and roll!
Trouble in the Wind plays Sunday, January 20, 3-4 p.m., at Topa Topa (120 Santa Barbara St.). Call (805) 324-4150 or see topatopa.beer.