Old Number 7 showcases roots music

A small but spirited crowd gathered in the Rathskeller on the balmy evening of Nov. 7 to enjoy the country sound of the New Jersey-based band Old Number 7.

The band played an excellent combination of classic rock and country hits, including Patsy Cline’s “Walkin’ After Midnight,” Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Lookin’ Out My Back Door,” the Beatles’ “The Ballad of John and Yoko,” Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” and the Rolling Stones’ “Wild Horses.”

The band, which played every song passionately and energetically, admitted this particular show was early by their standards. Around 6 p.m., Danielle Donnangelo, one of the guitarists/vocalists, said to the crowd, “Sorry guys, its early for us.”

Casey Ritchings, the other guitarist/vocalist, said at the end of the show, “This is the first gig we’ve done before ‘Jeopardy’ was over.”

Throughout the show, the band interacted with the crowd, at one point asking whether they should “fast it up or slow it down,” in reference to the pacing of the songs.

Each song played during the performance evoked a feel-good atmosphere inciting head-nodding and finger-tapping to the rhythm. The band, which normally consists of four members, brought in a fifth member to play harmonica and sing.

According to Ritchings, Old Number 7 has been playing as a band for about four years. He said three of the band members are from Jackson, N.J., while the other is from Eatontown, N.J.

When asked about the genre of music the band plays, Ritchings said, “We don’t consider ourselves country. We’re a roots band. We like to dig into the sound of old blues and classic rock.”

While the band mainly performs covers of other songs from both classic and contemporary artists, Ritchings said they do have a few original songs, but they did not play them during their performance.

Michael Lawrence, one of two Rat chairs from College Union Board, also spoke about the band’s genre and style of music.

“We try to get a good mix of music to appeal to everyone’s taste. Country music isn’t exactly everyone’s thing, but as you sit and listen to the performance you can grow to appreciate the band’s talent,” he said.

The band culminated their performance with a superb rendition of the Johnny Cash hit, “Jackson.” After the show, Ritchings said they are used to playing in front of different sized crowds, with each crowd affecting the way they play.

“When we see people dancing and really getting into the music, it makes us play to that energy level,” he said.

Based on their performance, it would seem as if the Rat crowd brought out the energy that drives the band.