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Bo And The Locomotive Release Album Three Years In the Making

Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio


Local band Bo and the Locomotive is releasing its first album in three years titled It's All Down Here From Here. During that time, the group evolved from a bedroom recording project to full band, lost members, replaced them, and was locked out of their own record. 

“It's not what we were expecting to happen when we started recording it over two years ago, but now that it's all pressed on vinyl and in our hands, there is a big sense of accomplishment,” said Bulawsky.

Bo and the Locomotive started as a Bo Bulawsky’s solo project, recorded in his bedroom. His housemate Steven Colbert soon joined him on percussion. At first, they recorded rhythms on toy drums bought from a local Walmart. Over time he and Colbert began playing shows with additional musicians. After their initial recordings were released the band was featured in Paste Magazine and at Daytrotter, a site dedicated to live performances by indie bands.  During that time, Bulawsky learned to let go and simplify his songwriting. 

Bo Bulawsky and Steven Colbert of Bo and the Locomotive
Credit W
Bo Bulawsky and Steven Colbert of Bo and the Locomotive

“I was doing everything, accounting for every melody and part so it was like overkill sometimes I think on my earlier recordings,” said Bo.

His band mates support the simplified songwriting process.

“The whole thing with art is keeping people interested and keeping people entertained,” Colbert said. “I think his songwriting’s got more simple, smarter, more concise, and that helps everybody.”

The album’s actual recording time took more than a year. It was delayed by disputes with the recording engineer, who also had to move his studio. The band’s access to their recordings was limited for four months because of the transition. The disagreement was subsequently resolved.

Bo Bulawsky of Bo and the Locomotive performs "The Sun" off their new album live at St. Louis Public Radio studios.

To pay for manufacturing the physical album the band took a slightly unorthodox approach. It expanded on the Kickstarter model, relying on crowd-sourced funding, but added a visceral experience.  The band held a party at local arts space The Luminary with the album’s producer where they discussed the writing and recording process with fans before playing selected songs from the album.

“We just wanted to pull back the curtains a little bit to the whole process because people know that we’ve been working on it for so long,” said Bulawsky, “we kind of want to show them what went into it.”

Bo Bulawsky of Bo and the Locomotive performs fan favorite "On My Way" live at St. Louis Public Radio studios.

They saw the event, and the album, as a chance to make new fans while developing the old. Friday the group played a record release show at Off Broadway. The video for the album’s lead single debuted on influential music blog NOISEY earlier in the month.  Bulawsky said the album's final result is up to the listener.  

"If there is one song or lyric or moment that hits their ears in the right way then I think we've done well," Bulawsky said.  "It's kind of up to them what they take away from it."