Acoustic rockers The Alternate Routes have remained an important fixture on the contemporary music scene ever since it released its critically acclaimed debut album “Good and Reckless and True” in 2005. Extensive touring and future recordings followed, and in 2014, the band reached superstar status when one of its signature songs, “Nothing More,” was featured on the television broadcast of the XXII Olympic Winter Games Opening Ceremony from Sochi, Russia. The band has deep local roots, as it was co-founded by Fairfield University alumni Tim Warren and Eric Donnelly, and this weekend the band plays locally Dec. 7 and 8 at the Fairfield Theatre Company. Mike Horyczun spoke with Eric Donnelly about these special gigs and the band.
Mike Horyczun: Playing in Fairfield for a hometown crowd, how special is that?
Eric Donnelly: Playing at home is always special. The support that this community has given to The Alternate Routes is a big reason why we are still able to do what we do. We always try to pay that back with the best show we can.
MH: You and Tim are both Fairfield University grads. Did the beginnings of the group start while you were students or after you graduated?
ED: I met Tim at the very end of my senior year at Fairfield University. He needed a guitar player for a song he had written and was performing on campus. But even though we technically met at school, it was the years that followed where we really got to know each other and the band got started.
MH: Your songwriting remains superb. Do you and Tim both write?
ED: Writing is the part that we take the most pride in. Since the beginning, we were always focused on writing the best songs we could.
MH: For the past few years you’ve been releasing singles, as opposed to full albums — aside for live recordings. Care to comment on that strategy?
ED: In the past few years, our drummer, Kurt Leon, has become an excellent audio engineer and producer. We recorded our last few singles with Kurt. It has been exciting to dive in and take our time in the recording process.
MH: You’ve been together for nearly a decade and a half. Did you think you’d be together for such a long a time, when you first started out?
ED: That’s a great question, and I don’t think I have ever been asked it. I think for me, I always think our best work is ahead of us. That is sort of the addiction of what we do. The next song, the next show. That is going to be the one. As long as you feel like you are getting better, you want to keep going.
MH: How does it feel writing/recording such a powerful and impactful song like “Nothing More”?
ED: I will always be grateful that “Nothing More” found us when it did. I definitely think we tapped into something bigger than us when we wrote it. All these years later I am still humbled and inspired by the reaction that “Nothing More” has received.