The 502s

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The 502s
The 502s performing live in 2021. (left to right: Matthew Tonner, Ed Isola, Sean Froehlich, Joe Capati, Nicholas Dallas)
The 502s performing live in 2021.
(left to right: Matthew Tonner, Ed Isola, Sean Froehlich, Joe Capati, Nicholas Dallas)
Background information
OriginMaitland, Florida, United States
GenresIndie Folk, Folk Rock, Folk-pop, Americana, indie rock
Years active2015–present
Websitewww.the502s.com
MembersEd Isola
Matthew Tonner
Sean Froehlich
Joe Capati
Nick Melashenko
Past membersJake Icardi, Jonathan Ruiz, Jake Isola, Kaleigh LeBeau

The 502s are an American indie folk band from Maitland, Florida formed by Ed Isola.[1][2][3][4][5][6] Their music has been described as a blend of roots, rock and bluegrass.[7] The 502s’ sound is often compared to Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes, The Avett Brothers, and Old Crow Medicine Show[8] and the band is noted for their eclectic instrumental arrangements involving banjo, piano, and horns.[9]

Their debut album “Because We Had To” has been described by PopMatters.com as Sounds of celebration ... an ebullient blend of boisterous Americana, featuring cheery singalong vocals and bubbly trumpet lines that could get anyone off of their feet”[3] while their live show received praise for “rambunctious energy, stomping sounds.. and charismatic personalities” by Cowboys and Indians[2]

Formation and Early History[edit]

Influenced by bands such as The Head and the Heart and Bear's Den,[1] Ed Isola began writing songs in college with a $100 banjo and a guitar he borrowed from his roommate. After graduating and returning home, Ed recruited his cousins Jonathan Ruiz on guitar and vocals and Jacob Isola on bass.[9] Shortly after the band's inception in 2015, The 502s won a contest to perform at Okeechobee Music & Arts Festival, alongside Mumford and Sons, The Avett Brothers, and Kendrick Lamar, beating out over 800 contest entrants. Their performance at Okeechobee took place before the band had released any recorded material.[10][1] The 502s released a self-titled EP in 2016. The release has been described as “a rousing debut that personifies the folk explosion from the past few years highlighted by booming stomps, upbeat tunes, and melodious gang vocals that ooze camaraderie.”[11]

The single “Olivia” was highlighted by local NPR radio station WMFE on their “Hold on to Summer” playlist[12] and the band performed headlining slots at Florida Music Festival and Winter Garden Music Festival.[13][14] Also in 2016, The 502s were invited to perform at Communion Reocrds’ NYC showcase alongside up-and-coming artists Salt Cathedral, Overcoats, Ocean Park Standoff, Michael Daves, and Eric Slick.[15]

Because We Had To: Debut Album and International Touring[edit]

In 2017 the band recruited Matthew Tonner, a childhood friend of the Isola family and a former member of Laney Jones’ band, to produce their debut album Because We Had To.[1][9][16] The album was recorded in thirty-six hours.[17] Tonner soon joined the band on piano and electric guitar, along with trumpeter Kaleigh LeBeau.[9][18]

The lead single “What To Do” was released in March 2018[16][19][8] and received a positive review from No Depression, stating “they’ve got enough energy to take on the world”[20] The premiere was preceded by a live video featuring six members of the band and their instruments squeezed into Ed's grandfather's 6×10 laundry room.[21] The album has been described by WMNF as “a heartfelt invitation to good old-fashioned fun.[22]

In 2018 The 502s embarked on a tour of the US and Europe[1][22] and performed at festivals alongside Jason Isbell and Old Crow Medicine Show.[7][23][24] The band also headlined WMNF's Americana Fest in Tampa, FL.[22][25] In 2019, The 502s touring included performs at Americanafest in Nashville,[26][27] recording a live session with Jam in the Van,[28] and headlining Steppin Out Festival in Virginia.[29] Prior to Americanafest, The 502s solidified a new touring lineup featuring Joe Capati on horns, Sean Froehlich on Drums, and Nick Melashenko on Bass. The European tour culminated with a gig in Whelans bar in Dublin, during which time the band had their greatest European show.

Upcoming Album: Could It Get Better Than This[edit]

In November 2020, a video of The 502s performing a new song "Magdalene" was posted to the band's TikTok account and received over 1 Million views in two days. [30]

Isola and Tonner have stated that the band's second album will be released in 2021[1] and will be called "Could It Get Better Than This". In February 2021, Glide Magazine premiered the first single from the album, along with a music video directed by Tonner, for the song "I Keep Rolling".[31]

Timeline[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Osborn, Dave. "Music for the pandemic: Florida band The 502s plays music that makes you smile". Naples News.
  2. ^ a b "Song Premiere: The 502s' "According to Me" - C&I Magazine". Cowboys and Indians Magazine. May 14, 2018.
  3. ^ a b "The 502s Embrace the Sounds of Celebration with 'Because We Had To' (album premiere)". PopMatters. June 21, 2018.
  4. ^ McCollum, Thaddeus. "Bye bye Blackstar: Downtown Orlando club abruptly closes its doors". Orlando Weekly.
  5. ^ Olson, Samantha N. "Dunk your cookies at Rockin' Robinson in the Milk District Saturday afternoon". Orlando Weekly.
  6. ^ "Morning Commute: The 502s – "Olivia"". September 25, 2018.
  7. ^ a b ccleveland@aikenstandard.com, Christina Cleveland. "Music shows, festivals bringing 'dynamite' musicians to CSRA this spring". Aiken Standard.
  8. ^ a b Aird, Author Jonathan (April 17, 2018). "The 502s "What To Do" – Listen".
  9. ^ a b c d [1][dead link]
  10. ^ "Introducing: 'The 502s'". August 13, 2016.
  11. ^ [2][dead link]
  12. ^ Intern, Radio (August 25, 2017). "Intersection: WMFE's Hold On To Summer Playlist". 90.7 WMFE.
  13. ^ "Beemo & the 502s at Florida Music Festival". bungalower.
  14. ^ [3][dead link]
  15. ^ "12/06/2016: Communion Music @ Rockwood Music Hall | Concert Archives". www.concertarchives.org.
  16. ^ a b McKinnon, Jen (April 7, 2018). "Florida Live Music Recap - March 2018".
  17. ^ "the 502's". The Alternate Root - Discover Roots & Americana Music.
  18. ^ Coffin, Kat (August 12, 2016). "The 502s are throwing an EP release party".
  19. ^ "An uptempo list to kick off the week – Lunchtime Playlist April 9". April 9, 2018.
  20. ^ [4][dead link]
  21. ^ "SKOPE NEWS FOR APRIL 3, 2018 @ 12 PM EST".
  22. ^ a b c "WMNF's 2018 Americana Fest". WMNF.
  23. ^ "9th Annual Banjo-B-Que Festival lineup announced". WRDW.
  24. ^ Columnist, Don RhodesMusic. "Ramblin' Rhodes: Take note of music festivals ahead". The Augusta Chronicle.
  25. ^ "WMNF's Americana Fest taps Joshua Reilly and more for a twangy Saturday at Skipper's Smokehouse in Tampa". Creative Loafing: Tampa Bay.
  26. ^ Leimkuehler, Matthew. "150 acts added to 2019 AmericanaFest lineup in Nashville: See the complete list". The Tennessean.
  27. ^ [5][dead link]
  28. ^ "The 502's". Jam in the Van. February 5, 2020.
  29. ^ Times, Tad Dickens | The Roanoke. "Travers Brothership, The 502s set to headline Blacksburg's Steppin' Out". Roanoke Times.
  30. ^ "Orlando TikTok sensations the 502s play the Plaza Live's Front Porch Concert Series on Thursday". December 1, 2020.
  31. ^ "LISTEN: THE 502S KEEP IT CRAFTY & POSITIVE ON ALT POP SING-ALONG "I KEEP ROLLING"". February 11, 2021.