Indiana's Roadmaster were a highly skilled quintet who masterfully blended AOR and Pomp Rock with subtle ease. Being a native Hoosier, I can tell you that Roadmaster were true hometown heroes in the mid to late 70's. Taking cues from REO Speedwagon and The Rockets, their self-titled debut album (released on Village Records) was very much typical of the times, though tastefully written and performed. After a year of touring with bands like Molly Hatchet, Angel, Michael Stanley Band and others, Mercury Records stepped in and signed the band in 1978. This marked a noticeable shift in direction as the band (with new frontman Stephen McNally) steered towards a more polished evolved sound, not unlike Styx or Morningstar. By 1980, the band was fully entrenched in the AOR craze spawned by bands like Journey, Survivor, The Babys, etc...
That year, "Fortress" was released and is widely considered the band's creative peak. Whether this is true is up for debate, but there's no denying the potency of the urgent hooks found all over this album. Mysteriously, Roadmaster had lost its footing by this point and Mercury summarily dropped the band the following year. It wasn't until 1989 that the band saw a regional revival and issued another album. This was, once again, followed by a long period of silence until 1994's "One For the Road" hit the racks. This, essentially a one-off reunion concert, acted as a perfect bookend for the band with both vocalists present for their respective contributions to the band's legacy. Four years later McNally passed away and Roadmaster is no more.
Check out this slick slice of arena rock by way of Indianapolis. Roadmaster was simply another one of those bands whose name you should've heard alot more than you actually did.
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