Q & A with Rio and the Rockabilly Revival band member Paige Grider


Photo courtesy of Paige Grider

OU music education student Paige Grider is the saxophonist in the band Rio and the Rockabilly Revival. The band has been nominated for numerous Josie Music Awards.

Paige Grider — an Oakland University student — is a saxophonist in the band Rio and the Rockabilly Revival (RRR), which is up for several Josie Music Awards. Grider talks about her band and how her time at OU has helped shape her into the person she is now ‒‒ an award-winning rockabilly.

D’Juanna Lester, The Oakland Post: How would you describe your time at OU? 

Paige Grider: I have been at OU for a while, as a music education major with a minor in jazz studies. Right now I am completing my degree as a student teacher in the Macomb area. OU has been a great place for my education, and if I went back in time, I would still choose to come here.

Did you make important connections? 

I have made many connections with students and staff in the OU music department, and some of the students will be close friends for a long time. In any music department, you get to know a lot of people on a very personal level ‒‒ that’s just the nature of the department. It was another OU student that told me about the opportunity to play with RRR, so I am so grateful for that. My saxophone professor, Dr. Heisler, is the reason I can play at the level I do, as well as other professors that have helped me train my listening skills, music theory and the ability to collaborate with other musicians so well.

How did the band come together?

I joined the band back in 2017, but the band has been in existence for ten years now. I actually joined without knowing what I was getting into. One day I got a message from a friend in the OU music department that was playing with RRR as a fill-in. His message said something along the lines of “hey, this group needs a saxophone player for a gig.” To me, that means a group that will just be playing in a lobby as background music for an event. For those kinds of gigs, you just bring some music and perform on the spot ‒‒ often not meeting the other musicians until the performance. When I messaged our music director Sean, he started talking about an audition and I had no idea what I walked into, but man, am I glad I did!

What genre of music suits you best?

I would say the best way to describe our genre is early rock with a bit of twang, but we do covers from all genres, as well as original songs of varying styles.

How did the band come up with its name? 

The lead singer is Rio Scafone herself, which makes me a rockabilly! The revival, however, is not as if we are “reviving” rockabilly ‒‒ I wouldn’t say it needs to be “revived.” What we are going for is that vibe of a revival tent ‒‒ the churches that claim to heal the sick by laying hands and channeling the spirits to do so. The band is not rooted in religion, but that is the vibe. We actually pay tribute every show to Rev. Jimmy Snow, who was famous for preaching that “rock and roll is a contributing factor of the juvenile delinquency of today!” Rio has even written him letters thanking for his words that inspired our show. He has yet to respond haha.

Describe how you feel about the upcoming award show.

I am very excited for the 2021 Josie Music Awards Show! We have been nominated a few years in a row, winning awards every year we have been nominated. In 2018, we were not only nominated for three awards (and won “Entertainer of the Year”), we were also asked to perform as the openers to the entire show. We played an RRR original, “Runaway Train” with our infamous stunt. The energy of the crowd was unreal, and I have never been so honored!