It’s been nearly seven years since veteran Milwaukee power-pop group Trolley released its last album, Caught In The Darkness. And though those seven years have been peppered with a few singles (“I’ll Never Tell,” “Two Tickets To The Moon”), they’ve also been marked by tragedy. In June of 2021, Trolley guitarist and singer Mike Perotto passed away suddenly at the age of 47. Despite this, a new Trolley album is still in the works.
Which brings us to Trolley bassist and singer (and friendly Bullseye Records manager) Terry Hackbarth. Earlier this week, Hackbarth released a terrific solo song titled “Never Really Found You.” The three-minute power-pop gem is just as hooky, jangly, and impeccably crafted as you’d expect—and more than a little bittersweet, too.
“The song itself is pretty much about unexpectedly reconnecting with people in life from the past in different ways for what turns out to be brief moments,” Hackbarth says. Yep, we’ve been there.
As for the genesis of the song, Hackbarth explains: “It pretty much started as a way to motivate myself to keep writing. It takes a long time for Trolley to get albums out these days due to family obligations from my bandmates. And then my bandmate and friend dating back to high school passed away suddenly last year. Working on the long-in-the-works Trolley record has been sporadic since then and really difficult and emotional, but my mindset is to keep active.”
It started to get more “real” after I made a trip to Holyoke, Massachusetts to see a reunion show of one my favorite bands from the ’90s, The Sighs, and getting to know them and having their guitarist Matt Cullen offer to add guitar parts to the songs I’d been working on. It’s been really exciting to collaborate from afar with people. It was like Christmas morning when I’d get up to hear a guitar track that he added to one of my songs. The guy who mixed it and really put it into focus is Nick Frater, who’s a UK classic pop singer/songwriter/producer. I haven’t met him, but we connected right away when talking about the direction of the mix.
“I’m working on more as time and motivation permits,” Hackbarth concludes. “I’m pretty nervous to put something out under my own name. Trolley is my love, but I just felt I needed to do this now.”
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