Things were on the rise in 1993 for The Connells. The North Carolina group released their fifth album that year and found themselves getting radio airplay with songs like the tuneful “Slackjawed.” Longtime favorites with music fans and college radio programmers, the band saw their reach widen even further as “74-75” was released as the album’s third single.

The mournfully atmospheric ballad went Top 10 in various parts of Europe, landing at number one in Norway and Sweden. Like many of the band’s songs, “74-75” had an element that felt personal in a way that connected with the listener. The same could be said for other tracks on Ring, from “Carry My Picture” to “Disappointed.”

Thirty years on, the album is receiving a well-deserved expansion, filling out the original album with additional material, while a second disc adds even more rarities. There are a number of different pre-order options available for the collection, which lands on August 11.

Songs like the group’s cover of “Living in the Past” by Jethro Tull, once relegated to bonus track status outside of the United States, are finally collected here with the original album. But it’s that second disc where things really begin to heat up. Full band demos of album tracks help to tell the story of Ring and demonstrate that the Connells — as if the average fan didn’t know this — didn’t need to rely on studio tricks to bring their songs to their final form on album. There are also a number of songs presented here as live acoustic versions.

In total, there’s more than two hours of material to take you back to the Ring time period. Popdose is pleased to present an exclusive premiere of the live acoustic version of “Running Away” from the album, a moment which takes the listener back even further, placing them in a moment that feels like what it must have been like to be in the room as the songs were taking shape during the writing process.

“For me the songwriting process can be somewhat accidental…and often times, it’s only long after the fact that I realize that I really like a song,” Mike Connell reflects. “That was the case with ‘Running Mary.’ It’s become one of my favorite songs to perform live.”

The Raleigh group continues to play live and in fact, documented their current era with a well-received live album, Set the Stage, which was released earlier this year. It came on the heels of Steadman’s Wake, a long awaited return to the studio.

Happily, there appears to be no end in sight for the Connells. Long may they run.

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