Prior to forming State Radio, singer-songwriter/guitarist Chad Stokes Urmston was a founding member of the phenomenally successful indie-roots band Dispatch. That Vermont-formed trio had a remarkable six-year run, culminating in a 2004 farewell gig in Boston that drew 110,000 fans. Three years later, a reunited Dispatch sold out three nights at Madison Square Garden for a Zimbabwe benefit concert. By then, though, Urmston was already off and running with State Radio, which since 2002 has distinguished itself as one of the most politically outspoken American music acts since Rage Against the Machine — if not Woody Guthrie. The trio (rounded out by bassist Chuck Fay and drummer Mike Najarian) plays an engaging mix of rock, folk, punk and reggae, but the main agenda here is a pronounced emphasis on social and political activism. If ’60s protest singer Phil Ochs were alive today, it’s a good bet he’d be tuned in to State Radio’s frequency.
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