Grammy Award-winning Train will pull into Portland June 25

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Clear the railroad tracks, a train is coming to the Merrill Auditorium in Portland. Not a real one, of course, but the San Francisco-based, Grammy Award-winning band Train. Touring in support of its latest album, “For Me, It’s You,” the quintet will chug into Portland June 25 for a 7:30 p.m. show.

Special guest will be Anna Nalick, who wrote all the music and lyrics for her debut album, “Wreck of the Day.” Her breakout song, “Breathe (2 AM),” can be heard in promos for “Close to Home,” a new legal drama series airing on CBS. It was also recently featured on the hit TV show “Grey’s Anatomy.”

Train released “For Me, It’s You,” its fourth studio album and fifth overall, in early 2006. The album came out of an intense seven-week recording session in Atlanta, Ga., with producer Brenden O’Brien, a veteran of two previous Train albums, at the helm. “Cab,” “For Me’s first single,” received descent airplay on radio stations around the country.

Despite the fact that every one of the band’s albums has since gone platinum, Train began from humble roots. In late 1993, tired of his native Erie, Pa., Patrick Monahan went West and settled in San Francisco. The Apostles, a well-liked local band, was in the process of breaking up, but Rob Hotchkiss, the band’s singer/guitarist saw something in Monahan. The two formed a two-man band, eventually enlisting former Apostles Jim Stafford (guitar) and Charlie Colin (bass) to form Train. Colin’s good friend and drummer Scott Underwood soon rounded out the quintet’s line-up.

After gaining a following on local and regional circuits, Train set out to record an album with the help of producer Chris Mathewson. In an unusual deal, major label Columbia Records signed the group, but put out the resulting self-titled album on the minor label Aware in February, 1998. This arrangement relieved much of the pressure thrust upon first albums and allowed the group to cultivate its fan base organically.

The band received a huge break in 1998, when producers of the television show “Party of Five” tapped Train’s first single “Free” for use on the program. While already a minor phenomenon because of its rigorous dedication to touring, this national exposure pushed Train’s success to new levels. In August, its second single “Meet Virginia” was No. 1 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart, and by November, the RIAA certified the self-titled album gold.

After playing shows around the country for two years, Monahan and the boys took a few months off to record their second album, “Drops of Jupiter.” The album’s first single, “Drops of Jupiter,” spent over a year on the Hot 100 and garnered the group a Grammy for Best Rock Song and, along with Paul Buckmaster who arranged the string sections, one for Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalists.

The follow-up album, 2003’s “My Private Nation,” earned Train another Grammy nomination. Its first single, “Calling All Angels,” tore up the Adult Top 40/Adult Contemporary charts, eventually settling at No. 1 for a brief period. In 2004, the band pleased its fans with the release of a long-awaited live album, “Alive At Last.”

Tickets for the all-ages show are $36.50. They may be purchased at PortTix, 20 Myrtle St., Monday through Saturday from noon to 6 p.m., call (207) 842-0800, or go online to www.porttix.com.

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