Rose's Pawn Shop are five young guys from LA who've absorbed every bit of roots based music they can find and after several years of intensive performance have honed their sound to produce their own distinctively fired up brand of folk-rock. They are led by vocalist and songwriter Paul Givant and according to their reviews they manage to sound like as many different things as they have listeners; for my money they sound like nothing so much as America's answer to The Levellers. In case you're in any doubt, this is definitely A Good Thing.
The title song opens the album and sounds pretty much like Uncle Tupelo re-born, but as things progress the mighty rhythm section married to some furious fiddle and banjo playing with Paul Givant's yearning folk voice driving along the top of things just puts me in mind of The Levellers over and over again. As far as I can discern they don't have The Levellers' political agenda - the lyrics seem rather more personal than ideological - but the drive and the energy are there, right enough. I'd listened to the album a few times without sussing its personality, but then I tried turning it up really loud. That worked. Ethan Allen's production job seems designed to capture the blood and thunder of a live show, and it sure works at doing that. When the slower numbers come along you can almost hear the sweat dripping as people catch their breath.
This is totally and utterly a band who bring out the best in each other. Whilst Ulf Geist and Stephen Andrews pound out furious rhythms, John Kraus on guitar and banjo and Tim Weed on fiddle and mandolin just drive the whole thing along with fire and fury. The fiddle playing especially is frequently stellar; a touch of The Devil Went Down To Georgia finishes one song with a flourish but then the next number may be drawn to a close with an elegaically mournful fiddle line taken from some central European tradition. It all sounds gloriously un- LA. There are echoes of many other bands and occasionally the vocals are given a treatment which comes over like hi-energy Fleet Foxes, but ultimately you'd have to say they've done a great job of finding their own style.
There are many moments where the performance has a visceral excitement rarely caught on a recording; the urgency and intensity of a live event are right there and it's a great thing to hear. 'Pine Box' is possibly the most radio-friendly of the album's dozen songs; all those folk-rock elements are married to a slightly more relaxed driving beat to make it a pretty neat American road song. There's a nice couplet in there about 'I can't turn water into wine/Or music into cash...' but I think these guys are plenty good enough to make a long career and a reasonable pile of cash along the way. If they get to the UK at all it'd be worth going to some lengths to catch them live but in the meantime get hold of this cd and Play It Loud!
Would like to contribute to FSR and the House Concert Hub? Please help keep the wheels on the hub, this site is run on House Concert Principles and relies on your donation. Thank You for keeping this in mind
The Medicine Show is the home of the House Concert here is our rolling news
This site is the sister site to The House Concert Hub community and has been inherited in the main by kind donation of Shaun Belcher and Trailer Star.
It is the sum total of over ten years of tending a tender love of music by Shaun, a life time with Trailer Star and five or so years of an association with Rob Ellen from Medicine Music.
The House Concert Hub community will use it for the purpose of providing a online, all singing all dancing, review and preview area for the music of the community, and the music community at large. Have a look around tell your friends use the share button, tell the world.
We need reviewers, the idea is we have a correspondents in every area of the musical global village, it will be edited and co-ordinated by Rob Ellen of Medicine Music publicist promoter and presenter, if you wish to subscribe as a correspondent, join up here and drop Rob a line, he will send you cd's and send you to shows, display and publicise your content.