For a newcomer buying a ticket for the first time, the stage set up might seem a bit strange. Instrument-wise, Rose's Pawn Shop resembles a bluegrass band, with banjo, fiddle, upright bass and guitar, except that right in the middle of those acoustic pieces sits a set of drums. While that is the first indication that this band might be a little different from the everyday traveling show, things really start to get interesting once the five-piece band arrive on-stage.
Rose's Pawn Shop treated the audience to songs from their debut album, 'The Arsonist,' as well as tunes from the new project. They kicked the evening off with 'Lone Rider,' a tune that starts out rather deceivingly with a lonesome fiddle introduction. It doesn't take the audience long to snap to attention once the rest of the band kicks into what becomes a rollicking number that sets the tone for the evening.
Lead vocalist Paul Givant is the band's emissary to the audience, as he talks about new tunes and chats at various intervals throughout the evening. The band is a tight unit, with each member contributing equal parts harmony, musicianship and stage presence as they played through their eleven-song set.
"Thank you for coming out tonight," Paul told an audience that was already up and dancing by their second song. "It's good to be back in Nashville; this is one of our favorite cities to visit."
Paul introduced their next song as a good "Monday night party tune" before the band launched into 'Funeral Pyre.' Don't let the title fool you; the fast tempo combined with lyrics like "...Twenty dollars to my name right now and that's just enough ... calling up my good time friends, you and I will meet them in the street, take my cares and set them all afire, burn them up in a funeral pyre..." is indeed a good way to lose the Monday night blues!
Paul described the band's first song from the new disc, 'Pine Box,' as a song about the unusual things they see in their journey around the country and the interesting places they end up sleeping. The song turns out to be more about the lonely times of missing the partner left behind while the band follows their dream. The second offering from the new project, 'Danger Behind The Wheel,' also comes with a brief introduction. "This one is about a bad dating choice I made, with a girl with crazy eyes," Paul explains.
Paul is the main songwriter, and his lyrics hearken back to the standards of Hank Williams and Bill Monroe, as he writes about rural earthy topics to which the everyday man and woman can relate. Despite the fact that all the songs are not upbeat, the music that accompanies them usually is, and it's hard to sit through a set of the band's music without nodding your head to the beat and smiling at the dancers who inevitably take to the floor.
There were few slow songs throughout the set, but the band ran with its motor wide open for much of the evening. The harmonies blend effortlessly and the lyrics flow easily with the melodies as they combine bluegrass, country and rock elements into a style that gives them a definite stage presence and a sound that is totally their own. Whether the fiddle is dancing through a solo or the bass is thumping a rhythm, the band is having a great time entertaining their audience, while the folks out front are enjoying every note being poured out to them from the stage.
'Dancing on the Gallows' is available now. Click here for the band's upcoming tour dates.
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