His music and voice have gotten under my skin since 2006, and I’ve written a lot about him. When I love something, I stick with it. I never waver. I never get bored. Damien’s voice is just one of those things. The effect was similar to how I felt when I first heard Conor Oberst eight years ago. While searching for Peasant, it is often difficult to find without typing his name Damien Derose. Hopefully, soon that will change.
Go to peasant's myspace page for tour dates and be on the lookout for the upcoming WOXY session.
Record label Paper Garden Records
Peasant’s music is like the Sirens persuasively calling from the distance. The sounds are muted as if to hold in feelings. And so Peasant takes us on his odyssey appropriately, starting with the beautiful “The Wind” / I am speaking for the wind / blowing on my door / and it’s saying words I know / but in a different order /. The harmonica breathes in between verses as if to pause and think. Ending with stunning harmonies of / I am you / I am you…...
The random movements of the wind are unpredictable, and so are Peasant’s recording sensibilities. The guitar leads that glisten, snapping, organ, haunting lead-in harpsichord in “Birds”, the offbeat clanking of percussion in the song “Missing All Of You,” or the thump-strum of the guitar in “On The Ground.”
Peasant articulates the stages of falling in love, breaking up, confusion, loss, and the reassessment of moving on. The words expressed in the song “On The Ground” sum it up / Actually, I don’t believe a word I tell myself / we woke up / and we broke up / thinking all the time that it was easy…. Well it’s not.
In the gorgeous “Not Your Savior” the continuous guitar strums stop to exhale / where do we go from here / and where are we now /. The added pulsating heartbeat of the soft bass spaced in a loop, is striking in the song “Raise Today.” The lyrics linger and question/everything’s dancing around / a circle that I cannot see / what is there missing from me / that I see in you / and ending with / just trying to stay on the ground /.
The yearning for lost love in the song “Those Days” expresses the enduring seduction of imagination. His voice cries out / you were my lover, for now, just another / those days are gone /. The killer chorus rises with assertion / I don’t know who you think we are / you can miss this nearly healing scar /…and ends with a lingering note like a foghorn in the distance.
All fourteen tracks are created as a self-catharsis of sorts. Peasant might be hurt but not ready to drown in his tears. Through his songs, he will sort everything out and come back standing.
And stand he does, as a singer-songwriter, Damien DeRose's phrasing, and recordings are deliberate and skillfully directed. With On the Ground, Peasant has seamlessly assembled a collection of songs with the enduring quality of giving.
Opening at the last minute was Mike Sanders of the band Abigail Warchild. He was a sweet trooper with a deep resonating voice, similar to Jim Morrison. With his full-bodied band via MySpace, his songs translate! It is hard to convey rock-oriented music acoustically.
Spin.com filmed Peasant's Subway Series
Chris Archibald was a one-man band wonder. Tapping the bass drum with one foot and the cymbals with another while strum-plucking his guitar. What a surprisingly big sound he produced. He parodied David Letterman’s Top Ten List. About six glorious songs in, he turned to the keyboard and played a moving love song.
He has a full range when it comes to songwriting. We were treated to songs of depth, hilarious road trip band tunes, and funky, saloon-folk ballads in the vein of “Nosebleed.” A song was recorded with his band Illinois and featured on the HBO show Weeds.
Visit their myspace page to listen to two great new tracks.
"Rebel Side of Heaven" and "Diamonds and Gold"
Langhorne Slim myspace Page
Photo credit : the great Crackerfarm
Drink Up Buttercup @ the Cake Shop 1/19/08 Saturday night. You know what I'll be doing!! If you can't catch them tomorrow, they are doing a residency at Piano's during February, on Tuesdays!
Drink up Buttercup myspace
Peasant AKA Damien Derose Coffee Shop Series: Starting on January 29th with a creative acoustic lineup at the Cake Shop: Chris Archibald of the band Illinois doing a solo stint, Peasant, and Ben Thornewill of Jukebox the Ghost.
I can't think of anywhere I'd rather be.
Check Peasant's myspace for a complete schedule.
Jukebox the Ghost myspace
Sgt. Dunbar and the Hobo Banned the new Release The Thing About Time
Looking forward to seeing them again!!
Nice words from My Old Kentucky Blog
1. To be fair to the bands, the sound checks are almost non-existent, and the amount of time to play is very short. There is little time to get into the groove.
2. Seeing a band with an audience of fifteen or less is not the greatest way to judge their ability, musicians often feed off the energy of an audience and play off that dynamic.
3. Some groups are road veterans and are always relaxed and no big deal, another show of many.
4. Some are locals, so just hopping in a cab and meeting bandmates with their instruments is not too stressful. While others travel to perform at these events, hoping to catapult them into a new category of exposure.
5. Then there are different performers, like bands with local fans. Seeing them in this setting is great but an unfair advantage in judgment.
6. Solo and acoustic performers need an exclusive venue for listening.
7. Finally, some bands have been hyped beyond their current capabilities and are bound to disappoint.
I have read much of the coverage of the anticipated main events and lesser-known acts, only to realize that writers are fast to judge and tear down what they have spent so much time hyping. For instance, an act like Dan Deacon has received a slew of press and many new opportunities. I’m sure he is aware of some of the problems created by his insistence on performing on the venue's floor rather than the stage. It is difficult to change midstream, especially when riding on the success that has been a long effort. Changing what has been working is difficult and takes time and thought. He also has a philosophical bent being both a performance artist and composer.
The band Cut off Your Hands traveled from New Zealand and booked many shows to gain exposure and distribute their recordings in the states. They went for it and took a risk; they certainly got their name out there.
I truly understand the reasoning behind un C. Em. J. Music Fest, 07 alternative events catering to the under-21 crowd with good music taste, who are basically shut out from attending many of the shows offered by CMJ. The curated Blogger shows present another alternative. Many of the Bloggers staged events to give exposure to bands they have seen and enjoyed so that others from across the country have the same opportunity.
I wish I lived in closer proximity to Manhattan. Within the year, that will all change but for now, driving for over an hour and parking present obstacles.
I made my outing to two venues The Gothamist House and The Indaba Loft. Both are low-key free events.
People might find it strange, but I love the band o’death and I love Peasant. It was nice to see Peasant perform before a small attentive crowd and just hear his beautiful voice without any distractions. He followed o’death and most of the crowd walked out before his set. I think that is too bad. It is difficult for acoustic solo performers without a band because people expect instant gratification and theatrics over substance. His voice and song arrangements are beautiful, sincere, and tender and might seem foreign to an older, cynical listener.
To see o’death while sitting on a couch sipping sparkling water with a twist of lime presented a predicament. I didn’t sit for long. I loved seeing them play in such an intimate and cozy setting. Instantly their style of Appalachian punk with elements of diverse composition altered the surroundings. They played two new songs that sounded wonderful. It was a nice treat to see a tuba player in the mix adding additional flavor to their original and invigorating sound.
Cut Off Your Hands played very loud power pop punk, with emotive vocals that sounded like a mixture of the Cure and Cursive. Seeing them just felt out of place in a small venue during the day. It was as if they were performing for a stadium. Watching the lead singer posturing and
going through MTV video antics made me chuckle. I still enjoyed their lively 4 song set.
Indaba was very friendly and relaxing, it really felt like a party. The crowd was getting too comfortable talking, so when Natalie Prass finally arrived for her set after being delayed in traffic, the audience couldn’t stop. That was unfortunate because I liked what I heard, even with a backing band, it was an acoustic sound, so the outside noise couldn’t be drowned out. She has an interesting vocal range and reminds me of Fiest and alt. country great Patty Griffin. Her song arrangements were also quite nice.
I came to Indaba to see Beat Radio, I like Brian Sendrowitz's songwriting and have seen him solo acoustic once before. I’ve been meaning to see the band for a while. I’m happy I did. The sound is very powerful and rich live. There are no rough edges. The music is not slick, it is real, and the musicianship and collaborative spirit of the group are a pleasure to witness. The smart and memorable lyrics are melded into a sonic mix of finger-picking, electronic echoes with an upbeat pulse. My notes read....................
Powerhouse Phil Jimenez on keys and Guitar. They’ve got chops!
In both venues, I found the CMJ networking annoying, like reading while someone is performing a few feet away or talking really loud and not stopping even when there is a quiet moment on set. I think most of the networking can be done between acts. Maybe my networking is more limited, but I accomplished a lot and received an awesome EP from Jukebox The Ghost. I will see them soon!
I ended the evening at the Pink Pony. They have the best reasonably priced home cooking, a great atmosphere, and a jukebox. I drove home listening to Peasant’s Three songs promotional recording looped all the way. Ahhhh …….Work the next day. Wake up at 6:00.
Peasant will perform Day One at the Gothamist / WOXY CMJ, a four-day party at the White Rabbit. The show will not be a typical full-on rock show but a more intimate acoustic fare. If you can’t attend, WOXY will broadcast from the space and provide a podcast of The Best of The Gothamist House shortly following the event's conclusion. The lineup is really fine, including other bands I love o'death and Illinois.
Peasant will also be a part of the great CMJ lineup at the Indaba Loft, presented by Indaba Music, This Side Up, and Underrated Magazine. This four-day event also features the band Beat Radio headed by the accomplished singer-songwriter Brian Sendrowitz and the indie pop rock outfit Eagle Seagull from Nebraska.
Continuing in his distinctive folk-pop style, Peasant has a new recording, On The Ground, to be released on Paper Garden Records in February of 08. The sound is divinely dreamy, yielding an array of silky vocal harmonies paired with exquisite echoed instrumentation. The release includes eight songs from the studio analog 2” tape and seven home recordings. Three of the studio songs are featured on his updated myspace site.
Illinois /Trainwreck Riders / Peasant, AKA Damien Derose
The Cake Shop is a venue on the lower east side. Entering at street level and then negotiating a steep stairway to a dark basement, it is hard to imagine the caliber of the music that unfolded during the evening.
I was thrilled to see Trainwreck Riders from San Francisco. The music can be described as hardcore cowboy punk with alt-country twang. Immediately I knew I was hearing an accomplished group of musicians. The crowd shook to the driving force of the engine that could. The music slowed down to capture the rooted vocals of Pete Fraudenfelder. It came back furiously kicking up dirt, descending on the audience, and leaving us coming up for air. The distant guitar passages by Andrew Kerwin sounded like echoes from a deserted town. The musicianship is apparent but does not sacrifice the essence of their raw live sound.
Illinois from Bucks County, Pennsylvania, makes a ruckus with their banjo-laden songs, great vocal harmonies, and exceptional drumming. Using other traditional rock instruments and the telephone distortion invention, they create a rock force in the higher order. Chris Archibald is quite the frontman, he has charisma. His verbal antics are natural, unrehearsed, and entertaining.
Standing up close and watching Illinois professionally handle the logistics of the small stage was eye-opening. They seamlessly dealt with the mic not working and becoming detached, tangled in the wiring and the low ceiling. Because of all these issues, the fantastic harmonies that usually accompany Chris Archibold's vocals were lost. The first few songs of the set were the strongest and the most receptive to the small setting. Their sound calls for a larger and better sound system. With all that aside, Illinois put on a great show to an appreciative audience in a packed room.
Closing the rollicking show, with guitar in hand, was Peasant. He describes his band on myspace as "just one lowly Peasant." This
Web Album Link show pictures by Artifact