Peasant, Unpredictable Beauty

After listening to Fear Not, Distant Lover by Peasant, AKA Damien Derose, he got to me. It just lingered, and I couldn't shake it. Peasant's sound and songwriting quietly haunted me. His songs start out so simply. The beauty lies in the layering of instruments and harmonious vocals that give it depth and add dimension. He coats each song with delicate percussion and combines this with jewel-like guitar riffs. The gentle riffs glide around the song’s melody, creating various combinations without being repetitive. He is a skilled player. To complement the instrumentation, he overlays his soft tenor vocals employing three-part harmony with words and soft humming. His voice, while being very beautiful, has quirky, unpredictable qualities. That is part of the charm that draws me in. His voice can quiver, gulp, cry and, at the right moments in a song, be joyous. 

The lyrical content of Fear Not, Distant Lover is smart. The song “Icy Deep” has compelling imagery. In the line, "Something sharp has cut my blood out, there's my blood now, there’s my blood now,” he cleverly repeats and fades thoughtfully. In the love song “Yes It’s True,” he juxtaposes "shot in the head with love" to describe love's powerful hold. Besides loves longings and sad songs, he tells stories about Lonnie, a simple craftsman whose craft is obsolete, or of Joanna, a mother that is cherished and remembered after death. He also conveys a message in the song “Don’t Quit.“ To describe the frustration of war and conflict, he writes, "All we are doing is staring at a screen, no one will hear you scream". He continues, "Take a little time to understand the man who walks beside you". His philosophical and mature writing is not overbearing-- just there to ponder. He is young and wise. Through his music, he has a voice with something to say. 

Playing live, Peasant connects with his audience. His love of music is evident, and that sincerity is a pleasure to witness. The show is basic-- a beautiful, caring voice with a guitar at its finest! While this CD has been his focus since its release in 2005, in October of this year, he will be pressing a vinyl single with four songs presently featured on his Website. These songs will be part of a 14-song full-length that he will release in 2007.


Matt said...

I love Peasant! Nice write-up.

Dakota Floyd said...

Wow, you're on a roll...All 3 of the people you've posted about here so far I have talked to about playing in my town. But Peasant is actually already set to play here in October!