The treatments throughout the recording give DeRose's distinct melodies the folky charm of a favorite old shirt or the warmth of a familiar feeling. His voice captures a raw sincerity, always on the verge of breaking, gathering teardrops and sentiments of love, loss, hope, and promise. Don't be deceived by short or seemingly simple aspects of DeRose's writing, he is a thoughtful writer and editor. It is what he leaves out that is important.
His lyrics fluctuate from global to personal, where he pushes and pulls those competing themes. Especially in "Hard Times," where the guitar and vocals echo through old speakers creating a poignant, timeless feel. Kind of like a lullaby for a young generation losing hope through difficult times. / Hard times / aren't good times /, but we'll still try to see them through /. This collection starts with "Thinking," combining the organ, shakers, and harmonies to contemplate our place in the world.. / We just can't go on without thinking /. I don't think any lyric could be so perfectly clear and relevant. "The Distance" continues in a reflective tone, one that is more personal than worldly, with a slow strum that ponders the future while listening to the distance of the past. / where have you been my lover / where have you gone my friends /.
Three songs in a row propel the unique, offbeat percussion. "Well Alright" has an awesome sloppy drum beat with simple piano, "Pry" adds shakers and pot beat to a sad waltz, and "Prescriptions" has a great clopping horse trot with soft harmonies. Capturing mood is another aspect of his song structure. The use of metaphor in "Into The Woods" creates a dreamlike setting with female harmonies. In the song "Tough," the mood is love with a capital L. With its soft plucking guitar, it is drenched in the morning sunlight of appreciation. / Can't you be the only one for me / your like the rising sun /. Shady Retreat ends with "Slow Down" using twangy guitar chimes while ending appropriately by singing / I wouldn't change a thing /. And he didn't! Peasant's instincts were correct to record Shady Retreat alone in a 200-year-old farmhouse where he crafted a full blast of authenticity. Enjoy "Well Alright"