The state of Pennsylvania has many well-known symbols. The Liberty Bell, raucous sports fans, and Philly cheese steak sandwiches are among some of the more famous Keystone State icons. A rich tradition of music has been present in Pennsylvania for some time, and the new single by Peasant proves that it continues to breed promising new musical talent.
Peasant is Bucks County native Damien DeRose, a 23-year old musical marvel. In addition to vocal duties, DeRose covers guitar, piano, and drums for Peasant. In high school he even released his first record himself (2005’s “Fear Not, Distant Lover”). “The End” is the first single from the upcoming “Shady Retreat”, and true to form DeRose is recording and engineering the album himself in an isolated studio.
“The End” features the studio version of the title track and also a live version. A track called “Thinking” is also included. “The End” is a confessional-style song reflecting about forlorn love. Intricately layered guitars lay out a haunting melody as DeRose asks, “Are you alone tonight/Are you alone every night?” His wistful singing voice is unique, and really helps establish his persona as the young, hard-working troubadour.
The live version of “The End” is slightly sped-up, and all the layers are stripped so that just DeRose’s voice and guitar remain. As is often the case with live tracks, this version has a more immediate, intimate feel. “Thinking” is a bit cheerier with a piano-based structure, as DeRose contemplates what the future holds with a romantic interest. The song builds as DeRose’s understated vocal style blends with the piano and guitar to make a Simon & Garfunkel-esque aesthetic harmony.
Fans of fellow Pennsylvania citizen Matt Pond PA are sure to enjoy Peasant’s well-constructed single. If “The End” is any indication, “Shady Retreat” stands to be a great album.