It may come as a surprise to hear the strains of Appalachian and Americana music channeled through five guys from Los Angeles, CA, but heartache, loss and regret have always been the cornerstones of great music, and this city has more than its share. In a town better known for porn stars and face lifts, anything as authentic and heartfelt as ROSE’S PAWN SHOP is a pleasant surprise.
Singer/songwriter Paul Givant grew up on the same disparate array of popular musical styles as any other late 20th century kid. In that mishmash of Rock, Punk, Country, Pop, and Rap, it was American Folk and Bluegrass that rooted deepest in Paul, transforming him and his songs. Having made the rounds in various rock bands since early high school, Paul decided it was time to take his growing batch of new folk-oriented songs and create a band that could deliver this material the way he imagined it sounding.
As so many fortuned events have unfolded, it was through a series of chance meetings, twists of fate, and a little help from Craigslist, that Paul met kindred spirits in Stephen Andrews, John Kraus, Tim Weed and Christian Hogan. Together they began building the music and the band that would soon become ROSE’S PAWN SHOP. They combined, in their collective musical melting pot, the old style American sounds of Woody Guthrie, Bill Monroe, and Hank Williams with a higher energy approach more reminiscent of modern Alt-Rock, all with a deeply melodic songwriting sensibility. The goal was to create a sound that was unique, yet imbued with a sense of familiarity.
The final ingredient was added one fateful day when Paul’s scorned ex-girlfriend/former band-mate, Rose, in an act of revenge, stole the band’s gear and instruments from their practice space and brought it down to the local pawn shop. Priceless! The match was lit … and ROSE’S PAWN SHOPwas born! (Of course, not until after they got their gear out of hock!)
In 2010, the near-current line-up of the band recorded the album “Dancing on the Gallows,” and the band began hitting the road. Once the final line-up was locked in, they began touring the United States more consistently and have ever since. On any given night, you could find ROSE’S PAWN SHOPplaying the Georgia Theatre in Athens, busking the streets of Jackson Square in New Orleans, opening for Jack White and The Raconteurs at the Henry Fonda Theatre in Los Angeles, ripping the walls off the club in their month long residence at the Parkside Lounge in New York City, or hitting the main stages of prestigious festivals such as Floydfest in Virginia and Wakarusa in Arkansas. The band is out there, growing their music, iginiting their passion, and converting an ever-increasing congregation of fans.
With an arsenal of guitars, banjo, thumping upright bass, fiddle and drums, delivering neo-classical-sounding melodies and lyrics, their sound is a wholesome mishmash of creek mud, rusty nails and your mom’s cookin’. It’s sincere, straight-forward and sexy as fuck, effortlessly combining such disparate musical styles as rock, country, bluegrass, and punk to create an incomprehensibly smooth and accessible sound for true believers and skeptics alike.
They confront traditional country music themes of loss, lamentation, and redemption, with a couple of drinking songs for good measure. Sure, they’re borrowing pages from the books of Hank Williams, Bill Monroe, and Johnny Cash, but ROSE’S PAWN SHOP takes those pages, tears them up and sets them on fire with three and four part vocal harmonies and lyrics that’ll break your heart.
Something happens when you hear these songs. No matter how low you’ve sunk, something in the music finds you. It picks you up and carries you home.
In September 2014, ROSE’S PAWN SHOP released their newest album, Gravity Well, produced and mixed by Ted Hutt (Old Crow Medicine Show, Gaslight Anthem, Dropkick Murphy’s) to great critical and fan acclaim. The band is currently on tour is support of that album.