Location: Philadelphia , PA
Venue: Boot and Saddle
By A.D. Amorosi
It’s no surprise that Ron Gallo (pictured), of the soulful roots/Americana band Toy Soldiers, sees himself in fellow Philly frontman Jay Purdy, of the theatrical, dream-poppy chamber rockers the Extraordinaires. “In a way, I feel like we’re in the same boat in regards to our musical pursuits, both solo and with our bands,” says Gallo of his pal and peer.
You’ll hear the common elements at the Boot & Saddle tonight, when each singer will perform new music apart from the bands we know them from. “Jay mentioned to me this new solo stuff he’s been working on,” says Gallo. “It’s very honest, straight-forward folk songs that he’s written for just him and a guitar that’s sort of a step away from the incredible theatrics and fairy-tale kind of world of the Extraordinaires.”
After Toy Soldiers released The Maybe Boys in September and toured heavily, Gallo decided that he wanted to focus an unfettered and unfiltered approach to songwriting. Dark humor plays a big role in his lyrics. “My heroes are guys such as Harry Nilsson, Randy Newman, Ray Charles and Gram Parsons, so what I’m doing on Thursday is taking solo songs I’ve been working on in that vein and adapting those tunes for me, Satellite Hearts and [Levee Drivers’ lap steel guitarist] Kyle Perella to play. It’s going to be pretty wild.”
While he goes back-and-forth about what to call his 2014 solo album — Fine Diners and Finer Whiners is a strong contender — he is certain that the Boot & Saddle show will sound different from vintage Gallo. We’re talking heavy psych rock jams, early Elvis ballads and everything in between. “I’ve been working on these songs in secret for awhile, so I’m really pumped to play them.”