I’ve seen the future of rock and roll…Ish and PM
This is so good, with such an incredible back story, that I’m not sure if I’m being pulled into a scene straight from central casting circa 1939. Some stories are written. Others write themselves. This story, about a band named William Pilgrim and The All Grows Up starts with a lie. There is no William Pilgrim from what I can tell, and there really isn’t much of a band called The All Grows Up, although maybe there is and I’m just missing it. Or maybe it’s a band without the usual constraints that bands kind of operate within, like actual members.But in the end, who cares? Because this artistic vehicle has just released an album called The Great Recessionand it is unlike anything I’ve heard this year. Or the year before. Or the year before that. And yes, pardon the Springsteen-ian reference point and the burden I’ve placed on the band with it, but I swear to whoever might be reading this…they don’t make them like this one anymore. We have a winner here folks.
Want the story? All I know is what I’ve read on the website and a little bit from someone who reached out to me and said…hey…check this out…socially conscious band from Orange California. A tiny oasis of antique stores, restaurants, places to still find music and the home of Moonlight Graham. Which is a store that sells stuff like vintage apparel, has something to do with baseball or maybe not, is the record label of John Doe and Exene Cervenka’s last recording and has some sort of patina on whatever it is they do. And in Orange County of the real housewives fame…my backyard up until five weeks ago and I’m just pissed off that I had to move 3000 miles away to hear about them.
Before I do the story…which is really absurd because all I’ll do is steal it word for word from their own bio…I shall tie you down, place bamboo under your eyelids and make you watch this. And you will. Because like me you will get hooked at the sound of the man’s voice, the lyrics he sings, the music they play, the detail to the period and set design, and the message. And there is that. This isn’t Kid Rock or One Direction or Aerosmith. Alright…shut up and play the damn thing for the people.
If you’re me, the first thing you think of is that voice. Where have I heard it before? Who does it sound like? Well, forget it. Not going there. This video? Did you see the shot? Did you get it? Do you know over 28,000 people viewed it already on You Tube and the album just was released this week? How does this happen? How? Because there is still hope that if you have something to say, people will listen. They may tune in and out in a blink of an eye these days with their short attention spans…but they do find it.
Ready for the story? It’s a damn good one. Let me get my scissors…ok. William Pilgrim is the Alter-Ego of Ishmael “Ish” Herring, who sought musical collaboration by placing an online ad. PM Romero, an Orange County-based songwriter/musician, answered it and the pair formed the fruitful musical partnership that would become William Pilgrim and the All Grows Up. At the time, Ish was homeless and living on the streets of Los Angeles. Being on the streets was not new to Ish.
“Born in 1984 in Kansas City, MO to a drug addicted mother and a broken home, Ish Herring spent his childhood shuffling between numerous foster homes and later, lived on the streets and in New Orleans before eventually making his way to Los Angeles. He always found solace in music and taught himself guitar, piano and drums. The R&B and soul music Ish remembered fondly from his early childhood mixed easily with a diverse array of modern artists he heard and liked, ranging from R. Kelly and Matchbox 20 to Soul Asylum and similar popular alternative groups from the mid- and late-90s.” (Cut straight from the bio.)
The Great Recession paints a multi-layered musical portrait of a frayed country whose people have fallen on hard times and long for stability, love and better days. “I wanted to make a record that came from the standpoint of the 80s generation, my generation, that was cast off,” says Ish. “We were let down by society and our leaders in so many ways. The Great Recession takes the power of American roots music as tool of social consciousness and updates it for the 21st century but still makes it sound timeless and evokes a sense of nostalgia.” (More theft from their website. I’m ruthless and unashamed.)
I suspect you would like me to add my words now, tell you about the album track by track. No need…through the miracle of modern technology, should I not screw it up, I shall give you the ability to listen to the entire album here. And then you can write your own review. And I can go get pizza. But the point is, which is why I’ve spent a couple hours doing this, I believe that this is one of the finest albums I’ve come across in god knows how long. Ish and PM and company have done something very special, and very good. Enjoy it.
The band plans to further complement the upcoming release of The Great Recession with, House On the Hill, an insightful documentary film set for release in 2013 that explores the plight of homeless teens in Southern California. Prominent musical and social luminary Exene Cervenka of the legendary band X will add narration.
Music video by William Pilgrim & The All Grows Up performing Farewell
From the album The Great Recession
Moonlight Graham Records
Written and Directed – PM Romero
DP – Scott Montgomery
Editing – Kevin Neynaber
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