Rose’s Pawn Shop is:
Paul Givant – Lead Vocals, Guitar & Banjo
John Kraus – Banjo, Electric Guitar & Vocals
Tim Weed – Fiddle, Mandolin and Vocals
Stephen Andrews – Upright Bass & Electric Bass
Ulf Geist – Drums & Vocals
It may come as a surprise to hear the foot-stomping strains of Appalachian bluegrass channeled through a rock band here in Los Angeles, but heartache, loss and regret have always been the cornerstones of great music and this city has 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 disparate array of popular musical styles any late 20th century kid did. And in that mishmash of rock, punk, country, pop, rap, and all the rest, it was American Folk and Bluegrass music that rooted deepest in Paul, transforming him and his songs. Having played in various rock bands since early high school, in 2004 Paul decided it was time to take his growing batch of old style/new school folk songs, and build them into something greater, more ferocious. The songs were there, volatile, almost flammable, but if they were to attain their potential greatness, he was going to need help.
As so many fortuned events unfold, it was through a series of chance meetings, twists of fate, and Craig’s List, that Paul met kindred spirits in Sebastian St. John, Derek O’Brien, Bill Clark, Derek Swenson, and John Kraus. And in 2005 they began building the music and the band that would soon be known as Rose’s Pawn Shop. This group of young musicians combined in their collective musical melting pot the old style American sounds of Woody Guthrie, Bill Monroe, and Hank Williams, the high energy punk of The Ramones, and The Pogues, and the melodic songwriting sensibilities of Elliott Smith and The Beatles. They were creating something musically unique and yet imbued with a familiarity and accessibility.
The final ingredient was added one fateful day when Paul’s scorned ex-girlfriend/former band mate in an act of revenge stole the band’s instruments and gear and took them down to the local pawn shop. Priceless. Rose’s Pawn Shop was born… The match was lit.
In spring of 2006 after months of playing live and breaking ground around Los Angeles, the band recorded and released their debut album “The Arsonist”. The album quickly began receiving critical praise from print and online publications as varied as “About.com”, “The Daily News”, “Miles of Music”, and “Music Connection”. A month after its release, Rose’s Pawn Shop showcased and won the grand prize in Billboard Magazine and Discmaker’s: Independent Music World Series. And in the summer of that year, the members of Rose’s Pawn Shop dared to quit their day jobs and hit the road, and what had started as a slow and steady burn, began spreading like wildfire.
They have been touring the United States nearly non-stop ever since. On any given day you might find Rose’s Pawn Shop playing 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 residency at the Parkside Lounge in New York City, or hitting the main stage of Floydfest in Virginia. On any given day they’re out there, growing their music, igniting their passion, and converting an ever increasing congregation of loyal fans.
In early 2010 Rose’s Pawn Shop entered the studio with renowned producer Ethan Allen(Patty Griffin, Better Than Ezra, Counting Crows, Luscious Jackson, The 88, Gram Rabbit) to record their 2nd album “Dancing On the Gallows”. In recording the new record Rose’s Pawn Shop found themselves rising to new level song craft and sound experimentation, while retaining the same fiery intensity and excitement of their early material. The highly anticipated album is slated for an early August 2010 release.
What do they sound like you ask?
With an arsenal of banjos, guitars, mandolin, fiddle, pedal steel, upright bass, and thundering drums, their sound is a wholesome mishmash of creek mud, rusty nails and your mom’s cooking’. 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.
With wisdom beyond their years, they fearlessly confront traditional country music themes of loss, lamentation, and redemption, while throwing in some 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 breakneck speed, bluegrass instrumentation, 3- and 4- part vocal harmonies and lyrics that’ll break your heart.
Whether it’s the dreamy snake-charm-thump of “Lone Rider,” the wistful whisky-soaked wisdom of “Down The Line,” the honky-tonk ruckus of “Funeral Pyre,” or the Gypsy-infused mandolin twang of “Reckoning,” Rose’s Pawn Shop will hook you. Like catfish from the creek, they’ll reel you in. And they won’t let you go.
And you’ll be glad they did. Because 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.