On their debut release, Pale Horse and Rider reach back into the fertile hotbed of country music circa-1940 and emerge with some of the most catchy and classic sounds this side of the Big River. A quiet hoedown of banjos, steel-string guitars, and vocal harmonies, These Are The New Good Times is a poignant and powerful example of bare-bones country folk. Jon DeRosa is the man behind Pale Horse and Rider, though he may be better known for his work with drone-pop hybrid Aarktica. Over the years DeRosa has emerged as a talented solo artist, whose songwriting skills are showcased here.
As Pale Horse and Rider, DeRosa opts for raw acoustic finger-picking and lyrics which tell stories, as opposed to Aarktica’s lush and intricate song-scapes. Incredibly private about his work, DeRosa was adamant that only his closest and most respected friends perform on the album to maintain a sense of “family.” The result was a backing band including Alan Sparhawk (Low), Charles Newman (Flare), Nathan Amundson (Rivulets), and Marc Gartman.
Album photography was taken care of by DeRosa and Ms. Jessica Bailiff. These Are The New Good Times was recorded by Sparhawk at Sacred Heart Church in Duluth, Minnesota during DeRosa’s recent visit, where he also contributed guitar to the new Rivulets album Debridement. Both albums were recorded at this amazingly acoustical decommissioned church, where Low also recorded its latest album Trust. Between Sparhawk’s straightforward, minimalist recording approach and the church’s naturally warm chambers, the album is one of simple and intimate beauty. The songs on These Are The New Good Times balance both the light-hearted and the heavy, and revolve around DeRosa’s upbringing in the New Jersey coast town of Manasquan.
As the title implies, the album is optimistic, suggesting we should appreciate the friends we have today, without discounting the good times we may have had in the past.
DeRosa’s voice is weathered beyond his years, as he sings blue-collar anthems atop skeletal waltzes to the ghosts of Hank Williams, Ernest Tubb, and Waylon Jennings. DeRosa is 24 years old, and calls Brooklyn, New York home.
These Are The New Good Times is Pale Horse and Rider’s first full-length release, following last year’s contribution to The Alcohol EPs, a triple split CD with tracks by PHR, Remora and Rivulets.
2. I Told Jesus How Much I Loved Her
3. Will We Be Blessed Someday
9. Metropolitan Love Song
10. I Came Here Every Night
11. The Prettiest Girl I've Seen Tonight (So Far)