Instead of taking 12 separate ideas and throwing them in the ring, Gregg DellaRocca of The Republic of Wolves set out on his own to embody a solo project called American Gospel and put out a concept record, Tall Tales Vol. 1. This can be looked at as DellaRocca’s baby as it’s almost 100% him as he took on all the writing, almost every instrument heard and all of the production. DellaRocca created a record that’s a little folk, a little retro and a smidge of Nirvana…? Explanation later, of course.
The thing with tales, whether sung or read, is that they may not be interpreted the way the creator intended. One could listen to Tall Tales Vol. 1 on repeat and come to a different conclusion every time, but for me it was a tale of someone who’s lost, hurt and searching.
He sings to an up Postal Service-like beat, “I looked all around. Where’d you go?” The music might’ve been saying one thing, but the lyrics told another tale. But something else stood out as key factors in interpreting the tale of DellaRocca. “The Hanged Man” sounded like some song I’d heard on repeat on the radio a year prior, but that wasn’t why it made an impression. The title, “The Hanged Man” is a tarot card often associated with letting go, sacrifice or reversal. So what I heard right from the start was this man searching for something or rather someone, but then giving up on it. Then my college English skills were thrown a curve ball when “I’ll Never Let You Go” began.
The concept may’ve been lost to me, or maybe it wasn’t, but the music whether or not I got “it” doesn’t matter when it comes to the actual music. The Postal Service was an obvious comparison, but the spurts of folk thrown about added needed layers to help this record stay above sea level. And then Nirvana? “Hunting Boar” had an uncanny vocal resemblance to Lee Koch from the second season of The Voice when he sang Nirvana’s “Heart Shaped Box.” Both are unable to be categorized, but so different that you want more and really can’t pinpoint why.
Three years, two recording locations and one man later, American Gospel’s Tall Tales Vol. 1 was born, and will make its debut May 15th. Interested parties ready for a page turner can get a hard copy, or do the modern dance and pick it up from iTunes or BandCamp.