2008 In Review, Vol. 7 - The Sweetbriars

The Sweetbriars’ Please Pass The Revolution! - a tight, concise folk-rock record with strong hints of power-pop and garage rock - was one of the nicest surprises sent to me in 2008. Central Pennsylvanians Earl Pickens (an established solo artist and vet of NY’s anti-folk scene with an ear for simmering country-pop melodies) and Bruce W. Derr (a formerly hard living rock ‘n roller with an ‘anything goes’ recording philosophy) met and started playing music with one another just last winter. The two found an instant chemistry with each other’s styles and decided quickly that an album was in order. The 10 songs were (mostly) written and recorded together in a whirlwind few weeks, and the result is an album where the careful, classic song craft of Pickens meets the whirling spontaneity of Derr, without either being sacrificed. Please Pass The Revolution! is simply an old fashioned rock record - guitars turned loud, emphasis on harmony and fun, no sign of irony or pretense. Listen.
Props to Earl for sending the funniest Year End Reflection yet:

Hey Popheadwound,

Thanks for inviting us to contribute to your Year End List Extravaganza. Aught eight was a banner year for The Sweetbriars. Easily our biggest year yet in terms of creative output, commercial success and critical acclaim.

The Sweetbriars influence was felt far and wide in '08: less than 9 months after we started the band, America elected its first black president. And, just a few days after Bruce and I discussed how much we wished Sarah Palin would go back to Alaska already Sarah Palin WENT BACK TO ALASKA!!! It is rewarding for a band to have such impact on the world, and also on Alaska.

In 2008 what most separated The Sweetbriars from other bands was probably our good manners. For example, we put the word "please" right in the title of our debut album: PLEASE PASS THE REVOLUTION! Not many bands take the time to say please nowadays. Even fewer put the word "please" right there on the cover of their album. The Beatles did it with their first record, but we felt they went overboard with that second "please". You don't want to seem desperate, guys!

Our good manners carry over to live shows, where we count from 1 to 4 out-loud at the start of each song so the audience knows when they can expect more music. Times were tough in 2008, and until Congress comes through with it's proposed Independent Music Bailout package, anything you can do to win fans helps. Please, good manners is a start! Thank you.
Some of the Sweetbriars favorite things about 2008:

Medjool Dates — Tasty AND gigantic. We've heard these referred to as "The Cadillac of Dates", but really they are much smaller and a different shape so this is not a fair comparison. We have no idea what a Cadillac tastes like, but Medjool Dates are DELICIOUS! Seriously, try and get some.

New England — The Sweetbriars toured New England twice this year. This is where we discovered Mejool Dates, in fact. Beautiful place, New England. VERY Newenglandy.

Being an indie rock band — This is where it's AT, y'all. Independence. Creative freedom. The right to choose our own path and follow it to our heart's desire. Sho' nuff, this is what being in a band is all about!!!!!

Trying to get signed — This has been really fun. Sending out PR sheets & copies of our 10-song debut cd, PLEASE PASS THE REVOLUTION!, waiting to hear back from people at various record labels. A lot of waiting. Fun waiting.

PLEASE PASS THE REVOLUTION! — Our 10 song debut cd. We dug it so much we bought 5,000 copies. Popheadwound dug it. You will too. Check it out at myspace.com/sweetbriars. Makes a great gift. Think how cool you'll appear giving this to someone. Say something smarmy like, "Oh, you've never heard of the Sweebtriars? Hmmmm. I thought you were cool."

That's it from us. Hope to see you in 2009! Please.

Stream :: Various tracks from Please Pass The Revolution!

“Parade (Meet Me Halfway)”


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