Pale Horse and Rider are the musical equivalent of the local militia. Their ragtag looks, lack of uniforms, and weathered faces give no indication of their uncanny ability to pierce the heart, perhaps not with bayonets but rather with beautifully turned phrases and lilting melodies.
There ís an honesty that surrounds the boys in PHR. They do not become buried in the weight of their lyrics, rather they play through the sad songs with smiles on their faces knowing they're surrounded by friends and grateful to be.
All are such seasoned players that there is a chemistry and intuition among them, adding the subtle edge that transforms bands from 'good' to 'classic.' DeRosa and Gartman share both the microphone and the lyric book. The lyrical territory is vast, as both songwriters have different styles and strengths. DeRosa is clearly more urban, focusing on the recklessness of youth in Brooklyn, self-destruction and the casual use of drugs, in a voice that neither glorifies nor pities. Marc's songs tend to be more pastoral, introspective, and masterfully detailed, relating stories so vividly that each song reads like a bedtime story.

DeRosa's not unlike the downcast end of Springsteen. 'Jersey Coast Line' could very well be Nebraska's 11th track, as its stately melody and modest hints of romance and nostalgia cast it into a folk music tradition that's always been more felt than heard.

Marc Gartman is nothing short of a masterful country songwriter, embracing the genre's conventions while not allowing them to dictate the particular nature of his expression.




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