June 7, 2007

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Progressive roots rock with a bit of ‘Crazy’
By Erica Febre efebre@hippopress.com

Many people probably haven’t heard Ray LaMontagne’s version of Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy.”

But, according to Phil daRosa of Northampton, Mass., the track was on a bootleg album being circulated and once daRosa heard the cover, he decided he had to cover it too.

“It’s basically another version of LaMontagne’s cover, so it’s a cover of a cover. I can’t really take credit for it. But I feel like his version is how the original version should be. It’s just really simple and soulful,” daRosa said.

Aside from playing Gnarls Barkley covers, daRosa is the founding member of an original trio called The Phil daRosa Band with daRosa taking lead vocals and guitar, Jackson Smith on bass, and Jeremy Milligan on drums.

The Phil daRosa Band is one of those bands that has stuck between genres and they’re not quite sure how to categorize their music. If it had to be labeled, it would be alternative and progressive roots rock music.

“One of my buddies came up with a little slogan for us — The Police and Ray LaMontagne had a dirty love child. It really comes out in all sorts of different forms. I’d like to think it had a distinct sound but at the same time, it can’t be classified as just reggae or just folk,” daRosa said.

While daRosa is the founding member of the band and writes the majority of the material, naming the band after him wasn’t based on this. In fact, the band’s name used to be The Frame, and actually still is in some instances.

“We had actually gone through four or five band names. Then we also found out that there’s a hugely popular band in Ireland called The Frames, so we’re trying to wean ourselves off that name as well. Then I just figured, I’m writing most of the songs, no one else has that name, let’s just use it,” daRosa said.

He also performs as a solo musician, so using daRosa’s name also with the trio helps promote both facets of the music at the same time. The members of The Phil daRosa Band were all previous members of a band called Bathtub Mary, which split up a few years ago.

The trio has been working together as The Frame or The Phil daRosa Band for the last two years but all three members have known each other for almost a decade. As a solo artist, daRosa plans to release his debut album in the fall, which will include a mixture of daRosa’s stripped-down solo tracks, full band features and other guest musicians.

Harlow’s Pub
This summer, Harlow’s Pub, located in the center of Peterborough, will offer an array of original artists. The Phil daRosa Band, taking the stage on, Friday, June 9, and the LeahRandazzo Group, taking the stage on Saturday, June 16, are just two of the featured artists this June.
Where: 3 School St., Peterborough
For more information: Go to harlowspub.com. For more details on the Leah Randazzo Group, go to myspace.com/leadrandazzogroup, or, for information on The Phil daRosa Band, go to phildarosa.com or myspace.com/phildarosa.

Shows at Harlow’s Pub for June:
Fri., June 8 The Pangeans
Sat., June 9 Ameranouche at 6 p.m.
Fri., June 9 The Phil daRosa Band
Fri., June 15 The Mystery Button
Sat., June 16 Lead Randazzo Group
Sat., June 16 Marcy Hill Bluegrass Band at 6 p.m.
Fri., June 22 Jah Spirit
Sat., June 23 Sol Driven Train
Fri, June 29 Peter Prince & Moon Boot Lover.