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MUSIC: Don’t Miss- Toy Soldiers at the Columbus Theatre, Tonight!

Monday, December 30, 2013


Don't Miss: Toy Soldiers tonight at the Columbus Theatre

A rock &roll band from Philadelphia that have been taking the New England music scene by storm,Toy Soldiers are going to be having one hell of a time atThe Columbus Theatre in Providence tonight. Sharing the bill with local blues heathens in The Silks and The Queen Of Rockabilly herself Wanda Jackson (They will also be serving as her backing band), a trifecta of immense talent will be taking over the main opera stage at the legendary venue nestled in the heart of the west end. Before tonight’s show I managed to have a chat with Toy Soldiers’ vocalist & guitarist Ron Gallo along with drummer Dominic Billett about the extravaganza and here’s how it went:

Rob Duguay: So tonight at The Columbus Theatre you guys will be performing with The Silks and Wanda Jackson along with being the latter’s backing band. How did this all come about?

Ron Gallo: We share a booking agent and the way Wanda has done shows for pretty much her whole career is that she kind of has a pick up band. Usually it’s whoever is opening for her or just some local guys who come and learn the songs on their own and then she comes out on stage sort of Chuck Berry style and does it. Tonight is also the first time we’ve played with her on stage.

R.D.: That should be quite the experience. Toy Soldiers are from Philadelphia and obviously you’re an out of state band, but you guys have gotten the chance to play a few big shows this year in Providence and in Rhode Island as a whole. You got to be part of the Nashville To Newport showcase put on by Joe Fletcher at The Newport Folk Festival along with playing one of the afterparties at One-Eighty in Newport during that weekend, Dudesmash 2 at The Met and the first night of The Silks’ two night bash to celebrate the release of their debut album Last American Band. Who was the first guy to introduce you to the music scene here in Providence?

R.G.: Joe Fletcher.

R.D.: That doesn’t surprise me one bit, What’s your opinion of the whole experience of playing in Providence?

R.G.: It’s been amazing, the Northeast in general too with the Boston-Providence-Newport triangle of cities seem to have a lot of common people with friends and bands from each city and playing with them here and there. New England in general has been very good to us ever since we started coming up here especially with someone like Joe Fletcher who has been a brother to us over the past year. He’s introduced us to a lot of awesome people and it’s kind of like a big family up here and we feel that we’ve been welcomed into that which is awesome.

R.D.: It’s really something special when you have talented people coming together, it’s truly a beautiful thing. Toy Soldiers also have a new album called The Maybe Boys that I absolutely love, it reminds me a lot of The Band along with The Basement Tapes that they did with Bob Dylan. We you guys going for something like that? When you went into the studio what was your main goal with the record?

R.G.: Just to capture the live energy of the live show. That was something we always struggled with when it came to getting that live energy across, so with this one was pretty much about the energy and the vibe.

R.D.: Where did you guys record it? Was it done in a studio? Someone’s basement or a garage?

Dominic Billett: We did it with Bill Moriarty, he has a studio in East Falls, PA which is right outside of Philly and we did it there with him. He worked with us on the record as the producer and engineer.

R.D.: How long did it take you guys to make it?

D.B.: It was probably about 15 sessions or 16 sessions or so but it was done in a span of almost a year.

R.D.: Were you guys balancing going on tour along with paying the fees and everything?

D.B.: Yea we were kind of balancing a few different things during the making of the record.

R.D.: Now both of you sing vocals on different songs which is kind of different than just having your typical band with just one singer. So what made you guys want to create that dynamic with your sound?

R.G.: It usually just comes to be that the person who wrote the song will sing it and for the record Dom wrote a song that we started to play where it actually made sense for him to sing it along with singing with me. It’s more about I guess the songwriting process, I think it would be weird for someone to sing someone else’s song necessarily.

R.D.: It’s really cool to see something different being brought to the table and you see a bunch of dimensions being shown all over the stage. You guys had a great year in 2013 and New Year’s Eve is tomorrow so how does 2014 look for Toy Soldiers?

R.G.: It starts off pretty low key, we’ve had a pretty crazy year along with a pretty crazy few years. We’ve kind of been relentless with just traveling and playing and working the grind.

R.D.: Are you planning on taking a break?

R.G.: Yea, if tonight and New Year’s Eve are any indicator of how 2014 is going to go then that’s exciting. We definitely need some time to regroup, write songs again and reinvent ourselves as a band. We all just got in such a mindset of being on the road that we all kind of started to lose it a little bit. With being back home we can be a little more grounded, we can think about things, just get back to the basics a little bit and then hopefully come back in the Spring or Summer and get back at it.

R.D.: Are you going to have an album out next year or just go back to the studio?

R.G.: Hopefully yes, that’s the plan.

It was a treat to talk to Ron and Dominic, I still find it crazy that I found out about Toy Soldiers when they put their first album Whisper Down The Lane back in 2008 and now they’re one of the hottest acts on the East Coast. Go see them tonight with The Silks and Wanda Jackson at The Columbus Theatre, it's $25 at the door and the show starts at 7:30. It’ll be the best way to get an early start on the New Year’s Eve festivities.

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Here is music critic Rob Duguay's review of the show:

This past Saturday at the upstairs stage of The Columbus Theatre on Broadway in the heart of the West End of Providence, a magnificent display of music took place to benefit The Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence. Deer Tick's John McCauley & Ian O'Neil, Vanessa Carlton, Smoota and Caroline Hecht were on a star-studded bill for an experience that was guaranteed to be a memorable one. It's always great when talented people come together for a worthy cause, and in this day and age this was needed more than ever. Read More

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1. Newport Festivals

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