Tune in each week as The Temple News profiles a new
Philly band with an upcoming show in the city.
Ron Gallo’s Toy Soldiers began as a joke duo, also featuring Gallo’s good friend and drummer Mike Baurer. Since then, the group has gone through a number of transitions: from a joke duo to a serious one, to the addition of a bassist, to the addition of a whole lot more members and instruments.
Toy Soldiers is now eight members strong, sometimes with even more musicians beefing up their sound.
“When we went into the Fire studio to record the album is when I had a bunch of our brilliant friends come in and, completely freely, lay down some tracks,” Gallo said. “And I guess they just never left.”
As a result of so many individual musicians bringing their own musical backgrounds to the table, the Soldiers’ style is a rootsy blend of blues, soul and rock that is often hard to classify. The band’s instrumentation includes everything from electric guitar to piano to saxophone to banjo.
“The formula is cool because the song itself I may have based on one artist and then all of the layers may be influenced by something completely different,” Gallo said, “and so the outcome is just a wild blend of a million different things.”
The band released their debut album Whisper Down the Lane last fall, and since then, they’ve been touring to support the new music. This month they’ve been tearing up the East Coast, playing shows in music towns like Nashville, Memphis and New Orleans. The tour will wrap up this Friday, bringing them back home to Philadelphia at Johnny Brenda’s.
Gallo says the band has big plans for the next year, as they will likely take part in the nationally renowned SXSW Festival in March, an extensive summer tour and will hopefully finish work on a new EP and full-length album later in the year.
“We’ve probably got enough material for 900 records,” Gallo joked.
It seems there is plenty of potential on the horizon for this up-and-coming and accomplished band.
Kevin Brosky can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.