We’re a soul band, but a soul band who grew up on punk and hardcore. We sing about everyday stuff - working, the ladies, growing up, dying … but we tell the stories with the language of basement, VFW Halls, dirty clubs, tour vans, and a youth spent listening to The Clash.
-Brian Fallon, lead singer of The Gaslight Anthem
I have never quite been able to pinpoint what it was I adored about The Gaslight Anthem. I knew I loved this band - I have known that for a while. I knew there was something about their music that shook me to my very core. I knew they were special, because I was willing to call them one of my favorite bands; a title which I had given only one other band before in my entire life. I knew these guys were brilliant and I knew I loved their music. I was just never quite able to explain why.
So when I ran across that quote from Brian - I discovered it just a few days ago, in fact -, it was both a huge relief and an intense case of irony. How strange, that while I had spent countless moments trying to put into words why I loved this band, always unsuccessfully, a quote from one of the members of the band itself was able to sum up exactly what I had always felt, but never been able to articulate.
The Gaslight Anthem have heart. They've got guts. And when you're listening to their albums, you can hear the soul that Brian refers to in that quote. There is something shockingly relate-able in the stories The Gaslight Anthem tell in their songs - and you don't have to have grown up in the Jersey punk scene to feel that. There's something about the lyrics this band puts together, and the way they present that in their songs, that just reaches you in ways you can't understand. At least, that's the effect this band has on me.
As I'm typing this, I'm trying so hard to come up with original ways to reiterate what Brian said about the band before. But I can't. I literally cannot come up with a better way to describe The Gaslight Anthem then in the singer's own words. Everything Brian said about this band is true.
The Gaslight Anthem don't tell any spectacular tales of fabulous lives and unrealistic events. Their music wasn't written in plush studios in LA. Their songs were written on the streets of Jersey and in the hearts of the men who fell in love there. The Gaslight Anthem sing songs about real life - not the real life of a rock star, not the real life of a band that abandoned their roots for fame and fortune on world tours. Their lyrics haven't lost their soul with age. This band puts out singles and albums that anyone can relate to, because the stories they tell are ours. This band tells our stories of life and love, of where we've come and where we're going - and they wrap it up in a Springsteen-esque package that they deliver with a shot of whiskey and cigarettes.
This band is real, and they're honest, and they haven't forgotten who they are - rather, they're proud of it. And they've managed to reach their listeners with that truth and that pride in ways I can't even describe.
Listening to their records feels like coming home. Close your eyes, and you can hear Brian's voice tell you all about that place in your heart where you keep the most honest part of yourself alive.
For Your First Time Listening, I Recommend The Album: The '59 Sound. At only a few years old, this record already sounds and feels like a classic. All of The Gaslight Anthem's records are amazing, though, and it's honestly hard to recommend just one. All are equal in their story and their heart.
Personal Favorite Tracks: Blue Jeans & White Tee Shirts, Great Expectations, Bring It On, Film Noir, I Coulda Been A Contender, Even Cowgirls Get The Blues. Just to name a few.