When Rose’s Pawn Shop formed in 2005, the original plan was to mix the twang of bluegrass music with the fury of rock and punk. Nearly a decade later, the L.A. folksters haven’t left the three-way intersection between those genres, happy to remain in a place where everything — from fiddle solos and banjo arpeggios to the sort of chest-beating, beer-spilling gang vocals that could’ve come from a Gaslight Anthem album — is fair game.
Maybe that’s why the guys turned to Gaslight Anthem producer Ted Hutt for their newest release, Gravity Well. Funded by the band’s own fans and released on September 9th, Gravity Well is a blast of 21st century pickin’-party music, driven forward by five Californians who can howl, harmonize and finger-pick with all the confidence of their Nashville peers. The record explores darker territory, too, diving into a sound that doesn’t conjure up a pickin’ party as much as the post-midnight hour where that party finally comes to a close, with bleary-eyed attendees nursing the early stages of hangovers and regretting the decisions they made earlier in the evening.
Those two sides — let’s call them the yin and yang of Gravity Well — are given equal airtime in the video for the band’s newest single, “What Were You Waiting For.” Starring Friday Night Lights alumna Dora Madison Burge, the clip traces the highs and lows of a rocky relationship, with Burge portraying one half of a volatile couple whose members are stuck in a cycle of getting angry, getting tearful and getting it on. Nobody from Rose’s Pawn Shop makes an appearance, but the bandmates say they like it that way.
“It would’ve been weird to have five dudes hanging out while this couple was going through some intense stages of their relationship,” admits frontman Paul Givant, who began writing the song during a spontaneous jam session in the back of the band’s bus.
“The song is based on some experiences I’ve had with my own relationships,” he adds. “You love the person — there’s so much you love about them — but you also know there’s so much that’s wrong about the relationship. It just can’t be sustained, but for whatever reason, it takes more energy than you can muster to leave the relationship.”
Thanks to “What You Were Waiting For,” Rose’s Pawn Shop were among the Top 5 most-added bands at Americana radio last week. Meanwhile, the guys are in the middle of a Fall tour that includes appearances at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in San Francisco and the Harvest Fest in Ozark, Arkansas.