Wilmington, North Carolina’s Onward, Soldiers is the product of fortunate coincidence. The group began when lead singer/songwriter and Pittsburgh native Sean Thomas Gerard relocated to Carolina’s coast, haphazardly landing his self-recorded demo in the hands of drummer, and co-founder of Winoca Records, Kevin Rhodes. From here, Kevin and Sean would team up with several local musicians to construct and record Onward’s first record, Ghost In This Town. Critically celebrated, Ghost In This Town is a compelling blend of unadulterated rock and haunting prose. The release of Ghost in This Town would find Onward, Soldiers with two new members; lead guitarist Lincoln Morris and bassist Jarett Dorman. With a cemented line-up, Onward, Soldiers began pushing their record, captivating audiences up and down the east coast. Growing interest presented the band with many opportunities. They landed showcases in New York City’s CMJ music festival, Bele Chere Music Festival in Ashville, and Raleigh’s Hopscotch Music Festival. Ghost in This Town’s title track ‘Stick to Your Guns’ was featured in an episode of One Tree Hill as well as an on-set performance by Gerard. One Tree Hill actress Sophia Bush named Onward, Soldiers as one of her favorite bands and featured their first single ‘Let the Time Roll By’ on Gasoline Rainbows, a compilation CD to aid in the efforts to clean up the Gulf’s oil spill. The band was also featured on Nashville’s Music City roots and can be seen in February, 2012 on PBS’s Sun Sessions, filmed at Sun Studios in Memphis, Tennessee. Onward, Soldiers are now set to release their second album, Monsters, to fans anticipating the vitality and emotional range in their fresh, yet rooted sound. Monsters is a more refined version of the same raw yet melodic spirit, and delivers the unexpected twists and turns of cleverly-crafted musicianship played with devilish style and endearing lyricism. In the first track ‘Telling Nobody’ you can hear right off the bat how the band has grown, thinking past the parameters of the 4-piece-rock-band sound that they had on the previous record. “Our writing and arranging process seemed to come easier and more natural on this record,” explains Gerard. “I think we really changed our sound with the inclusion of the piano. Half of the record was written on the piano, the other half on acoustic guitar; whereas the last record was written entirely on the acoustic. This helped to open up the songs, sonically, and give room to the drums and bass.” You can hear the application of this space in the title track ‘Monsters’; a lyrically abstract tune that retains the band’s rock elements in a different light. “This song is definitely a sign of future music to come from Onward, Soldiers. Conceptually, it doesn’t really sum up the album, but I think musically, it shows real growth from the last album, which is why it is the title track. I wanted our fans to see how much we’ve grown in just a year.” The songs on Monsters embellish upon Onward, Soldier’s rock and roll/Americana sound with mind-altering arrangements and all the musical passion and restraint of love, lust, reflection and recklessness. From the wild urgency of the album’s title track, ‘Monsters’, to the slow and saturated beauty of ‘Leap Year;’ the unequivocal catchiness of ‘Cry’ and the brooding and curious momentum of ‘Nighttime Sky,’ Onward, Soldier’s Monsters is a truly riveting record born from the innate musicality of each of its members.
Sean Thomas Gerard – vocals, guitars, piano and keyboards, harmonica Lincoln Morris – 6 and 12 string guitars, bass Kevin Rhodes – drums, percussion, piano and organ, vocals Jarett Dorman – bass, drums
“Ghosts in This Town” Onwards, Soldiers 2010 “Let The Time Roll By” Single for Radio 2010 “Stick To Your Guns” Single for Radio and Television 2010 “Gasoline Rainbows” (Vagrant Records compilation 2010)