Toy Soldiers: “Tell the Teller”

Photo by Michelle Lawlor

Good rock ‘n’ roll is deceptively simple, but it touches something deeply primal in the human soul. It’s a big backbeat with some guitars wrapped around it and a singer that can muster all the agony and ecstasy of the music’s roots in blues and country. Rock ‘n’ roll has the power to get the body moving and the blood pumping, and it’s alive and well thanks to a Philly five-some called Toy Soldiers.

Toy Soldiers has played hundreds of shows up and down the East Coast and all over the country (including Austin for SXSW–you can check out a recent mini tour-documentary they made), and shared bills with artists like Fitz and the Tantrums, The Felice Brothers, Justin Townes Earle, and fellow Pennsylvanians Dr. Dog. The hard work’s payed off, and the band’s earned a more than a few plaudits in their home town, and made USA Today‘s list of bands to watch for 2013. Frontman and lead guitarist Ron Gallo started the band back in 2007. The lineup’s seen a few shifts, and today it’s Gallo, guitarist Matt Kelly, bassist Bill McCloskey, drummer Dominic Billett, and Luke Leidy on keys. On September 10, Toy Soldiers releases the band’s second full-length The Maybe Boys.

The 12-track record feels like it came from the land of laissez les bons temps rouler more than the City of Brotherly Love. It’s big, brassy, plenty fun. The grit and grease of southern soul, bar-band blues, country, and rock ‘n’ roll seeps out of every pore like sweat on a summer day. The Maybe Boys begins with quite a bang with the rip-roarin’ lead track “Tell the Teller.” It’s electric, and if it doesn’t get your foot-stomping and your body movin’, you might want to check your pulse.


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