On his newly released album, Ronny, Toy Soldiers frontman Ron Gallo embarks on a solo career with all of the wit and spine of a proven troubadour. The eleven-song collection is focused and taught, existing as both a fine folk record and an advertisement for why iTunes should not allow song-by-song purchases. Ronny is an A-L-B-U-M in the truest sense of the word, comprised of songs meant to be listened to from start to finish in the sequence that it’s creator intended. It’s cohesive and unified, grounded in solemn balladry and augmented by sharp-tongued, satirical verse. Gallo’s vocals and the acoustic guitar that accompanies most songs act as one, bound together in a union so unbreakable that your memory can’t separate the two. Yet for all of the lush, ornate musical flourishes on songs like “Fine Diners and Finer Whiners,” and “If You Gotta Know,” Gallo’s finest instrument is his voice. While most sing over the music, Gallo sings with it, letting roaming, lilting vocals guide the listener through stories as colorful as the songwriter himself. It is this same distinctive delivery that provides the record its gleeful punch and its somber urgency, striking a balance that makes Ronny memorable from start to finish.
Ronny is the first release on Gallo’s new imprint, American Diamond Recordings. Founded in 2013 and based in Philadelphia, the label is named after the intersection of American and Diamond Streets in the Kensington neighborhood where it is located. Previously, Gallo has referred to the label as a collective, a fitting description when one considers who now calls the label home. In addition to Gallo and Toy Soldiers, Philly favorites the Levee Drivers, the Lawsuits and TJ Kong and the Atomic Bomb are all American Diamond artists. And though the label runners have already voiced their intention to pull back the curtain and reveal “one of the best unknown music scenes in the country,” American Diamond’s high caliber roster of musicians and steady debut release has already confirmed that Philadelphia’s music scene won’t stay unknown for long.
Article By: Caitlin Phillips