The End of America
Returns to Steel City
By Rob Nagy
Critically acclaimed Indie folk rockers “The End of America” is one of the latest bands to emerge from the burgeoning creative renaissance that is putting the thriving Philly music scene back on the map. More than a decade since their inception, the trio, featuring Brendon Thomas, James Thomas and Trevor Leonard continue the climb toward what appears to be a promising career.
Inspired by the classic songwriting and vocal harmonies that defined the ‘70s, the bands three- part harmonies serve as the foundation for The End of America’s distinctive songwriting and live performance.
“It’s pretty hard to argue that the ‘70s wasn’t the greatest rock sound,” says Thomas, from his home in Philadelphia. “It’s amazing there was so much happening in that time. We all read the Neil Young biography “Shaky” around the time the band was starting and fell in love with his attitude and creative approach; just get in there and make music; don’t over think it. It doesn’t have to be over produced.”
“We all grew up with classic rock and singer songwriters - Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Crosby, Stills & Nash, The Beatles, Pink Floyd,” reflects Thomas. “As we continue touring and progressing as artists, we look back to the music we grew up listening to that our parents introduced us to. With this project, The End of America, we especially have pursued getting back into that sound and reinventing it, that ‘70s rock sound.”
As a follow-up to their debut full length self-titled album in 2016, The End of America is getting geared up to release their follow-up, an EP due for a fall 2017 release.
“We released our first full-length record last September, which is the one we’ve been promoting,” says Thomas. “We had two releases prior to this that put us on the map so to speak. It’s our biggest statement yet as a band. The response has been really great so far. We are definitely building on this, turning a few more heads, getting a few more show offers, doing more festivals.”
“We’re recording some new songs now hoping that we can release a new EP by September or October,” adds Thomas. “We always try to make time when we’re on the road to write and record. We’ll take the slower days on a tour to do this. It’s good to get out of your day to day zone to freshen things up.”
Meeting in 2005 while on tour with their respective bands, the trio immediately found creative magic after experimenting with three part vocal harmony.
“Our thing is the harmonies,” says Thomas. “That’s kind of what we felt was the spark. When we started singing together it was just so effortless and very organic. We want people to be able to be moved by this, hopefully, and to appreciate what we’re saying in terms of what we’re relating from to our music.”
“We started singing harmonies on each other’s songs when we used to tour together in separate projects. We were all lead singers of other bands and met on the road,” adds Thomas. “By the end of a tour you know the other band’s songs so we would just hop up there and sing harmonies and thought it would be fun to pursue this Crosby, Stills & Nash three part harmony project for fun. It especially took precedent when the other projects fell to the wayside.”
Performing at SXSW, Savannah Stopover, Baltimore Folk Fest and the 2016 Philly Folk Fest, where they were named Best New Act of the fest, The End of America continues to navigate the landscape of a working band.
“It’s a slow train,” says Thomas. “We’ve been doing this whole thing ourselves. We don’t have management. We don’t have help in the way of booking. We pretty much run the show ourselves and try to stay on top of everything. It’s starting to get to the point where we need to build our team and take on management and get help from other people who can help guide this ship as it continues to gain speed.”
“It’s hard to juggle the creative aspect and stay on top of everything,” adds Thomas. “The social media aspect is a lot, trying to keep everybody engaged on a day to day basis, trying to keep that creative body and also have personal lives and side jobs we still need in order to make this all work. It can be problematic sometimes. Luckily, we have the power of three so we all try to delegate portions of where our workload is as a band and try not to make it overwhelming.
“We appreciate the rate of growth that we’re at,” says Thomas. “We’re building a fan base that is hopefully going to stick with us. It’s going at a pace that’s very grass roots and we’re really able to connect with everyone we meet along the way both on the side of fans and the music industry.”
Determined to expand their creative presence beyond the northeast, the trio remains committed to the band and their fans.
“We want people to feel good and to be moved by our music, says Thomas. “At the core, it’s James, Trevor and myself. They’re my best friends; they’re my brothers. We’re lifers. We’re in it together now, it’s just like a family.”
The End of America with special guest Ethan Pierce performs at Steel City Coffee house, 203 Bridge Street Phoenixville, PA 19460, Friday June 30, 2017 at 8:00 P.M. For tickets call 484-924-8425 or visit www.steelcitycoffeehouse.com
To stay up to date with The End of America visit www.theendofamerica.com