The Historic began as one introspective musician’s escape. After years of playing in various music groups (from jazz to Nashville-friendly rock), Phil Rohrer began to deconstruct music’s appeal and importance to him. He winnowed it down to story and community, and whether by chance or divine providence, he soon crossed paths with other like-minded musicians, solidifying the new musical endeavor as a band. The group found common ground in the indie folk rock genre, and began to play out regularly while also meeting once a week outside of practice to discuss life, community and religion.
The band quickly went from playing small coffee shops in the Lancaster and Philadelphia area to opening at slightly larger venues for the likes of Jennifer Knapp, Derek Webb, Lovedrug and Denison Witmer. Their sound subsequently changed and became a became a bit fuller, culminating in the 2010 release of the band’s second studio album, “The City of Promise” (an album that delves into historic figures’ quests for meaning in life).
The Historic’s influences range from Dylan to Cash to Springsteen, all of whom were great storytellers who valued simple, precise song structure. And as the band’s name suggests, they enjoy referencing historic events and figures within the stories they tell. They strive to enable listeners to escape, but not to somewhere fictional. Rather, the band’s stories take listeners to places that are grounded in reality, places that can change a listener’s worldview if given the opportunity. In a recent review, record producer Jack Douglas (who has worked with bands like The Who, Miles Davis, etc.) confirmed that the group was achieving their objectives when he commented on the band's "great story telling".
Phil Rohrer - Guitar, Lead Vocals
Josh Loose - Drums
Charles Maxwell - Bass
Tim Spiegel - Guitar, BG vox
2010 EP - "The City of Promise"
2009 EP - "Addressing a Mighty Wind"
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The Historic may be as apt a band name as you’re likely to find. Frontman Phil Rohrer’s uses as song...The Historic may be as apt a band name as you’re likely to find. Frontman Phil Rohrer’s uses as songwriting fodder all things antiquated and dusty. His subjects – from St. Paul’s cathedral to the 1933 Dymaxion car to Ponce de León’s search for the fountain of youth – read like the college textbook you never cracked.
“As a band that values storytelling, especially storytelling that’s been inspired by actual, historic events, ‘The Historic’ seemed like a fitting name,” Rohrer says. “Our name is a constant reminder of the fleeting nature of time and opportunities. It’s kind of like a call to action while there’s still time to act.”
The Lancaster-based band’s music extends the motif; yellowed and creaky, it sounds like it should be wearing its own dust jacket. The band takes cues from Cash’s and Dylan’s quieter moments, offering up ominous country shuffles that manage to say more by doing a whole lot less.
“Simple songs are deceptively difficult to write, and we respect and look up to artists who are able to do it effectively,” Rohrer says. “That particular skill is vital to bands that like to tell a story or communicate something lyrically.” The Historic balances those sensibilities with a forward-thinking indie rock wink, landing on similar ground with Wilco and Bright Eyes.
The Historic began in 2008 as a solo project for Rohrer, a veteran of area rock bands with a background in improvisational music, who was doing some musical soul-searching. After a few solo gigs with his newfound indie folk sound, Rohrer was joined by guitarist Tim Spiegel. The two soon recruited drummer Josh Loos, and bassist Ryan Bracken joined the fold after witnessing an early show.
“It’s difficult to put together a band full of likeminded musicians who value artistic integrity and believe something important can be expressed through music,” Rohrer says. “We have that. It’s an incredible blessing and an opportunity that might only present itself once or twice in a lifetime.”
In July, The Historic issued its debut album, Addressing a Mighty Wind, on which Rohrer wrestles with themes of mortality and the acceptance of powerlessness at the hands of God as he appears in nature. A fascination with the supernatural is a driving force for the band, which seems to brim with a sense of destiny that extends well beyond album sales.
“We definitely feel like we have a sense of purpose with this band,” Rohrer affirms. “I guess most of the opportunities we look for are opportunities to love, serve or move people. Our shared religious background has ingrained those worthy ambitions in all of us from a young age.
“It’s difficult to say exactly what our purpose as a band is, but it seems like if we are determined to be purposeful, opportunities will eventually present themselves.”
Music Up Close - The Historic
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This four-piece is more rocking than a lot of rootsy-folkie bands though they do incorporate some fo...This four-piece is more rocking than a lot of rootsy-folkie bands though they do incorporate some folk traditions in vocal backup by Tim Spiegel who also plays guitar. Lead vocals are done by guitarist Phil Rohrer who delivers a mixed vocal sound of pop/rock to one that is very road-lived and roots-driven. The instrumental support of Ryan Bracken on bass and Josh Loose on drums is solid, underlining the thoughtful songs about living that influence spirit and community. Guys, I was really moved and impressed by “Dymaxion.” It’s a really great update to a traditional sound. Very nice. The Historic has one EP, Addressing a Mighty Wind, that came out last year. You’ve got to listen to their stuff. Sometimes it’s very organic and at other times it’s edgy and punk.
The band's sets normally run 30 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the venue's requirements and is made up of primarily original songs. However, longer sets are possible if desired. A typical set list is as follows:
1. The Fool
2. The Quiet Man
3. The Year
5. The City of Promise
7. All Fall Down
8. A Life Worth Losing
9. The Ballad of Max Hoffman
There are no upcoming dates at this time.