Orchard Drive
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Orchard Drive

Band Rock Alternative


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"Roberts Wesleyan College Beacon"

Orchard Drive's performance was galactic...and a musical revolution. [11/15/06] - Katelyn Scott

"The Insider"

(July 23, 2007)

Nate Cronk, 23, of Rochester never meant for the song "One Year" to define his band, Orchard Drive.

But in the summer of 2006, while writing the lyrics, "This is the end of the beginning," Cronk unwittingly foreshadowed the pop-rock quartet's future.

Just a few months later, in November, the four — singer/guitarist Cronk, keyboardist Tim Lambert, 23, of Rochester; bassist Eliot Giebel, 26, of Gates; and drummer Pete Gallagher, 23, of Rochester — became three, when Lambert unexpectedly quit the band and took a job in Virginia.

"It's like someone took a crowbar to the knees of the metaphorical band," says Cronk, who shared song-writing duties with Lambert.

The two met as music majors at Roberts Wesleyan College in Chili and recruited Giebel and Gallagher, also students at Roberts Wesleyan, to round out Orchard Drive in 2005.

The band takes its name from two intersecting streets on the Roberts Wesleyan campus: Orchard Street and Westside Drive.

"It kind of signifies where we started and where we're from," Cronk says.

In early 2006, Orchard Drive recorded the EP One Year in hopes of making the band a full-time entity.

But Lambert's departure shut things down. Orchard Drive went on hiatus, and Cronk and Gallagher began playing in other bands.

"Nate and Tim were the authors of the band and first envisioned it," Gallagher says. "With Tim leaving there was a vacuum of material."

That vacuum kept the remaining members apart for six months. But in May 2007, Cronk, Gallagher and Giebel decided to regroup.

"Eventually, we realized how much we missed that chemistry and how much we enjoyed playing together," Cronk says. "We weren't ready to give up on our baby just yet."

Reunited as a three-piece, Orchard Drive has a new sound that's less piano rock-oriented and more guitar-driven. You can hear it on Saturday, Aug. 4, when the band plays The Penny Arcade.

"We're just learning how to walk again," Cronk says. "We're playing small shows in hopes of building on the fan base that was there and developing a new one as well."

The members of Orchard Drive say they also plan to do a small college tour this fall and eventually record a full-length CD.

As for the future, the closing lyrics to "One Year" suggest a positive outlook: It's not the end. It's the beginning, the beginning, the beginning. - Troy L. Smith

"Independent Clauses"


Do you remember when rock bands could mine a major key, hit and hold a crisp vocal note with panache and wax epic without reiterating every preceding reincarnation of the genre? If you lament that those days are forever behind us, put away your doubts; Orchard Drive, a product of Upstate New York’s rust-and-snow-belt, is rocking the doubt out of people’s ears. Their first release, a polished, neatly packaged three-song EP entitled One Year may be the first step towards restoring arena-rock a-la U2 to the radio waves. For a band that formed in 2005, lost their keyboardist to life commitments, and spent a year reforming their sound around a spare, three-member core, One Year symbolizes more than just three songs pressed on plastic; it represents both their love for rocking as well as their dedication to presenting a hopeful message.

Orchard Drive claims numerous influences, but I would grant that they sound most like a mix between U2, Coldplay, and early Switchfoot. The first track on One Year is pure piano-pop meets epic rock. Nate Cronk’s vocals sound, at times, like a mix between fellow Rochesterarian Mike Zale and Switchfoot’s Jon Foreman. I readily picked up these nuances, as One Year’s production is pleasingly more professional than one might expect from a band’s first release. Let me talk about hope for a moment. When you hear so many songs about depression, drugs, ruined relationships and a messed up world, it’s incredibly refreshing to hear a band like Orchard Drive. When one first hears Nate Cronk ask, in “Here’s To”, “So how do you feel inside?” one might expect an emotionally cathartic spilling of the lead singer’s guts… and that’s what you get. But rather than cynicism, Cronk belts out, “Here’s to tomorrow / I hope there’s another sun. / Here it is rising. / This has only just begun.” I’ve heard many bands sing of hope, and even do so musically. O.D. takes their message seriously, and although it’s tough to put it into words, you know when someone means what he or she is singing. Cronk’s positive words ring true, and that’s hard to come by in today’s music. The album’s closer, “One Year” begins with Cronk breathing “This is the end, this is the end of the beginning… let’s not pretend this is tomorrow, let’s not pretend it came like we fit,” consciously reflecting on the difficult bit of work living is. But rather than pout or rage about it, against the backdrop of doubt, “How can we sing in a fallen land?/How can we sing for them?”, O.D. keeps looking for the goodness in life’s struggle. They conclude that “It’s not the end, it’s a beginning!” That sentiment, in itself, is refreshing.

One cannot simply pigeonhole Orchard Drive as a posi-core niche-filler, though. Some of their lyrics search deeply for meaning in a dark and commercialized world. “Here’s To” gets you pondering, making statements like, “You can look through the glass and ask what’s wrong,” while the driving opener “Still Alive” inquires in a late-song breakdown, “How long will you wait to give in? / Love means giving up everything.” O.D. isn’t all surface, and the depth they bring to their lyrics reflects a serious commitment to a thought-provoking message.

I found Orchard Drive’s mix of hope and reflection on tough experiences and downers is worth hearing. Paired with solid musicianship, an innate sense of catchy yet powerful rock and solid production, it’s hard to not believe Orchard Drive won’t stop at One Year. - Tim Avery


One Year EP (2006)



Whether in a small studio, outdoor festival or a packed nightclub, they are always making energetic, melodic rock with a purpose. This is the music of Orchard Drive, originating in Rochester, New York. The members have always remembered having a love for music, though it took a while for them to find a project that they fully believed in. In 2006, Nate Cronk (lead vocals/guitar), Eliot Giebel (bass guitar) and Pete Gallagher (drums) formed and began creating original, thoughtful songs. The band went into the studio and released the One Year EP only a few months later. After beginning to gig that year, O.D. placed second in the Rochester Ugly Idol Battle of the Bands Competition, competing against 27 other established bands. Orchard Drive has supported acts such as Mae, Edison Glass, Bernard, Among the Thirsty and Shelflyfe. On August 11, 2008, their first single "Still Alive" was voted the Alternative Rock Song of the Week on GarageBand.com. Their fan base has ballooned and they continue to pick up steam. Now, after adding Kyle Sortore (guitar/vocals), the sonic energy is complete. Orchard Drive is better than ever and could not be more excited about what lies ahead.