Peasant Moon
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Peasant Moon

Chicago, IL | Established. Jan 01, 2013 | SELF

Chicago, IL | SELF
Established on Jan, 2013
Duo Americana Folk




"New Music Premiere: Peasant Moon - Songs from Austin EP"

On August 1st, Sydney based alt-country duo Peasant Moon release a new mini-EP from their recording session in Austin earlier this year. The pair travelled to Texas in May and recorded at the Congress House Studio (you can read about their North American travels here). Of the EP, Crossfire particularly stands out for us with its push and pull feel, minimal yet detailed instrumentation and some beautiful vocal interplay between Harvey Russell and Josie Rothwell.

“For this session we were backing up after a gig at Hole in the Wall with The Division Men, so were heavily reliant on the studio coffee to get us through. We planned on recording Leaving Tonight and Crossfire, but at the end of the session realised we had just enough time to run through Forgive Me too.” said Harvey.

“It’s a fun little collection of songs, ” Josie explained. “Leaving Tonight is a break up song with a nod to Harvey’s South Australian roots, Forgive Me is our apocalypse song (Harvey is a Walking Dead tragic), and we first recorded Crossfire with the Harvey Swagger Band – the Peasant Moon version is stripped right back, with more harmonies and mandolin.”

To celebrate the EP release, Peasant Moon are playing a special show at the Gasoline Pony on 3 August with The Forresters and Fallon Crush.

Songs from Austin will be available as a free digital download from the Peasant Moon website from 1 August 2016 or you can download it now here. Limited edition postcards featuring photos from Peasant Moon’s time in Austin will be available at their gigs. - Post to Wire

"Peasant Moon: Fading in the Light EP"

There is something stereotypical about a duet. Everyone assumes it has to involve a guy and a girl professing endless phrases of love to each other. This assumption comes from famous duets such as “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” and “I Got You, Babe.” Because songs like these involved happy romantic relationships, every other duet should do the same, right?


This past year, a new EP called “Fading in the Light” was released by Peasant Moon, the Sydney-based duo of Harvey Russell and Josie Rothwell. The two came together in 2013 and mainly perform acoustic songs in the folk, country, and Americana genres. Using a mix of guitar, violin, piano, and other instruments, the sound these two have is so beautiful and harmonious. Russell’s smooth, husky vocals work remarkably well with Rothwell’s sweet, melodious tones. You can feel a strange chemistry between their voices, but what makes their music so incredible is how their songs’ subject matters twist people’s assumptions concerning duets.

The EP includes five songs. All of them deal with the subject of relationships, but they are much different than the traditional duet. My personal favorites are “Fading in the Light,” “Homecoming,” and “Lift the Curtains.” “Fading in the Light” is about a loss of understanding between the narrator and another. Listeners hear both similes and metaphors such as, “I could be your blue bird/But I’m not going to fly” and “I’m like the shoes you bought/But you never wear.” It seems the two could be together, but there is something preventing perfect harmony. The narrator refuses to explain why because he claims she is “fading in the light.” I love this song because it can work for all relationships, not just the romantic ones. The truth revealed within this song is that relationships may sometimes drift apart if they’re not strong enough. You either have to make it work or go on your own path.

“Homecoming” has a steadier rhythm, with its catchy and consistent background guitar and percussion. One interesting thing about this song is when the narrator asks questions such as “When is my homecoming?” and “When is my day going to come?” Throughout the song, he continues to ask questions that seem like they will remain unanswered. Towards the end, however, listeners hear Josie sing “I am the one/Who will come back for you/I will not run/I had no time to choose.” She seems to be answering the narrator’s questions simultaneously, which means that not every question will be answered, but he has an answer. I find this really cool because it maintains the narrator’s pursuit of questions and avoids a completely happy ending, still changing the duet stereotype.

Finally, “Lift the Curtains” is the closest to a traditional duet and it is my favorite track on the EP. At the same time, it has the most significant shift from the stereotype. The song opens with a guy and girl meeting and they appear to fall in love at first sight. Russell sings “I see you there with those big doe-eyes” and Rothwell sings “I see you in that old denim shirt.” The lyrics are quite poetic, though they seem to add onto the duet cliché. This changes when they get together one night and both wonder if the other person will still be there in the morning. This is an amazing turnabout that really deepens the meaning behind the song and duets altogether, especially when looking at the entire EP.

In the past, duets were happy and romantic, but as relationships change, so does the duet. These days, the duet needs to be darker and ask questions because happy endings for couples are scarce. Divorce rates are rising and people break up all the time. There is no way to confirm that lovers will never fall apart. This EP shows us that everyone must strengthen their resolve and show active commitment in their relationships. It’s a powerful truth everyone needs to hear, so go ahead and check out Peasant Moon and “Fading in the Light.” Don’t let this opportunity disappear. - Creative Control Magazine

"Aussies at CMW: Spotlight on 2016 Showcase Artists, Peasant Moon!"

With Canadian Music Week now underway in Toronto, we’re keeping a keen eye on what musical discoveries are set to be uncovered over the next few days and nights of showcases. Continuing our spotlight series on the Australians flying the flag out at CMW, we meet Sydney’s Peasant Moon.

Introduce yourself!

We are Peasant Moon, an alt-country/folk duo from Sydney. Harvey plays acoustic guitar and sings, Josie sings and plays melodica, mandolin, glockenspiel, and hand-held percussion.

Have you played CMW before? If you have not, what are you expecting from the festival? What have you heard from others?

This is our first time at CMW and our first time playing overseas! We hear it’s a busy week, but a great opportunity to get a feel for the Canadian music scene and meet other artists. The conference is also an opportunity to hear from folk in the music industry; we’ll be learning heaps.

What are you hoping will come out of this year’s event for you?

We’re happy to have some exposure in Canada, for our music to be heard over there. We’d be stoked to meet some people who could help us with future tour or festival opportunities over in North America.

Why should CMW attendees come and see you?

Come to see diverse song arrangements with a range of instruments and harmonies, come to be drawn into the emotion and intimacy. Oh, and come for a bit of twang…

What is a track you think best represents where your band is right now, and what audiences can expect from your sound and your set?

Here’s “Fading in the Light”, the title track off our debut EP. We had the opportunity to play it live at the Midnight Sessions, run by local Sydney musos Lyn Taylor and Nick Payne in their home studio. It was great fun, although a couple of false starts meant we didn’t nail the first take! - The AU Review

"Six strings: Peasant Moon"

Sydney duo Peasant Moon (Harvey Russell & Josie Rothwell) have been crafting their music and playing live together over the last 18 months and now they have a debut EP Fading in the Light ready for release in late May. Theirs is an Alt. country sound interlaced with flashes of folk music; always high on melody and often painted in heartache and melancholy. You can catch them kick off their EP launch tour at the Petersham Bowling Club in Sydney this Sunday May 24th with support from Katie Brianna and Lisa Caruso. Post To Wire will also be there in a DJ capacity playing Americana tunes before and between acts. Both of them were kind enough to take the Six Strings Q&A and talk about the music that has shaped them. - Post to Wire

"Peasant Moon announce Fading in the light EP launch"

Fading In The Light with a show at the Petersham Bowling Club this May.

The show will take place on Sunday 24th May and will feature supports from local singer-songwriters Katie Brianna and Lisa Caruso. For more details check out the official Facebook invite here.

As a taster of Fading In The Light Peasant Moon have given us a listen to the title track – take a listen below: - Timber and Steel

"Under the weeping moon"

Summer is definetly upon us, and with Summer I like to think there is two sorts of music that sum up the atmosphere of the season.
There's the dreamscape trip hop beats that shimmer like the heatwaves on a hot tar road, and then there's the twilight acoustic folk that you might hear in the air as you settle in for a backyard picnic.

Peasant Moon is definetely one of those in the latter camp.
Made up of members Harvey Russell and Josie Rothwell, the music of Peasant Moon is a throwback to the simpler days of Americana folk rock. Not so much wallowing in self pity like the singers of delta blues, but more-so explaining why life is.

Since Josie came to a Harvey Swagger Band jam with Lynard Skynard's Tuesday's Gone (co-inidently a song about a taking a turn in life) clutched tightly in her hand, Harvey Russell decided to unravel the swag, and both asked the question of 'What would Ryan Adams do?'.

Ahead of their show with Mark Moldre and The Tall Grass, Josie and Harvey came past the 2SER studios to have a chat on The Band Next Door on 2SER, as well as perform 'Lift The Curtains' live in the studio.

You can keep up to date with Peasant Moon on their Facebook and Soundcloud - 2Ser Read Radio, Sydney

"Peasant Moon Announce July Residency at Menagerie in Sydney"

Just around the corner from where a lot of Timber and Steel is concieved and written in Sydney, tucked away in the back streets of inner-west suburb Rozelle, is a lovely little pub called The Welcome Hotel. The Welcome is a popular pub with locals and every Sunday afternoon from 4pm it plays host to a lovely little gig called Menagerie.

While Menagerie is in spitting distance from Timber and Steel HQ and the fact they’ve hosted a lot of our favourite artists over the weeks, it was only recently that I checked it out for the first time – and I can tell you now that I’m definitely going back. It was such a lovely, intimate space for music and who doesn’t like an excuse to go to the pub on a Sunday afternoon?

This July Menagerie will be treated to a very special residency from brand new Sydney based folk duo Peasant Moon. The “lovechild” of Sydney singer songwriter Harvey Russell and long time collaborator Josie Rothwell, Peasant Moon only started playing publicly in November last year but have already produced some really nice folk and Americana influenced music.

The full list of dates for Peasant Moon’s Menagerie residency are below along with some live tracks from their debut show at The Newsagency last year:

Sunday 6th July – Menagerie at The Welcome Hotel, Sydney, NSW
Sunday 13th July – Menagerie at The Welcome Hotel, Sydney, NSW
Sunday 20th July – Menagerie at The Welcome Hotel, Sydney, NSW
Sunday 27th July – Menagerie at The Welcome Hotel, Sydney, NSW - Timber and Steel


2015 Fading in the Light EP

2016 Songs from Austin:  live at Congress House Studio EP



Peasant Moon is singer-songwriter Harvey Russell and long time collaborator Josie Rothwell. They play intimate, acoustic alt-country, writing songs about darkness and disappointment - from obsession to rejection, love lost, gambling and the apocalypse.  Since their formation in 2013 the pair have established themselves on the vibrant Sydney Americana scene, regularly perform at across the city and touring to Melbourne, country Victoria, Newcastle and Adelaide.  They have also developed a solid international presence, playing showcases at Canadian Music Week and recording in Austin, Texas in 2016.  To kick off 2017, Peasant Moon played Tamworth Country Music Festival, culminating with an Americana in the Park showcase.  

In February 2017, the duo released Back in Time. the first single off their third EP, recorded at Love Hz Studio with well-respected producer/engineer Michael Carpenter (The April Family, Michael Carpenter & the Cuban Heels), due for release later in 2017. 

While most recently based in Sydney Australia, there’s always been a cross-border flavour to Peasant Moon courtesy of Josie’s West Coast USA origins and Harvey’s upbringing in the South Australian city of Adelaide.  From April 2017, the pair are splitting their time between Chicago (Josie) and Sydney (Harvey).

“This is a new era for Peasant Moon, the distance is helping us sharpen our focus, to make the most of this time we are going to be exploring opportunities in North America as well as back home in Australia”

Drawing on inspiration from acts like the Civil Wars, Mandolin Orange, and Ryan Adams, Peasant Moon offer the listener the opportunity to be drawn into their world – one where Harvey’s acoustic guitar and vocals reminiscent of Jay Farrar (Son Volt) fit perfectly with Josie’s sweet, delicate harmonies and her various percussion, mandolin and melodica playing.

The key to Peasant Moon’s sound is their sense of restraint and ability to build gentle drama in their songs. Whether as a duo on-stage or expanded into a full band in the studio, they maintain a sense of tenderness which can transform easily into tension, with sadness and melancholy lurking beneath the surface.

“It’s really rewarding to bring your songs to life in front of an appreciative audience and hopefully allow them to develop a connection with the material. I think playing live is important because it allows the songs to find their own voice, it gives them room to develop in a way that you can’t replicate at home or even in the studio.”

The rich, heart-filled and sometimes dark songs on their debut EP Fading in the Light speak of lonely nights, unanswered questions and quiet resolve. The title-track is a bittersweet tale of souls on separate paths, underpinned by aching pedal steel and handclaps. Homecoming carves out an urgent Wilco-esque rhythm juxtaposed with Josie’s delicate glockenspiel and their fragile vocal interplay. Elsewhere, Lift the Curtains, a deliberate duet, hangs on sparse drums and beautiful strings.  The devastating final chorus sums up the hopes and fears that all relationships experience. 

The EP is an expansion of the live sound we can achieve as a duo. We added additional vocal & guitar parts as well as drums, pedal steel, fiddle and keys on some tracks. We hadn’t spent much time (any actually!) playing the songs with the other musicians before the actual recording took place so in some ways the recording surprised us as it took shape before our eyes. In saying that, we knew what we were trying to achieve and I think the recording does what we set out to do. It expands on our live sound just enough without taking away from our core presence as a duo.”

Peasant Moon’s songs have had airplay on Sydney’s FBI and 2ser stations and nationally on The Inside Sleeve (Radio National) and Roots ’n’ All (Triple J).  Peasant Moon’s debut EP Fading in the Light was a finalist in the inaugural Australian Roots Music Awards for best EP. 

Band Members