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Doylestown, Pennsylvania, United States | INDIE

Doylestown, Pennsylvania, United States | INDIE
Band Rock Blues


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Peasant, "Take It Light" - Song"

On the surface, Peasant’s “Take it Light” appears to be a relatively simple, two-minute indie folk song reminiscent of classic M. Ward; it’s a familiar, easy going track that’s delightful to absorb on that first, relatively ephemeral listen but leaves little trace once it concludes. However, “Take it Light,” the second single from singer-songwriter Damien DeRose’s (the man behind Peasant) upcoming album Bound For Glory, only appreciates after multiple listens, when the small details on the fringes of the song suddenly come into stark focus: the sleepy guitar solos dusted subtly with country twang, the soft tamborine hits punctuating the central harmony’s breezy waltz, and DeRose’s soulful, androgynous croon that sounds comforting even when its being dismissive. By using the building blocks of classic folk to create a song that’s both timeless and casually beautiful, Damien DeRose proves he’s a troubadour worth listening to.

Bound for Glory is out April 17th on Schnitzel Records -


I got this cd in the mail this week from singer songwriter Damien DeRose, also known as Peasant. Damien makes hearfelt music about life and love. The Elliot Smith tip of the cap is inevitable in this space, but more attention should be paid to the gripping vocals of this truly “indie” musician. I have spun the disc a few times this week and have enjoyed it quite a bit. The album, “Fear not Distant Lover”, is available for download from his website, almost the whole thing, but this track stuck out to me as most enjoyable and recommended.

Damien DeRose- Icy Deep

Support indie artists like Damien and purchase the album here….. -

"Peasant’s Shady Retreat CD Release Party at World Café Live March 11"

On the Ground and the vinyl The End were both strong releases for Damien Nicholas DeRose, the Doylestown artist otherwise known as Peasant. His gentle, wispy tunes have conjured up plenty of comparisons to the late, great Elliott Smith. He’ll be celebrating the release of his latest album Shady Retreat on Paper Garden Records at World Café Live tonight before beginning his tour down south for SXSW. - Philadelphia: The Deli Magazine


Peasant (aka Damien DeRose) began a 5-night run of live shows in NYC last night at Cake Shop. I am mad at myself for not getting this up sooner, but at least he still has 4 NYC shows to go. I can blame the server upgrade for my slacking, and I can also thank Peasant for making the kind of music to help me calmly get through it. It's a good feeling to come across an artist you instantly like, sort of by accident. That happened to me with Peasant a few weeks ago when I randomly selected his CD "On The Ground" (out Feb 26 on Paper Garden Records) out of a growing pile of promos that I'm trying really hard to get through.

Elliott Smith was the first thing that came to mind - quiet, singer-songwriter. Peasant's bio helped me recognize the Simon and Garfunkel influence, and while we're comparing, might as well throw Neil Young's name into the mix.

Further research revealed that I am not the first New Yorker to become smitten, and that I should have been paying more attention during CMJ. Four more NYC shows, SXSW and other tour dates, below... - Brooklyn Vegan

"MP3 At 3PM: Peasant"

2009 was a big year for Peasant (a.k.a. Doylestown, Pa., native Damien DeRose). After signing with Paper Garden Records, he released his first studio album, which had songs featured on several TV shows, and performed at SXSW and the Montreal Pop Fest, sharing stages with the likes of Cursive, the Delta Spirit and Deer Tick. With today’s release of his second record, Shady Retreat, 2010 is sure to be just as busy. MAGNET is proud to premiere the gentle, DIY-sounding “Tough,” which you can download below. - Magnet Magazine

"Who Is... Peasant"

File Under: Woodsy, contemplative indie-folk, with the tiniest swirl of psychedelia
For Fans Of: Bon Iver, Elliott Smith, the Beach Boys, Adem, Fleet Foxes, Jose Gonzalez, Phosphorescent
Personae: Damien DeRose
From: Doylestown, Pennsylvania

In keeping with pioneering spirit of lo-fi devotees everywhere, Peasant — the alias of the singer and songwriter Damien DeRose — recorded the bulk of Shady Retreat, his third LP, in the dusty attic of a 200-year-old barn in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. It's an aesthetic choice as much as an ideological one; DeRose's folksongs are sweet and fragile, well suited to curling up with on an old sofa, and his voice is cracked and ancient-sounding. Much like Bon Iver's For Emma, Forever Ago, Shady Retreat feels inextricably linked to the physical circumstances of its creation.

eMusic's Amanda Petrusich talked to DeRose about how he got there.

On how sea lions thwarted his plans to escape to the sea:

I'd been in private school all my life, on track to go to a private college and become a lawyer or whatever. I got involved in some hooligan stuff my freshman year — we stole a golf cart in the middle in the night and drove it around — and the school treated it very seriously and I got kicked out. I started playing guitar — I was always into music, but then, it was my savior. I didn't know what I was doing with my life, and my friend and I decided to buy a sailboat in California and move out there. The boat itself — that's symbolic of some stuff. [Laughs.] We never got to sail the boat, because it had been overtaken by sea lions. Apparently, that was a problem in Monterey Bay, for awhile — if a boat was left for too long, the sea lions would come and claim it. They would sit on it and sink it, because they're so heavy. We realized it was going to take at least four months to fix this boat. My friend and I had a falling out, and we left and never went back. And I realized that music was what I should be putting all my energy into — that it was a positive way to move forward.

On playing folk music in rock clubs:

It's actually impossible, in some places, to get onstage and play my music. Some nights I try not to play any of the really quiet stuff, because I know no one will be able to hear it. Other nights, people are drunk as hell and they just want to party. Sometimes I get put into a venue like that, and I think, if I had a band, maybe I could get through to these people. Very, very rarely do I get angry, though, and I don't think it's a good thing to get angry — a lot of times, when you show up at a venue, you're interfering with someone's evening, with what they want to do. I think it's pretentious to get angry about it.

On bringing a backing band along for his upcoming tour:

I've never done it before. I want it to be a natural thing; I don't want to chase people around or have to post things on Craigslist. I just want it to happen. And it's been working that way, so far. We've started doing rehearsals in my studio/house/practice room, and it's going well, but it's not ready yet. I really like playing solo, and I think playing solo is kind of my act. The band will just be there for certain shows. There are so many reasons why being solo is nice for me. Traveling and playing with people is not very economical, and it can be stressful. I'm used to having not much other than myself to get by with.

On his guiltiest pleasures:

[Besides the Beatles], when I was a kid, I listened to really popular stuff, too — stuff I'm really embarrassed about. Like swing music? Remember when that phase came around? There was a school dance or two where I definitely had on a zoot suit. There may have been a little swing dancing, back in seventh grade.

On keeping up with new music:

I don't buy a lot of CDs; I don't have a lot of money. But I'll pick up CDs on the road, CDs by people I play with, really obscure bands I can't remember the names of. But there's so much stuff going on right now, there are so many great musicians out there. The last Bon Iver record — it's funny, I get compared to him a lot, but I hadn't heard his record until I finished this one. Then my dad bought it for me for Christmas, and I was like "Oh wow, this is awesome." I love that.

On finding the perfect imperfect sound:

I've been using my own crazy equipment for awhile, to make my own recordings. I always thought that there was something about lo-fi — about just not having a perfect, studio recording — that was really interesting to the ear. It can be really fulfilling, if you get it right. The recordings can breathe. I think my writing style really benefits from recording my songs at home, too — I write songs over a long period of time, and add to them and take away from them and do different versions of each track. My plan [for Shady Retreat] was just to do what I wanted to do — to realize something that I hadn't had the confidence to push for before. - eMusic

"Pick of the Day: Peasant"

Peasant is the work of Damien DeRose, a local musician from Doylestown, PA.

Although he’s been working on albums for the past two years, DeRose has finally gotten it all together with his most recent album. He has been featured on NPR, Spinner, Q TV, and an iTunes Indie Spotlight list! More recently, Nylon Magazine featured “Well Alright” in their music recommendations section.

“Damien DeRose is the helium voiced, Pennsylvania-reared folkie behind Peasant, whose compositions fall somewhere between those of the Shins and Elliot Smith. His is understated songwriting—an aural palate-cleanser for those growing disillusioned with the walls of sound that have been permeating so much of indie rock these days.”

"Peasant iLike Feature"

Peasant is Damien DeRose, 23-year-old poet turned artiste, from fabled and beautiful Bucks County, PA. The sleepy hometown and its surroundings, melded with trials and tribulations, to inspire Peasant's confessional and straightforward style of music. In and out of the bedroom studio throughout high school, DeRose helped form a small scene in Bucks County by doling out frisky live performances and DIY records. After high school, he traveled solo on several tours of the US and Europe before signing with Paper Garden Records in 2008 and releasing "On The Ground." From the whispered, homemade tracks of Fear Not Distant Lover (‘05), to the more polished On the Ground (’09), Peasant’s music has evolved from release to release while maintaining a sensibility and honesty. In 2009, "On The Ground" gained distribution through Team Love, as well as having several songs placed on network TV. In addition, Peasant's music video for “We’re Good” was featured on, MTVU, and Fuse.TV. Peasant had several tours throughout 2008 and 2009, playing shows as well as recording a series of sessions for Daytrotter, WOXY, and LaundroMatinee, eventually leading to opportunities to share the stage with such high-profile acts as Cursive, Delta Spirit, and Deer Tick among others. Peasant is going back to his roots for his upcoming album, “Shady Retreat” - recording and engineering the tracks on his own in a converted springhouse studio in the woods. It is a creative step forward for an artist who admires self-produced records from The Beach Boys' "Pet Sounds" to Nick Drake’s whispered 8 track sessions. With similar passion for all things human, DeRose creates lush, yet still simple music for “Shady Retreat”, a record he has worked his whole career to produce and one that is bound to exude the beauty of music that comes without pretense, and exists purely, because it does. “The End” is the first single and an excellent lead in to the record. - iLike

"Best & Worst Moments of SXSW: Day 2"

For many bands, SXSW is a test of logistical efficiency: Can they set up, quickly line check, and play a quality set within the space of a slim timeslot? For Pennsylvania-based solo performer Peasant, a.k.a. Damien DeRose, who performs simply with his tearjerking soprano and an acoustic guitar, there was no hurry whatsoever. "Do I have time for two more songs?" he asked the sound man. "You've got 30 more minutes," the sound man replied. DeRose considered the situation for a moment, then addressed the crowd: "No, it's okay. Just two more. It's what I planned for." And that was just fine. He cooed a stirring, heart-melting song called "We're Good," and proved that quality triumphs over quantity, even at SXSW. -- PG -

"Peasant at the Tractor Tavern"

Peasant's songs come from a heart out of small-town Pennsylvania, written in a bedroom and recorded in the attic of a 200-year-old barn, in the case of the last album, Shady Retreat. Simple, earnest songs ring with just that warm intimacy and hewn history that lone member Damien DeRose's locations honor. But rather than keeping things too heavy or too sappy, Peasant plays more like Elliott Smith if Smith were a lot more optimistic about things, with a similar shivery vocal and knack for easygoing melody. - Seattle Weekly

"EXCLUSIVE NEW DOWNLOAD: Peasant - The End + Well Alright"

It's hard to reconcile when a great indie act hits critical mass. Case in point: Peasant, the heartbreak moniker of one Doylestown-bred Damien DeRose. Dude's music will no doubt make you weep, lest you forget Valentine's Day looming assault on your psyche. The pain is universal. But it hurts so good--that country-colored twang, that delicate voice singing the most bright and unabashedly sincere harmonies we've heard this year. No wonder Urban Outfitters jumped on the bandwagon. If Zach Braff were still in the business of ruining music, he'd do to Peasant what he did to The Shins. Below, "The End" will make you sigh at what could have been, while "Well Alright" will have you mouthing words you don't yet know. Both excellent tracks arrive March 2 on Shady Retreat through the good folks at Paper Garden Records. - RCRDLBL


Okay everyone, grab hold of your patent leather Elliott Smith wristbands, because you’ll find it hard to listen to singer-songwriter Damien DeRose’s lofi indie-folk without being reminded of the late musician. After signing onto Paper Garden Records, he’s released two albums, with his latest, Shady Retreat, coming out just last month.

With summer around the corner, Peasant’s music will easily help you tune out the bustle of the everyday stresses. Grab some friends and a speaker and chill out under a tree, because that’s what this music inspires. With lyrics that come from the soul, his songs are by no means happy and care-free, but while touching on subjects on how people move apart and interact with each other, it’s still some of the chillest music I’ve heard without being slow or boring.

In an example of what happens when the artist has no limits, Damien’s latest record is an intimate volume of personal expression and beauty. Recording all the instruments himself with all the time he wanted, the connection between the music and musician is really felt with how absolutely everything works together.

This also felt onstage, where everyone is quick to quiet and even take a seat when the indie folkster starts to play (much to the chagrin of his following act; See SXSW where he opened for hardcore punk band Fucked Up!)

Based in Doylestown, I was able to catch a few of his earlier shows before his albums, and the power in his voice was both surprising and overtaking. With interests ranging from croissants and cats to rainy days, see if you can catch any of his shows before he leaves the states . - The Wild Honey Pie

"Band of the Day: Peasant"

Music like this should come from a small town. A bit of fresh air, a walk in the forest, a stop at the county farmer's market down a long dirt road witht he windows down. And the music of Damien Derose, published under the name Peasant, does. He's probably already the biggest band to emerge from teh 8000-strong town of Doylestown, Pennsylvania. His harmonic, whispy songs come on a bit like Damon Gough (Badly Drawn Boy) slowdancing with Sam Beam (Iron and Wine).

Recommended Track: The Wind, perfect for a lazy summer day by the stream, with your toes in the cool water, and your lover at your side. Listen to it on his MySpace page.

Read more:
- The National Post

"The Dark Leaves Matt Pond PA"

"Singer/songwriter Matt Pond is no poor man’s Sufjan Stevens (or, fill in your indie starboy here), as he soars into the Heavens with “Sparrows,” or the next track, “Running Wild,” a song with a deft melody and cleanly delivered vocal that has him sounding a bit like Peasant (Damien DeRose), and which blossoms into a lovely denoument. " - Impose Magazine

"New Peasant Video – “We’re Good”"

Armed, for the most, with a guitar and his soaring, at times Elliott Smith-redolent voice, Doylestown, PA’s Damien DeRose records under the moniker Peasant. His official “debut” full-length On The Ground came out at the end of January (he self-released another collection Fear Not, Distant Lover in 2005). If you haven’t heard DeRose yet, take a look at the Chris Carey-directed video for “We’re Good,” where we find DeRose living with his lady in the middle of the woods and seeing the distance that’s grown between them suddenly get filled by a big ol’ bear. Point being: No, we’re not good. It was shot in Savannah, GA at the Savannah College of Art and Design.

- Stereogum

"Getting to Know Peasant"

A couple of hours south of New York City, beyond the cornfields, cows and wildflowers of Eastern Pennsylvania, lies downtown Doylestown, Pa. Here, there’s a hilly main drag lined with quaint shops, the library and local pubs all within walking distance. And here, Damien DeRose—who writes and performs as Peasant—takes me to the Classic Cigar Parlor, lodged a tiny 18th century townhouse filled with pipes and loose tobacco.

With a nod from the woman behind the counter, DeRose leads me up a dark staircase to an attic space lit only by a hint of sun peeking through the small windows. We sit in velvet chairs beneath an open-beamed ceiling as he describes his early days as a musician, which took place in this very attic, once a hub of Bucks County’s music scene. With two spare, acoustic-twinged records behind him and a third, Shady Retreat, on the way in 2010, DeRose talks about the pros and cons making music in a small town, the origin of his name and why he prefers to go it alone.
Damien DeRose: So this is the spot. We would move all of the chairs back and play here and people would sit or stand. We’d have a fire going. It was awesome. This town was an amazing place. Just imagine this room with just low lighting and Illinois playing—the whole room would shake with people dancing. When I was playing here I was not a polished performer by any means, but it still worked. I would bring an electric guitar along and just play a set with the electric guitar that night. People were so open to it. That’s how I got my start. People loved it. There were kids who just had great appreciation for music on a national scale. Siren is a phenomenal record store, so kids go in there after school and get really good music, and we provided a local outlet of actual music happening.

Paste: So when did it get shut down?
DeRose: Like a year ago. And then we started at other places and other people started booking them and at every turn something would get shut down. As far as I know now, a lot of the bands don’t play around here anymore—like, Illinois has gone off. The first show I ever played with them was here.

Paste: How many people would you pack into this place?
DeRose: It would be packed with people. That’s why they shut it down. There were supposed to be 30 people here, and on a crazy night there would be like 90 people, just hanging from the rafters watching the show. Downstairs, that’s JT. She owns this place. She would let us do it for a really reasonable fee for a show. She loves the music. She’s kind of part of the older crowd here, like a couple of the shop owners who aren’t giving in to the changes that are happening in the town so much and really like it. It feels kind of like a graveyard in here. It’s sad because it’s never going to happen again. What we were doing ended after this place got shut down. There’s always been a hardcore scene in Doylestown, and those kids just kind of took back over. And their shows were definitely rowdy, and people were doing stupid things, and those shows were what parents saw as a problem. And they lumped it all together. It’s ironic, because at 2 AM when the bars let out, it’s not the kids that are breaking bottles and peeing on the sidewalk, but you don’t hear anything about that in the newspaper because the liquor licenses are what make the town money.

Paste: How old were you when you had your first show here?
DeRose: I think I was 18. Seventeen or 18.

Paste: How did that come about?
DeRose: OK, this is a good story. [A band called] Aderbat had been playing shows all through high school and I heard about them and I went to a show and thought, “Man, these guys are fucking awesome.” And they were playing in this room and I thought, “Wow, I gotta go do this too.” Since then they’ve all moved. Everyone moved to Brooklyn or Philadelphia, but there was a time when they were living in town. People would say, “What are they doing here?” but it made sense. They really had a niche here. And they could go play Philly and New York, too. It’s a good place to have a home base, here. So Aderbat’s bassist was sitting out on the steps, and I was just walking around playing my guitar because I used to busk, and I was like, “Hey, can I open for you guys the next time you play the Cigar Parlor?” And he was like, “Well, play me a song.” I played this song that was so old and I never play it anymore—it’s so embarrassing—but I played it, and he said, “Yeah, sure, you can open for us.” And that was it. Since then I’ve just become great friends with those guys and did all the shows here and got welcomed in by them.

Paste: When in 2010 will your latest, Shady Retreat, come out?
DeRose: Very early. Right now there’s a single out, and that’s two songs from the next record, and than the whole thing’s going to be released in January or February.

Paste: In terms of content, what does this record document? What season of your life?
DeRose: That’s a really interesting question because it’s really different from a lot of the past stuff I did which was very confessional and just letting emotional things out. And that’s always going to be a part of my music. But I was trying to describe it to my friend actually right before I met you, and I found myself having trouble doing it. It’s a little bit more thoughtful and the songs aren’t all about relationships. In fact, very few of them are. Maybe they are in a subtle way, but it’s really about how those relationships or other things tie into general philosophy about how people treat each other. It’s more about the greater picture instead of just me. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, but you can’t force it. I used to try to write a song about what I thought of the way things were and it just wouldn’t come out very naturally. But this record has that on it, and a broader scale of topics.

Paste: What happened prior to or during the time that you were writing the songs that set you up to finally be able to pull that off? Was it distance from a relationship?
DeRose: Definitely. With [2009's] On The Ground, almost every song was about the same person. It was not a particularly healthy time for me. I think I’m finally at peace with a lot of those themes and have gotten that out of my life. I’m obviously not a model citizen or anything, you know, but I feel happier. I’m not overwhelmed by emotions so much and I am feeling comfortable. I’m getting older and I’m feeling more firm in my beliefs. I’ve changed a lot of my way of looking at things. I’m not so much a bleeding-heart-idealist. I still have ideals, but I don’t feel like crushed or suffocated by them anymore. I feel more at peace with having ideals and having strong feelings but not necessarily looking around at the world and being like, “Nobody gets it.” I don’t feel that way anymore. It’s ok to have your own ideals and be at odds with the way things are and tongue-and-cheek point it out. And if people want to listen and get it and like it, that’s good and I think that people will. But at the same time I’m not upset about it anymore.

Paste: I think that comes with growing up.
DeRose: Yeah, yeah. I don’t want to say, “Well, when you’re young you have a heart and when you’re old you have a brain!” I’m not there. I don’t want to be there. I definitely feel strongly about the ridiculousness of the way things are right now. It still upsets me, the way the world is. But I’d rather put things out there that might contribute to changing it instead of just complaining about it.

Paste: Do you want to talk a little about the process of recording Shady Retreat? Where did you record it?
DeRose: I wanted to show it to you, but it’s out of town and I don’t know how much time you have. I moved recently, so half of the record I recorded in a house a little outside of town where I have the upstairs as my living area, the attic essentially, and that was on Shady Retreat Road. That’s where I got the name. That’s when I started not going into town any more. I used to be in town a lot and really a part of this place, and I feel a little more alienated from it now. I recorded up there in the attic. I have pretty decent digital recording stuff and analog amps. It was a very simple recording process. I don’t use a lot of full drum sets. If I do record drums I’ll just set a couple of mics up. It’s a little lo-fi but at the same time it’s not like, “Oh my God, did this guy even think about how it sounds?”...

[I] spent hours up there with my roommates downstairs being like, “What are you doing up there?” and I’d be like, “Just making a song! It’s taking me a long time!” and then I moved with my girlfriend into this little cottage with a spring-house. It’s actually very similar to this, with open beams and stuff. The view is just woods and fields outside. It really cleared my mind and I just started recording the next part of the record there. It’s a really nice room. It has a good sound. I have a decent mic and just went to town mixing it and trying to make it sound professional. The reason I wanted to do it on my own is that I don’t like the time constraints. I like to wake up in the middle of the night sometimes and just work on a song. That’s the worst part about going into the studio—by the fifth day you’re like, “I really don’t feel like doing this right now. Now I’m going to lay down a track for my album that has to be the finished product whether I like it or not.” Which is why with some of the songs we did for On The Ground I was just like, “No, it sounds like shit—I’m not putting that out.” I like doing my own recording. The mixing and the production is just as interesting to me and just as much a part of writing for me as sitting and writing a song. I end up writing the song while I record it. I’ll just experiment with different things and that’s how a lot of the record is. I just tried things. So that’s the recording process.

Paste: Were you able to do the songwriting and recording of Shady Retreat full time? Or were you doing other things for work also?
DeRose: Luckily On The Ground was reasonably successful, so I got to quit working a day job. So I ended up just having a lot of free time, and wasting time, but that’s what I needed—to be able to have a lot of time to waste in order to then get down to it. I’ve been really lucky to be able to that.

Paste: What was your line of work before you were able to quit your day job?
DeRose: Many, many different shitty side jobs: working at a pizza place, doing the door at a local club, a couple of different production companies, that sort of thing. I never really could hold it down. The name Peasant that I go by is sort of bitter about the fact that we have to work for seven dollars an hour and get treated like crap half of the time. I want to do what I want to do. I want to do music. I know it’s what I’m going to do, and if I end up not doing it, I have no idea what I’m going to do. It’s not going to be easy for me to do anything else. It never has. I really am happy with this. I have always dreamed of doing this, but even when you have a dream like that, you know that it’s not an easy thing to do. Just the fact that it’s going so well right now it’s just like, wow. I didn’t expect it. I’m not exactly a completely glass-half-full kind of person and I never, ever would have thought that it was going to be easy. I didn’t think I’d be paying my bills with music. This is crazy. But at the same time I believed that I could and kept doing it and trying and did everything I possibly could, and it’s working.

Paste: When did you start going by the name Peasant?
DeRose: I used to just get up on stage and just say, “I’m Damien DeRose, these are my songs.” In high school was when I first performed my own songs at school stuff. The George School would have open mics and I did a lot of them and I wanted to put a little theory behind where I was going with the music, and I thought, “No one has ever named himself Peasant, and you can’t really forget that name.” I don’t really like super-clever overdone band names. I just wanted it to be something simple. I really liked John Lennon and the things he was singing about. He has one line, “We’re all fucking peasants as far as I can see.” I do have some social themes in the music about our world and particularly the United States and the way we live and I think there’s something to be said for the inequality that exists here. I don’t want to be a political artist. That’s not a goal of mine. But Peasant satisfies that need of mine to make a little bit of a statement. And I like simplicity and an acoustic guitar. I like performing alone. I like relating to people in a friendly, open way, and that’s a simple peasant thing to do. I get that question all the time. I don’t have the perfect answer for it. it just made sense. One thing I didn’t want to do was just go out there and be a singer-songwriter that was just Damien DeRose. I don’t really want to be thought of as a singer-songwriter. It’s more of an artistic project than it is just me and my problems and trying to let everybody know what’s going on in my life.

Paste: Do you think you’ll ever leave Doylestown?
DeRose: I hope so. I’ve wanted to many a time.

Paste: Have you been here your whole life?
DeRose: I lived outside of town and through most of high school I wasn’t here [downtown]. I never even came into town. I was always going to boarding school so I didn’t really come here until I was like 16, 17, 18. That’s why I liked it so much—because it was new to me when it was old to a lot of people. There was always a group of people here that felt the same way about it: “Everybody hates this town, but I kind of like it.” But I think after the closing of the venues and stuff there’s nothing really left here. I’ve thought about moving to Berlin because it’s such an affordable and cool and fantastic city, but I have to convince the girlfriend to move abroad with me and that’s not an easy thing to do. There’s talk of Philadelphia but, not to knock on Philadelphia, it just doesn’t do it for me. And New York is a little bit too much. Right now, the only reason I’m here is because I can’t decide where I’m going to go. And I have a really nice set-up right now. It’s very affordable. A lot of people my age live in a city, and I live in a country cottage, and it kind of works. It’s been very inspirational. - Paste Magazine

"Music Picks: Aderbat/Peasant"

The first word that comes to mind when you hear Aderbat's Matt Taylor is "autumnal." There's a somnolent oddness to his voice and his arrangements of cellos, laptops and noisemakers — a seasonal effect reminiscent of British crooner David Sylvian. Like Sylvian, Taylor's best moments conjure fall's first snap: bare tree branches, graying fields, passionate romances gone cold. While Taylor's solo record, 2002's Relay, has a sophisticated chill, his New Hope-based band Aderbat brings out the nervous energy in his songs. Aderbat's Rabbits and Rocks (2004) has a Syvian vibe — jazzy, angular guitars and rickety rhythms alongside Taylor's smoky vocals — that's ever so bittersweet. If that's not enough to get you red-wine drunk, Doylestown's Damien DeRose (aka Peasant) and his moony, gloomy tunes could raise Elliott Smith from the grave. - Philadelphia City Paper

"Lost Loves Are Kept For The Complete Sound"

We tend to be lucklessly drawn to the very situations that are proven landmines, which have been documented to blow hands and legs right and clean off of people, to lighten them of a heart or their sensibilities - the things that they use all the time. On the other sides of these common afflictions, these landmines that make vile congress with hope and pure love, are broken down sad bastards swearing off ever getting caught up in the hindrance ever again.

We, however, - and that pronoun is used because Aaron Neville's assertion that everyone plays the fool sometime can be counted on - find that relationships, in the long run are worth it. We find that we're exponentially happier when we're in a good one than when we're without. The real issue, which we get a good dose of in Peasant's drafty and encompassing sliver of the mechanics of dealing with and ultimately washing free of the static and the cold shivers that all finality brings, is that of going back so often that the scar tissue just piles on until it's as thick as a highway and weird feeling.

The grieving process, the rending of the self, through negativity, pulling back out of society and mental mutilation is all undertaken with the express goal of filling in the cracks, healing, fixing what went wrong, learning from the valuable and messy mistakes that were made on both sides and then getting back out there onto the cold, merciless hunting grounds to likely restart the cycle. The man and the woman pose so many dangers to the other that the ritual and the dance are the most excruciating fascinations that writers and gossipers have to roll in. We spend more words and more breathy talk - hushed and/or exalting - on the travails of matters gone wrong or matters crippled by the impending doom that neither the lights nor the faces can hide.

Damien Derose, who operates as Peasant out of a rurally suburban Philadelphian township, has tasked himself with the idea of getting under the skin of these conundrums of affection and amour and trying to make hide and hair of them, as difficult as that is. He's allowed himself the time and the material to be meticulous about his studies, not rushing into conclusions or settling for the easy answers that could be accepted as the salve and the decisiveness. Derose gives himself the luxury of a full autopsy, which means that a relationship is looked at closely, the way that John Darnielle has spent his songwriting career following the rocky and ever-evolving lives of his Alpha couple, watching as they implode, reassemble, and implode again.

Derose does a similar thing with a couple that may or may not include a very autobiographical figure. These two are hot and then they're cold, meant for each other and then replaceable, though there's never a strong position by either and both involved play all of the parts, like some long-ago Shakespearean play acted out at the Globe - the men are the women and the men are the men, one and the same in their duality. What becomes so beautifully clear in listening to Derose sing - in that clear mountain stream, weepy-voiced way of his - is that none of his characters and none of us are ever rid of any of the people that we've shared the dark or a kiss with. They fade into the woodwork a little, but they never leave the building. The wrestling with them and the time that they shared an occupation of will continue on and on. He sings, "I've been thinking a lot and I'm still getting old," and this line has a myriad of meanings, all of them reasonably correct. Age will one day stop us dead in our tracks, but until then, our thoughts are the chorus and those lost loves and the ones that are kept, the fitful intrusions of stress and our personal frustrations and fires will be the choir to round it all out. - Daytrotter

"Peasant:: Shady Retreat"

Peasant’s Shady Retreat comes through as one of year’s finer releases with songs that reflect both the empty and full of life. The new record shows Damien DeRose moving forward with improved song on an album that still stands primarily acoustic but doesn’t feel as solitary. Picking up from the last album – On the Ground, Shady Retreat is a natural progression of honest and vibrant music bound to pick and pluck your psychic void. RIYL good music. Find out more by listening below and getting the album. - Parasites and Sychophants

"Chris Pureka, Xylos & Peasant (4/12/10, Music Hall of Williamsburg, NYC)"

Monday night, Radio Exile grabbed a staff photog (yay photographer buddies!) and headed over to check out Peasant [MySpace] at the urging of several close contacts. I’m always game for discovery; playing a game of musical cat-and-mouse with my inner geek as I try to pin the influences that I hear upon each artist is a hobby. On this night, it was more interesting than usual. Damien DeRose (Peasant), whose music has been described to me as “singer songwriter” material, but the depth of his writing is more than coffee house level work (read: the dude put together some great stuff but the crowd was, quite literally, sitting indian style on the floor). DeRose playfully acknowledged the fact, joking that he was going to do it as well. Hey, the guy knew that the crowd was there for the main act, and were more than respectful of his better material (“The Wind”, “Well Alright)” so as the tour winds on, one can only hope that he gets the type of audiences that he can feed off of and interact with. - Radio Exile

"Music: Peasant – Shady Retreat"

As much as I love hard rock and various forms of poppy and electronic music, there comes a time when even I need something a bit mellower. Peasant’s newest album Shady Retreat is just right for my mellow days. Peasant’s mastermind Damien Nicholas DeRose has the voice and instrumental genius that most artists can only wish to possess. After releasing On The Ground in 2008, DeRose knew his next album release would have to be nothing short of amazing; let me be the first to tell you it is truly inspiring. So relax, put your feet up and enjoy the soothing sounds Peasant offers to your ears. This whole album is full of amazing tracks but “Hard Times”, “The Distance”, “Well Alright”, and “The End” make it absolutely magical. - Alliance Wake

"Peasant Interview: SXSW 2010"

Damien Derose, aka Peasant, believes that his new album 'A Shady Retreat' is the culmination of all that he has done musically thus far, which is already a lot. With small town Doylestown, Pa., as his launching point, DeRose has released two albums on Paper Garden Records and a few EPs since 2005. Largely interested in the interconnectedness of the writing and recording processes, he plays all his instruments and sings. Spinner spoke with the jack of all trades before his upcoming appearance at SXSW.

Describe your sound in your own words.

Recording is a big part of creating "my sound." I play instruments very seriously and really take part in the mixing process. The sound is a result of painstaking recording; I write songs basically by recording them. It's a process of letting mistakes happen, it's very honest. I record myself playing a lot of different instruments and later multi-track things and try to give it a unique texture. I don't really think I fit the typical sound of any "genre." Genres just put this stamp on what I'm doing-like "singer-songwriter," which really doesn't tell you what I actually sound like.

How did you get into music?

I went to this experimental school where you sang all the time in German, French and English. A lot of those melodies are really old-fashioned, classic traditional sounds. I wouldn't say that carried over necessarily but there's something about the pure melodies, the classic rounds that you don't really hear a lot in modern music. I really liked playing music, and as life went on I just used a guitar as a life raft, writing songs out of necessity. It's true that my first songs are like a notebook. I didn't write a diary -- I wrote songs.

What are your musical influences?

Brian Wilson, John Lennon.

How did you come up with your band name?

I went to a Puritan school, and I always had this sort of strained relationship with authority. I've always done not necessarily what you're supposed to do. I listened to John Lennon a lot during this time period when I felt really alienated from society, and one of the lyrics from 'Working Class Hero' -- "We're all f---ing peasants, as far as I can see" -- really seemed to fit how I was feeling. I didn't pick the name because it was in the lyric, but it fit. It's also pretty appropriate to have an artist with this name at a time like this in our economy. Even though I had the name before it got like this, I always thought the lack of mobility in our society -- the people who are renting and renting, the credit problems -- were things that were sort of there. And I didn't want to be Damien DeRose and the so-and-sos; I wanted to have an alter-ego.

Can you describe your creative process?

This record I have coming out is the best way I could think to make a record -- no limits on what to do creatively. I have as much time as I need, as much space. It's really close to me, as close to me as a record could be. It's not a lot different from what I've done before, it's like the culmination of what I've been doing on my own. The last record was half in a studio, and I've always wanted the opportunity to do this, just make a record the way I make my music. People don't need it to be a studio thing for them to like it. It doesn't matter if it was recorded in a basement or not, it's what the artist wants people to hear. I wanted to make a record of my own that shows that in a way.

Recording is a part of my writing process. It's really hard to remake something that was so in the moment of the first recording. There's so much that was a part of that at first, it's really hard to rerecord it and make it better. I really appreciate my label giving me the OK to just do what I wanted, but it's never exactly what you want. Otherwise you would stop making music.

You're going to be performing with F---ed Up and Kurt Vile at SXSW. That's an interesting teaming.

I thought that was interesting as well. I listened to them and I think they're really great. You know, growing up in the scene as I did, hardcore was right next door. Often the same people who like indie like hardcore. I cross paths with that. And Kurt Vile, he's on Matador which always puts out great artists. A lot of shows I'm getting now are bands I or my friends have listened to. It's exciting to be around these people, to be backstage and talk to them and get a feel for what they're doing. That kind of thing really is inspiring.

Who are you most looking forward to seeing at SXSW?

This is the first year I have a badge, so I can go anywhere. I am always really impressed with bands that are more well-known. I saw Death Cab for Cutie live and I was blown away by Ben Gibbard's energy. I saw Will Sheff from Okkervil River in a coffee shop last year, I thought that was amazing. But I am excited about just walking around and hearing new music.

What's your musical guilty pleasure?

I don't have a CD player that works in my car or an iPod that I hook up -- I listen to the radio all the time. I don't really know what stations I am listening to when I am on tour but I guess it's mostly radio pop. I'm not a music snob. I don't really know many of the bands everyone talks about.

What's your biggest vice?

Something I could say in an interview? Well, coffee and cigarettes.

Who are your current musical crushes?

Feist, Fiona Apple. I really wish I was with Fiona when she recorded her latest album, 'Extraordinary Machine.' Is that weird to say? It's a really great album; her label didn't want to put it out for a year, because they didn't think it was poppy enough.

What's your favorite movie soundtrack?

The 'Requiem for a Dream' soundtrack made that movie, in my opinion. I love soundtracks. Given the opportunity, I could really do a good one for a movie and I'd love to. I actually did one for a half-hour-long movie my friend did. But 'Requiem''s was a really cohesive one. I love when a soundtrack is specifically made for a movie, and it's not just a conglomeration of songs.

Rachel Lazar - Spinner

"Top 100 Songs of 2010"

69. Peasant-Hard Times
An all around pretty acoustic ballad about trying to get through difficult times. On the album version, the vocal effects during the verses contrast nicely with the chorus when the effects are taken off and lead singer Damien DeRose stately professes "Oh, we just never realized, that we're running out of time." DeRose is a one man band tackling folk songwriting very nicely and "Hard Times" is a perfect lament to realizing time is short.
- Kenny Faherty

"Peasant Spins Up Two B-Sides"

Peasant is the musical alter ego of Damien DeRose. The timidly confident DeRose has an awe-inspiring vocal style that, coupled with a lyrical honesty and an acoustic guitar, gives him the ability to quiet any audience.

Listen and download “52 Cards” and “Caught” from Peasant, below. They’re both good, super chill and not much of a departure from Peasant’s other material. But they’re not the story.

The cool factor is that Peasant’s label, Paper Garden Records has released an entire album of B-sides and unreleased tracks from Peasant, as well as tracks from his label-mates Alcoholic Faith Mission, Emanuel and the Fear, Mighty Tiger, and Darla Farmer. All exclusively on SoundCloud. If I were in a band, I’d want my label to do THAT! Seriously great marketing! Everyone knows the b-sides are the BEST sides.

Check out the Peasant tracks below or at SoundCloud, and have a listen to the entire compilation. -

"8 Best Acts You’ve Never Heard Of."

“No need to ask my name to figure out how cool I am.”

No names are necessary for the following acts. You may have never heard of them but they sure are great. Here are the 8 Best Acts You’ve Never Heard Of.

8. John Neilson – Wishing Well (YSI) – John Nielson is just perfect for you singer/songwriter buffs out there. “Wishing Well” is a heartfelt, moving ballad that John (being the nice guy that he is) is giving away for free. John’s voice is unique and quite distinguishing.

7. Peasant – The Wind (YSI) – Peasant aka Damien DeRose records with such delicacy and solicitousness that every harmony is a deliberate, brilliant kick in the pants.

6. Josiah Wordsworth – Witch Hunt (YSI) - Josiah Wordsworth is a serving model to nonverbal storytelling. His music is chaotic, dark, menacing, cool, and catchy. His new EP, Blue State is magic in the making, the birth of a new generation of piano lovers.

5. Kaiser Chiefs – Love’s Not A Competition (But I’m Winning) (Nelsen Grover remix) (YSI) – Nelsen Grover is a DJ/Producer from The Netherlands who happens to dig PMA! (yes, I feel special). Well as it turns out, I really dig his Kaiser Chiefs remix.

4. The Dance Inc. – The Boy Who FUKKK OFF REMIX (YSI) – Name sound familiar? Yeah thought so, might’ve caught them playing with LCD Soundsystem or !!!.

3. Uh Huh, Radio – 4am (YSI) “It’s basically pop in an electric blanket with a pretty heavy focus on strange lyrics (“Lily Allen” for instance) and a dirty, slim sound. But the latest song is a really downplayed, sweet pop/pinkfloyd/jens lekman balade of a sorts. It’s called ’4am’”

2. Plimsouls – As It Happened (YSI) – “I don’t sound like I want to be on Ed Banger. That has to count for something, right?” Hell yeah it does!

1. Spitzer – Disco Biscuits (YSI) – Hell, I don’t know who they are but I sure know I am loving what I feel when I blast Spitzer on the iPod. I hope we hear a lot more from Damien and Matthieu Bregere. Can’t wait for their debut EP “Rollercoaster”. -

"Get March Going with New Tracks from Fuck the Facts, Old Man Luedecke, Peasant and More in Click Hear"

For some soothing chords, stream "The End," off the debut from Peasant (aka Damien DeRose). When Shady Retreat drops tomorrow (March 2), it'll do so with a skillful simplicity deserving of repeat listens. " - Exclaim!

"Peasant, Musician"

Damien DeRose, aka Peasant, tip-toed into our playlist last year just before playing Gothamist House at CMJ. Hailing from Doylestown, PA, his small town sound has been calmly floating around this city with more and more frequency -- enchanting everyone within earshot. This Thursday he's back to play the Brooklyn Vegan show at Pianos (tix).

Exposure.mp3 - Peasant

How did you come up with "Peasant" as your performing name?
I just knew I didn't want to use my actual name, I always liked the idea of an Alter Ego sort of deal. I chose Peasant for a million reasons, I guess it hard to explain because it was so right at the time. It sort of combines a lot of my youthful philosophies with a bit of irony and humor, and some healthy respect for J Lennon and "Working Class Hero".

You've been compared to Simon and Garfunkel, Elliott Smith -- do you think those comparisons are accurate; were they inspirations for you?
Well, some of the comparisons have been accurate, but I have never tried to emulate anyone and only tried to do what's natural for me, but I do think Elliott in particular created wonderful and touching music that's really almost impossible to categorize, I have no desire to emulate or do what ANYONE has already done. I think if you hear my music and label it "sounds like this person to a T" you haven't listened to very much of it, and you probably never will, so, too bad.

When and how did you start playing music?
I always used to sing to myself as a toddler, kinda crazily rocking back and forth in my suspenders providing backup instrumentation as well.

What is your songwriting process? What are you inspired by?
I pick up my guitar or sit at the piano, often with a blank page in front of me, and then suddenly a song appears.

Did you have any particularly interesting experiences while doing your coffee shop tour here?
I played a few shops that had no PA systems, but new york is nothing like philly, in philly that means you might have to adopt a wandering crack head into your set. It was pretty nice to have some crowds though, considering how many times i've played to no one in NYC, it was nice to finally see people talking about it and coming out.

Please share your strangest "only in New York" story.
I can't possibly do that or some people might be in trouble.

Which New Yorker do you most admire?
Rudy... just kidding. All of them, NYC has occupied a sort of legendary castle place in my mind since I was a kid, it's so great to spend all the time I have there lately. I practically always meet someone new and amazing and I feel that's the part of New York I can't get enough of

What's your current soundtrack?
Pet Sounds, Talkie Walkie, The Velvet Underground, Illinois(the band)

Do you have a favorite New York movie?
Requiem for a Dream

Best NYC venue to play/see music.
Lately I've had a good time at Rockwood Music Hall, not the biggest or most exciting venue but it has a ton of character and a good feeling/nice staff. - Gothamist

"Peasant Treats Holiday Commuters"

The holiday season is for giving, and no one is more in spirit than Peasant, a.k.a. Damien DeRose, a blossoming Pennsylvania-based troubadour, who made the trip to the Big Apple to treat yuletide commuters to tunes from his forthcoming LP, On the Ground. With a team dispersing free downloads cards -- creatively fashioned like a subway pass -- for his new record, Peasant boarded the train with a Santa Hat rightfully in place, and performed a series of delicate, lucid, and life-perceptive tracks as his voice quaked over the squeals and grinds of the train's steel tracks. Commuters, though seasoned to subway buskers, were caught of guard and evidently enjoyed Peasant set --- and many more likely did, too: the young songsmith, and his crew of merry cronies, hit the underground for three days straight, spreading the greatest gift of all -- music.

Check out video of Peasant performing "Exposure" on the L train in New York City, and pick up On the Ground when it drops Feb. 26 via Paper Garden. Oh, and "Stand Clear of the Closing Doors Please." WILLIAM GOODMAN - Spin Magazine

"Gig Alerts: Peasant"

Listening to the folk-rock musings of Damien DeRose, who performs as Peasant, it's no shock that the multi-instrumentalist spent his formative years singing traditional folk at an experimental school. DeRose's warm, unassuming yet enchanting sound is infused with an honesty and meekness that hints at his musical rearing. "Well Alright," from DeRose's new album, Shady Retreat, revels in artless beauty. - WNYC

"Peasant: 'Fine is Fine'"

With the exception of an occasional instrument here or there, Peasant is entirely the work of one man: Damien DeRose. The small town of Doylestown, PA is the base of Peasant's operations, which is a fitting origin for DeRose's intimate and earthy neo-folk songs. On his second album, On the Ground, DeRose sings of the hopes and fears associated with life and love like a more optimistic version of Elliott Smith.

But don't be fooled by the seeming simplicity of On the Ground. Though his music is unassuming and acoustic, when armed with a guitar, DeRose makes music that beckons and calls out, as if demanding to be heard. DeRose also has a secret weapon: a voice that seems to expose his very soul. When he sings, "We're going to be alright" on "Stop for Her," we believe him, even though he clearly has a specific audience in mind.

Due to the brevity of the track lengths, On the Ground may have a short run-time, but it is packed with sincerity and raw talent. - NPR

"Paste Magazine Gets To Know PEASANT with front-page feature & intervie"

“With two spare, acoustic-twinged records behind him and a third, Shady Retreat, on the way in 2010, DeRose talks about the pros and cons making music in a small town, the origin of his name and why he prefers to go it alone.” –Paste Magazine

“What becomes so beautifully clear in listening to DeRose sing – in that clear mountain stream, weepy-voiced way of his – is that none of his characters and none of us are ever rid of any of the people that we’ve shared the dark or a kiss with.” – Daytrotter

Check out Peasant’s exclusive interview with Paste Magazine here:

Check out Peasant’s “The End” Daytrotter Session mp3 here:

“Getting To Know” Peasant is a humbling yet adventurous journey that we should all take a minute to do. And that’s exactly what Paste Magazine sought out to do a few short weeks ago in Peasant’s hometown of Doylestown, PA. Quickly diving into Peasant’s past, present, and exciting new future, Paste Magazine’s Catherine Prewitt sat down with Damien DeRose (a.k.a. Peasant) in order to gain some true insight and new perspective what exactly it is that has inspired the man behind the music to make such a unique and intriguing sound.

With a bit of a sneak preview into what to expect from Peasant’s 2010 album release of “Shady Retreat”, Paste digs up several other previously hidden treasures about DeRose’s history in music, relationships, jobs, and more. Check it all out at the front page of today!

Purchase Peasant’s “The End” digital single from iTunes here:

Check out Peasant’s on this week’s Indie Spotlight Podcast here: -

"Kennedy Center Vocal Recital"

KENNEDY CENTER VOCAL RECITAL, Damien DeRose, known as Peasant, sings songs about love and loss and plays acoustic guitar. 6 p.m., Millennium Stage, 2700 F St. NW. Free. 202-467-4600. - Washington Post

"Peasant: A Labor of Distant Love"

There is a new breed of singer/songwriters who blend the empowered-youth sound of '60s protest folk with modern voices and a whole new set of hooks. These neo-Dylans are making old feelings sound new again.

And with his self-produced, basement-recorded album, Fear Not, Distant Lover, showing an incredible amount of natural talent and ambition, Bucks County native Damien DeRose is vying for his seat between Willy Mason and Connor Oberst at the Indie-Acoustic Round Table.

DeRose calls himself Peasant after a John Lennon lyric, but the name also carries political sentiment, a rebellion from the oppressed masses he sees currently dominating our population. Just like his name, Peasant's songs have both superficial messages and deeper meanings. "Mixed messages are my favorite," he says. " It just helps you see the world from different angles and see it all."

Peasant's moody ballads, however cryptic, are for the most part undeniably love-themed. The first four-track recording he ever made was a "cheesy" love song for a girl. For the next six years Damien slaved away on his acoustic Martin, taking the little ditties that floated into his head and recording them onto his laptop. Drumming for a band called The Black Light Special in high school got him serious about music as a career, but while the rest of the band moved on to become Below Carmine, DeRose went solo, and Peasant was born. The result of his determination to become a professional musician was a finished album, but Peasant felt like he was capable of something more grown up.

He put together Fear Not, Distant Lover from the experimenting he'd been doing with, aside from his trusty guitar, a synth and a small electric pump organ he picked up in Lincoln, NE, for $3. Despite a few glitchy signs of an amateur recording, the album is "polished and poured over" as Peasant is as concerned with the production aspect of his music as with its message. The melodies are unique yet familiar and strategically woven into unfolding verses combining the sheen of a professional approach to recording and arranging with something basic and raw.

Fear Not... has trouble at times escaping its own guitar and vocal dominated sparseness, though. "Don't Quit," the album's only piano ballad saves the other 14 songs from drowning in their own sad-toned sameness.

But, as a whole, the songs keep from being mired down by the obvious effort and honest passion behind them.

Although Peasant prefers not to claim any influences and professes to only know three covers (Beatles, Elliot Smith and Bob Dylan), his soulful yearnings strike a few familiar chords. He tends towards sounding like Elliot Smith the most, taking Smith's ability to couple a major chord melody with a darker undertone and inverting it, laying serious and sad-sounding melodies under lyrics that are at their root hopeful and innocent. While Elliot Smith's view of life was shattered and tragic, Damien DeRose is positive in his yearnings, letting his listeners into his soul. The dissonant and eerie sounds balance the feel of the album making it true to human emotion as DeRose sees it, sometimes seemingly perfect and beautiful, but ultimately bittersweet.

Last summer, DeRose took his act on the road, driving and touring through Oregon, Washington, California, Arizona and Wyoming, among other places, spreading his love-conquers-adversity attitude to as many West Coast people as he could get to listen. The experience helped bring Peasant further out of his shell, and made him a more confident performer. It also brought him to the realization that would become his mantra as a musician.

"I guess the trip as a whole really made me realize that hard work and dedication are the only things that can really make anything happen," he says.

Peasant has the determined attitude that could drag him out of the huddled masses and into the forefront of a generation hoping that love will prevail.

Feb. 10 The Classic Cigar Parlor Doylestown, PA - Origivation Magazine

"DIY ethic and beautiful music"

1 december 2005 by justin charles harlan

Damien DeRose, aka Peasant, is a 20-year-old musician with something to say and the drive to succeed in saying it. I first met Damien on Myspace, when I started my most recent productions company, I was looking for singer/songwriter types for a showcase I wanted to do and Damien sent me his first CD, “Sow and Scatter”. It didn’t wow me, but I thought his sound would be well-recieved at the showcase I was putting together, so I gave him a call.

The showcase was not well-attended and unfortunately the lineup order was poorly chosen by the dumb kid who ran the show (yeah, that was me!). But Damien won over the few folks who go to see him play that night and even though he didn’t make much (if any) money that night and only played to a few kids, he was happy to share a part of himself with those of us who were there. He gave us all burnt CD-R copies of a new release he was working on. After he played, he thanked me several times for letting him play and assured me that I would like his new CD better than the last one. He was right, “Fear Not Distant Lover”, though it was not the final pressed version and the packaging was virtually non-existent, is a great album and is set to be pressed and finalized shortly (NOTE: Expect a Crap Filter review in the coming months).

It’s not just that he is maturing as a musician and artist that strikes me about Damien. It’s the fervor and DIY (Do-It-Yourself) mentality that has drawn me to him. Damien plays shows as often as possible, and anywhere that will have him. If you gave him a call and said, “Hey, would you come play at my house for a picnic?” He’d say, “Sure, where is it?” That’s just the kind of guy he is, passionate about his music and longing to share it with anyone who will listen.

Peasant’s music is progessively getting better, the production quality on his releases is so far is so-so (but better than most for this point in his career), and his lovable demeanor wins people over whever he goes. Keep your eyes open and your ears peeled because Damien is a hard-working kid who is bound to hit the national scene hard in the next few years. Easily comaparable to a young Bright Eyes’ Conor Oberst, Damien knows where he wants to go and has what it take to get there. Though I am not sure that Damien has been writing music since such a tender age as did Conor, he has that same DIY mentality and determination that set Bright Eyes apart from the scene that he was a part of. Passion about life, politics, and most of all their music, is what sets people like Conor and Damien apart from the masses. Even if Damien makes millions on his music someday, it will never be about that; it will always just be a kid pouring his soul and heart out to anyone who will be kind enough to listen. -

"Peasant CD Review"

PEASANT's "fear not distant lover," available on That Works Records, is a journey though contemporary indie folk music. Think Ben Lee meets Elliott Smith, meets The Mountain Goats, meets a de-politicized Bob Dylan. The simplicity of these tracks allow his vocal qualities to stand out as the forefront for his music. Very smooth, heartfelt and passionate are his lyrics. "Sad Song" and "Icy Deep" bring forth his most promising efforts, while "Joanna" brings forth his definitive girl song, with minimalistic persussion that fits perfectly into his scheme of writing. There's a soft spot in my heart for old school way of thought, where an acoustic guitar and a microphone is all you really need. Good easy listening for those really mellow days where you just wanna sit around, grab a beer and talk to some close friends about anything and everything. [D. Panfili] - Space Junkies

"Peasant - Joanna"

A song with the quietest handclaps I've ever heard, but they're enough to pull me in. It's a song where everything rests upon the modest hummability of the chorus, just how sincere the sincere singer sings. "Joanna / forever. / You'll be / remembered." It's earnest almost to the point of caricature. "You'll never be a sad song." No it's earnest to the point of caricature. But what counts is not the silliness. What counts is whether I believe it, and want to hear it again. And I do. A song to snuggle into.


Peasant writes beautiful, delicate, catchy, folk-pop. Think of songs by The Kinks or Paul Simon or certain songs by The Beatles
I've selected the two songs by Peasant I like the most to share here on EAR FARM but overall I'm kinda totally partial to "Icy Deep". I can hear the Beatles ("Blackbird"-ish) influence in the guitar on this song but what I adore is just the overall sound and feel of the song. The delicate melancholy and (great) lyrics really resonate with me, in fact I think this song would be perfect for the next Wes Anderson movie. It's a perfectly short song that makes me want to hear it again as soon as it ends and the other song posted here, "Joanna" is just as good (if not better) and stands out with it's sweet vocals and hush-quiet hand claps. You'll be singing along in whispers in no time.
- Ear Farm

"Peasant -- Sun, Moon, Sing"

Here's a song from Peasant, who found me through Said the Gramophone (keep crankin', fellas!) and sent along a link to more of his work. Good points here: the tremulous falsetto, the way the guitar slides and hops and chicka-chickas, the notes on the high end ringing out friendly! unafraid! listen up!, the lulls in the delivery, lines like "Got to keep on movin', movin' along / Life is too short and misery too long" delivered as a sweet singalong. This song is apple pie with a crumbly cranberry/almond crust. -


The mere fact that he's low on fidelity doesn't make Damien DeRose lo-fi--there's nothing mannered about the cheap guitar intimacy his tracks conjure. Tender, weather-beaten vocals and fumbly, hypnotic hooks play in the long shadow of Elliott Smith. - C.NET

"Peasant - Fear Not, Distant Lover CD Review (editor's pick)"

Honest genuine lyrics that are sung with sincere clarity comprise one of the first reasons why I like this album so much. But another reason is his hearty and clever guitar playing which while simple, is to the point and never really holds anything back. Peasant has that sort of folksy pop ballads that the ‘60’s were renowned for but with vocals that seem more Crosbys, Stills and Nash than Dylan. Amazingly only 20 years old, Damien DeRose aka Peasant is the lone driving force behind this intimate folk pop force. Please give this artist your undying support, he’s worth fifty times what he’d ever charge for his music. - Smother Magazine


Bound for Glory
Schnitzel Records Ltd.

1 Bound for Glory
2 The Flask
3 Girls
4 We're Not The Same
5 A Little One
6 Doesn't Mean
7 Amends
8 Gone Far Lost
9 Take it Light
10 Mother Mary
11 Pretty Good
12 Stars
13 Don't Let Me Down

Shady Retreat
Paper Garden Records

Track Listing

01. Thinking
02. Hard Times
03. Well Alright
04. The End
05. Tough
06. The Distance
07. Pry
08. Into The Woods
09. Caught
10. Prescriptions
11. Slow Down

On The Ground
PGR 002
STREET DATE: January 27, 2009
BARCODE: 6-16892-94502-4

Track Listing

Part 1
01. On The Ground -2:23
02. The Wind -3:17
03. Those Days –3:38
04. We’re Good -2:27
05. Fine Is Fine -2:29
06. Stop For Her -2:33
07. Exposure -2:11
08. Raise Today –3:12

Part 2
09. Missing All Your Are -2:38
10. Be Free -2:15
11. Birds -2:09
12. Not Your Saviour -3:18
13. Impeccable Manners -2:31
14. You Don’t Know -2:45



"Oh I know, I've been a long time coming, and I'm trying to make amends,
Oh I know, I've been a long time gone, and I'm trying to find my friends,
Oh I am trying to find my friends..."
- Amends by Peasant

Peasant was never meant to be an acoustic or solo act. Founded on a bedroom eight track, like so many of his generation's musical dreams, Damien DeRose's vision of Peasant went far beyond it's humble eight tracks and four walls. Driven by a fierce ambition and Do It Yourself M.O. strengthened by a circle of other close friends doing the same, DeRose toured alone in support of his albums. Albums that were not known for their reckless shredding, but for carefully woven harmonies and deceptively simple and direct instrumentation.

At an early age, many, including NPR recognized DeRose's unique talent for songwriting and singing, saying, “DeRose makes music that beckons and calls out, as if demanding to be heard. DeRose also has a secret weapon: a voice that seems to expose his very soul.” Somewhere along the line however, the image of Damien with his acoustic guitar became the norm, while his own musical vision became divergent with what the live show had become.

Peasant's latest record takes on the part of a vessel designed for one purpose; to be played live, with a band. Hand in hand with the release has come the band, and for the first time, DeRose was not the only musician to play on the album. As a result the album "Bound for Glory", and the total revamp on the live side, takes Peasant a step closer to his initial greater vision, one of a full band playing songs that entertain and inspire thought at once. "Bound for Glory", takes on the mantle of past albums, but the accompanying actions of the artist behind it, attempt to knock at the walls produced by the past.

While the record was released simultaneously across the Atlantic, by Schnitzel Records Ltd of London(Ween, Hello=Fire, etc.) Peasant first toured Europe with his new band in April/May of 2012 and was received enthusiastically. The British especially have shown their love with extensive plays of the first two singles "The Flask' and "Bound for Glory" on various BBC stations. With one session already done with Marc Reilly of 6music, and another scheduled in the fall with Dermot O'Leary for Radio 2, Peasant's prospects across the pond seem to be doing well already.

In the USA, the band did an MTV Hive session in NY in early April, as well as one for WXPN in Philly and WERS in Boston. The album has been a success on the radio, where "Bound For Glory” is currently charting Top 30 on college radio and commercial specialty shows in the US. There have also been two placements of peasant's music on ABC's Private Practice and CBS's The Good Wife. The band's first North American tour dates have been announced, with more to follow in the fall after doing festivals in the summer.

6.6.12 - Philadelphia - Peasant @ Kung Fu Necktie
w/ Former Belle & Bridge Underwater
6.9.12 - New York City - Peasant @ Mercury Lounge
w/ Thieving Irons
6.15.12 - Toronto, Ontario - Peasant @ The Dakota Tavern
w/ Rah Rah + More (NXNE Festival)
6.16.12 - Toronto, Ontario - Peasant @ Rivoli
1:00 AM w/ Holly McNarland & Sara Johnston & Shane Murphy (NXNE Festival)

" ...sleepy guitar solos dusted subtly with country twang, the soft tamborine hits punctuating the central harmony’s breezy waltz, and DeRose’s soulful, androgynous croon that sounds comforting even when its being dismissive. By using the building blocks of classic folk to create a song that’s both timeless and casually beautiful, Damien DeRose proves he’s a troubadour worth listening to."

"From the thumping energy of title track and album opener Bound For Glory through to the mournful echoes of So Far Gone and the tinny southern plucks of Doesn’t Mean, this is an album embedded with a desperate kind of optimism, full of as many points of buoyant energy as there is melancholy."
- thankfol