Rookie of the Year
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Rookie of the Year

Band Rock


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music



I must confess: when an unmastered version of The Goodnight Moon leaked four months ago in December, I did the evil deed and downloaded it, eager for new music in that oh-so-slow time of the year, release-wise. While I instantly fell in love with the gorgeous vocals, lush, soaring choruses, smooth, harmonic guitar leads, and the heaps upon heaps of layers and accents, I was unsure of the lasting power of such an accessible, immediately pleasing album. Often, the albums that demanded repeated listens before their greatness is realized are the ones with great lasting power, and by the same logic, the albums that are loved immediately are often forgotten within weeks. Such is not the case here: I loved The Goodnight Moon when I first heard it, and I still love it, four months later.

Originally the acoustic solo project of vocalist/guitarist Ryan Dunson, Rookie of the Year shows vestiges of its beginnings, incorporating acoustic guitars with the traditional emo sounds of Copeland, The Juliana Theory, and so forth. While Rookie of the Year most certainly isn’t breaking any musical barriers and easily fits into the modern emo genre, they do what they do extremely, extremely well. Songs like “Sign of Her Glory,” with its finger-snaps, gorgeous, confident leads, swelling guitars, and beautiful background vocals, will have you singing along in no time, while the low-key, piano-based, somber, yet ultimately optimistic tune “The Blue Roses” will melt the hardest of hearts. Sure, a lot of this album may be “cliché,” especially lyrically, but honestly, Rookie of the Year performs with such conviction and emotion that it’s forgivable.

The Goodnight Moon is an absolute treat to listen to on headphones – the production is damn near perfect, and there are just so many layers (vocal harmonies, guitar harmonies, background vocals, etc): my ears literally tingle with joy when I listen with my studio headphones. While the album does show a little weakness lyrically, the music and passion both more than make up for it. This album comes highly recommended for fans of Copeland, Mae, and The Juliana Theory, and is sure to find its way into my end-of-year lists. I know it’s not cool to like music like this, particularly in the “punk” scene, but I really don’t care: I love this CD. It's beautiful. - Rohan Kohli


Rookie Of The Year was one of the first groups to be signed to 111 Records but they took a while to release their second record “The Goodnight Moon.” After all the time, through tours and recording sessions, the band seems to really have found their sound. It is much cleaner than their previous record, less acoustic-oriented and now more melodic than ever. The album was recorded by a producer, who I was unfamiliar with before this record, Matt Malpass and once this album hits stores I think he will be having a lot of future opportunities.

This album begins with a very exceptional instrumental track that really gets you pumped and ready for the rest of the album. The following track is one of the catchiest songs on the album called “Poison Like Your Own”. The only negative is this song’s lyrics are a bit weaker than the rest of the album. When listening to the rest of the record, there truly is a little something for everyone. The album consists of an amazing ballad in “The Weekend” , a mid-tempo gem in “Silhouettes (All Eyes Above)”, and a song that would make any Jimmy Eat World fan proud in “Sign Of Her Glory.” The album also shows some more interesting aspects like the mild techno influence on “Life, Fall Fast Now” to the harder rock sound of “Set The Sails, Red Beret.” The band also re-recorded “Having To Let Go” and the previously stated “The Weekend” for this album and each song are far beyond what they were before. One of the highest points of the album is the haunting yet very clean vocals, the band really made a terrific follow-up record.

“The Goodnight Moon” may go on to be my surprise album of the year already. When I received it, I didn’t anticipate listening to it, yet after one listen it forced me to want more and more. This is a must have for fans of Copeland, Daphne Loves Derby, This Day And Age, and Jimmy Eat World. This band really has the potential too explode, make sure you check them out first so you can be the one to tell all of your friends about them. This album shouldn't be passed on, give it a listen.
- Keith Czwojdak

"Mammoth Press"

A few years ago, I remember strolling into the Tower Records by my house, and meandering on over to the listening stations to see what new music I could find. After lending my ear to more than a few duds, I came across Beneath Medicine Tree, by a then-unknown band named Copeland. Having heard a few of their songs on the old (read: good), I was certainly tickled, and when I read the single paragraph write-up on the album, it made me even more so. Whoever wrote that little blurb managed to word it just perfectly, capturing the essence of all the album exemplified, declaring it (something like) "everything that is beautiful in this world put to music." A timelessly gorgeous record, Beneath Medicine Tree struck a strong emotional chord with a multitude of listeners.

Now, for as beautiful and personal as Beneath Medicine Tree was, I found In Motion to be equally shallow and generic, effectively dropping the ball they once held for another band to come along and snatch up - a task that Rookie of the Year has successfully accomplished on their 111 debut. A record as timeless as it is immediate, The Goodnight Moon peacefully instills a sense of emotional wonder and carries itself with a delicate musical splendor so uncommon in the modern musical arena dominated by hardcore fury and garage fuzz.

As far as the album is concerned, The Goodnight Moon is filled with two kinds of songs - those that are decent and those that are downright phenomenal. If you had to draw a line in the sand dictating where one subgroup ends and where the other begins, it would have to be said that the band is at its best when they are most reflective and patient. The numbers that "rock" the most are some of the less appealing cuts, but by no means are unlistenable ("Set the Sails, Red Beret"). They just fail to be as classic as the stronger tracks. On the other hand, however, the songs that take their time, pour on the sap, and pull at the heartstrings are all staggering in their success. "Silhouettes," "The Blue Roses," "Life, Fall Fast Now," and "The Weekend" all dance sweetly out of the speakers with a marvelous mélange of acoustic/electric guitars, twinkles of the ivory, and pitch-perfect vocals. In addition, the LFO-esque (the 111 mark is there, folks), ironically-titled "Pop Destroyed the Scene" is a jingly, bouncy smile set to music, and the falsetto-woven "Enjoy This Drive" is the most heart-wrenchingly bittersweet song I have heard this year outside of Rocky Votolato's "Makers."

For the record's production, Rookie of the Year chose to go with Matt Malpass, who has done some stellar work here. It is quite safe to say that on Moon, he chalks up a resounding victory and an impressive resume builder. Everything here is so crisp, but at the same time, so real, never sounding too sugary at any moment. In a nutshell, the production is really perfect - no two ways about it.

With everything going for it, The Goodnight Moon is an artfully attractive package, with adept (somewhat minimalist) instrumentation, wonderful vocal work, and well-waxed production. Go out, but the record, pop it in, and revel in the way it integrates itself as a soundtrack to your life, and conjures up nostalgic images of life's moments you will never forget.

Rating: 8.7/10
Recommended if you like: Copeland, Daphne Loves Derby, Sherwood, Sleeping at Last
Rookie of the Year Website
- Steve Henderson


The Goodnight Moon (2006)
Having to Let Go (2005)


Feeling a bit camera shy


Rookie of the Year started as the acoustic solo project of Ryan Dunson while he was living in Florida. He recorded ROTY’s debut album "Having to Let Go” and began touring. In the winter of 2004, the band’s final line-up of Dunson, TJ Holt, Mike Kamerman and Pat Murphy was complete. Shortly after the initial album’s release, ROTY signed to One Eleven Records, who then re-packaged and re-released the set.

Since then, ROTY has toured the country numerous times, staying out on the road, performing constantly and building a loyal fan base. Their new album, “The Goodnight Moon” was released on April 11, 2006. Produced by Ed Rose (The Spill Canvas, This Day & Age), "The Goodnight Moon" combines lush harmonies with driving guitars to create the kind of songs that stay with you relentlessly throughout your day.

The band is on One Eleven Records, which is part of the Warner Music Group’s Incubator Program. They are distributed by Warner/EastWest through ADA. They are based in Fayetteville, NC.

With a heavy touring schedule and the new album finally out, Rookie of the Year is the band to watch in 2006!