Small Cities
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Small Cities

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States | SELF

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States | SELF
Band Rock Americana


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



"Small Cities deliver the newest in old-school American Rock"

Since early this year, the radar scopes that seek out new indie talent have been blinking up a storm as the date for Small Cities‘ album release approaches. The band’s debut record, Jackson Purchase, will come out at a party on Friday June 11 at Thunderbird Cafe, but plenty of fans who’ve heard them on YEP or seen them play out at the city’s rock clubs — or most recently at Kayafest — already know what to expect. (There are some nice photos of their recent set at Kayafest over at HughShows.)

So, if you haven’t already heard, or if you couldn’t tell from the album title and artwork, Small Cities are in that large-and-growing segment of indie rock now drawing from traditional, hardwood, American, alt-folk, Southern Rock-style musical praxis. The band plainly and proudly declares themselves simply, “American Rock,” with a capital R, and that pretty much works. It’s worth noting that unlike other bands who merely wink in the direction of rural songcraft, Small Cities is actually comprised of musicians plucked from just the right regions of these United States (“…from the Bible belt to the Rust Belt,” they say) to make music that could, without too much of a groan, be compared to sweet whiskey dripping into cups by porch light.

Each of the album’s ten songs, penned by Rob Collier (native of Kentucky, how about that, eh?) is, according to the band biography, inspired by the early 1970s recordings of Delany & Bonnie, Leon Russell, and the Faces. A more local assessment might put them midway between the outsized debauchery of the Harlan Twins and the down-tempo musings of Boca Chica.

Twangy, wire-like electric guitars are frequently front and center, but curiously, there’s hardly a single bar of actual strumming on the record. At least that’s how it sounds: free from the persistent, space-wasting clog of chords being pounded out beneath the rest of the music. Instead, the guitars slide and jangle around in a persistent riff/solo kind of way, half of a contrapuntal dance with Collier’s strong, raspy, Dylan-ish voice. This pairing of guitar and voice is the centerpiece for most of the tunes, surrounded in the mix by a supporting cast of rousing backing vocals, gentle organ, and a muscular rhythm section holding it all together.

“Fine Time” is possibly the record’s greatest achievement, blending the swagger of a Southern Rock anthem with a second half that is incantatory and Gospel-esque. “Bet on Me” is a slow, tranquil number whose tentative, uncertain vocal is cradled by a gentle mandolin and then shadowed by a soprano voice that, frankly, sounds real nice. The guitars are bright, the bass bouncing, and the organ fired up, but many of the songs still take on a certain sadness or weariness.

It’s hard to stand out for innovation when you’re deliberately not trying anything really new. This band succeeds in the opposite way. Having taken the reverse tactic of trying to blend in, to match an authentic tradition, Small Cities have pried up the old boards and raised themselves something new, yet familiar, and lovely to behold. - Burgh Sounds

"Show Review 03/27/10"

The first band to play was Small Cities (as opposed to The Small Cities; that’s a different band.). This is kind of a weird thing for me, because I used to hate, HATE, southern rock, and Small Cities is kind of a southern rock/alt-country band with kind of a seventies vibe, but they were great. Their own songs were pretty damn good, and they did an awesome seventies-southern-rock cover of Alice in Chains’ “The Rooster,” complete with organ. Awesome. Also awesome was when they brought Balthrop, Alabama’s Jason Bemis Lawrence to help out with a few songs. After their set, they were giving away (like, for free) their 4 song EP. I picked up a copy, and it’s pretty good…I can’t wait to get the album when it comes out later this year.

- To Eleven

"Show Review 05/06/10"

Another big reason I wanted to hit Justin's show was that I would finally be seeing Small Cities play. I wasn't too familiar with what they were all about having only heard a few songs of the myspace but man were they great. They have a southern rock boogie vibe to them that is always welcome to these ears. Listing Carl Radle as an influence? Yeah, I'm in! I personally can't wait to hear them play again.


"WYEP Local Music News"

Small Cities – “Hit My Door” Jackson Purchase
My favorite new Pittsburgh band- they are six members and 2.5 doctors strong. Small Cities emulates a classic southern rock sound reminiscent of The Band, Gram Parsons/Emmylou Harris and Tom Petty. You can trust you’re in for something good when all the guitars are Rickenbacker guitars (even the bass). There’s some sweet southern charm going on here as well, four members moved to Pittsburgh from Kentucky (specifically to start this band). Their live shows are a really exciting experience- you can see them for free at WYEP on Oct 21st for Third Thursday. -


Jackson Purchase - LP June 2010



Small Cities is a band that plays American rock 'n' roll music rich in Southern pride.

In the fall of 2008, Kentucky native Rob Collier began writing a new collection of songs inspired by the early 1970s recordings of Delaney & Bonnie, Leon Russell, and the Faces. Collier recorded rough demos and sent them (via donkey messenger) to friends across the country. In four different cities they recorded more than twenty songs in less than a year.

In the waning days of 2009, Rob and longtime friend and collaborator Madison Stubblefield moved to Pittsburgh to put a band together to play these songs. Importing band members (via donkey messenger) from the Bible Belt to the Rust Belt, they quickly set to work recording and performing in their new city.

Small Cities' first full-length album, Jackson Purchase, is scheduled to be released June 2010 and the band is currently rehearsing new material for a second album to be recorded later in the summer.