The Rosewood Thieves
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The Rosewood Thieves

New York City, New York, United States

New York City, New York, United States
Band Rock Alternative


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By Ann Donahue, L.A.

Say you're currently an unsigned band looking for a big break - how about getting a song in the "Grey's Anatomy" season finale that aired Thursday night on ABC?

Publisher Spirit Music Group landed the placement for the New York-based Rosewood Thieves for their track "Heavy Eyes," written by band founder Erick Jordan. The song made an extended appearance over a montage featuring several of the show's unlucky-in-love doctors.

"The great interplay of male and female vocals and vintage storytelling [is] an oft-underrated but essential talent," says the program's music supervisor Alexandra Patsavas. "Certain songs and artists are perfect for underscoring multiple storylines - this is one of them."

Thanks to the expected halo of the placement, Spirit has made a deal through CD Baby to release the band's album, "Rise and Shine," immediately.

"I was forwarded the album and fell in love with the vibey, lovely mysterious feel," Patsavas says.

Last year's "Grey's" finale featured music by Ingrid Michaelson, and attracted 21.5 million viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research.

If you’re possessed with even a moderate level of curiosity about rock ‘n’ roll history, you’ll already be attuned to the Rosewood Thieves. Featuring the urgent rasp of frontman Erick Jordan, the rollicking Wurlitzer of Mackenzie Vernacchio and, above all, a timeless sense of melody, the New York band taps into all the best sounds from the heydays of John Lennon, T.Rex and the Byrds. Go ahead and tell Jordan his band sounds familiar. He won’t mind.

“When the Beatles first started, they were just copping the Isley Brothers,” says Jordan. “I read something about Lennon where he’d hear something and be like, ‘Oh man, I want to do that, that kind of song.’ That’s how I feel when I hear something really cool. I want to be able to sing that kind of thing every night … It’s either that or be a cover band, I guess.”

“Music just seemed like it evolved more naturally back then,” adds Vernacchio, who shares a Queens apartment with Jordan. “Now it seems like there’s a lot of pressure to just make a new sound, but it’s much more interesting to try and figure out what they did back then and bring that into your own song-building.”

Yet for all the backward-looking reference points, the influence that gets Jordan most excited is early-’70s pop obscurity Emitt Rhodes. A McCartney-esque singer/songwriter who released an acclaimed debut at the age of 20, Rhodes dropped out of the business at 23 after a rash of label difficulties. It’s a career path the 22-year-old Jordan likely sees as a cautionary example.

Jordan grew up in East Stroudsburg, Pa., surrounded by music; his father, a musician himself, bought him a four-track as a reward for making the high-school baseball team. Jordan recorded a few demos with Thom Monahan (Pernice Brothers, Devendra Banhart) not long after high school. As those recordings started making the rounds, Jordan reconnected with Vernacchio, a former classmate at a California arts school, to form a band. The Rosewood Thieves signed with the now-defunct V2 label in 2005.

“We recorded 17 songs that first time,” says Jordan. “We thought we were making an album.” He laughs. “We thought we were making a double album. We came back, and all the people we knew at the label had been fired. We were like, ‘Here’s the record.’ They were like, ‘Who are you?’”

The new regime at V2 pared down the band’s debut album to a six-song EP. Though the abbreviated From The Decker House, which features guest spots from Vetiver’s Andy Cabic and Whiskeytown’s Mike Daly, benefited from fortuitous song placement on Grey’s Anatomy and Entourage, the Rosewood Thieves were cut loose from the label. Rather than test the market, however, the band took matters into its own hands, releasing an expanded Decker House on iTunes and continuing to write and record new material. A follow-up EP, acoustic-folk stunner Lonesome, appeared in 2007, and what began as another EP became the new full-length Rise & Shine, an exuberant blast of ’60s-loving pop perfection whose songs are stickier than a summer dashboard. The records are all available from the band’s website, and though the Rosewood Thieves wouldn’t reject the right sort of label interest, they’re not exactly looking, either.

“It’s fun to be connected (to listeners) a bit more,” says Jordan. “Because even when Decker House came out, you don’t make any money. I mean, who knows how many people are buying them? That’s the biggest thing for us.” He laughs. “We just want to know why we’re not making any money.”

The Rosewood Thieves have another EP lined up for early 2009, a collection of covers titled Heartaches By The Pound: The Rosewood Thieves Sing Solomon Burke, and they’ll be taking their songs on the road for much of the near future. Hopefully the touring will offer fewer surprises than an ill-fated recent trip west to mix Rise & Shine. Besieged by panic attacks as soon as he boarded the return flight home, Jordan stayed behind to see a battery of doctors before finally suffering a seizure as a result of a prescription-drug allergy. (The incident spawned the dark, queasy “When My Plane Lands.”) Stranded in California, Jordan begged his bandmates for help.

“I was like, ‘Listen, you guys need to get me money out here because I’m going to buy a van and drive back,’” he says. “I was trying to convince them: ‘We need a van anyway!’”

—Chris Barton

- Magnet Magazine

By Caroline Evans, November 28, 2007 - Too many retro-rock groups try to do too many things at once. Some attempt to re-create the sounds of an entire decade in a single album, while the really ambitious ones attempt it in a single song. The result is often a contrived, over-accessorized sound and synthetic, insincere lyricism. But the members of New York City's Rosewood Thieves, with their immersion in vintage rock, folk and gospel records, find elegance in simplicity.

The six songs on the acoustic EP Lonesome demonstrate the group's strong attachment to '60s folk-rock, from appealing melodies and short, bluesy electric solos to personal lyrics that paint colorful and precise mental pictures. "Honey, Stay A While," for example, describes an artist's residence in a small amount of space: "There are poems and paintings everywhere and a mattress laying on the floor."

The simplest song on Lonesome, "Untitled #1" utilizes only the crisp twang of an acoustic guitar and the subtle whirr of an organ. The song's effortless fingerpicking and straightforward melody balances out the troubled lyric, which documents a lovers' quarrel or possibly a break-up. Although singer Erick Jordan claims that "she's the best thing I've ever thought about," he ends the song by ruefully rasping, "It looks like you've got your own life / Baby, don't you worry about me tonight." It's a poignant, powerful cliffhanger, executed without needless extravagance.


Words by Sean Moeller//Illustration by Shannon Palmer

We sometimes get bogged down here and there, chasing our tails and running the rugs bare to the ground with our hectic behavior. It's the reason we're always fucking late no matter where we're going. It's the reason we stop answering our phone and going to bed earlier than most people our age. It's the reason that we put our feet up or try to find the time for something so pampering and unproductive. We can't always be beavers. Excuses stack up quickly about why this and that didn't get done in a timely manner and it helps to explain the reason that there are allusions made by The Rosewood Thieves to Super Bowl Sunday as if it just happened last week. It's our fault, not The Rosewood Thieves' fault, but then again, our procrastination and stammering about it is a friendly companion to the way that the Brooklyn band makes us forget about all the flotsam and jetsam. Their music is untimely for it exists where there isn't any, where the torrential onslaught of getting dammed up by details and hang-ups and wait and sees and impatience all dally. The presence of none of those things in any heavy doses is one of the most attractive qualities to the last two EPs that the Thieves have written and recorded. They are the percolating governors of keeping things cool, but in such a way that expertly dramatizes the repercussions of the problems with life no matter how it gets approached. They specialize in porch songs couching bar songs, or more bar songs couching porch songs, bringing the studies to a happy medium. We find ourselves loving when their beers taste like fire and wonder if that's something they know from experience or it's a snap reaction to that one torturous thing that now has them worked up as much as they can get. What it reminds us of is the delicate balance that we can choose to adhere to between being in the flames and standing close enough to roast something by the flames, still maintaining a good distance from the danger. It takes precision to remain on the side of the locusts that could leave you unfound, able to observe but remain silently out of the fray or relatively untouched.

5 things that inspired me last week
by Erick Jordan of The Rosewood Thieves
1. Tuesday was a slow day, woke up late, didn't get much done. Thankfully all of that changed after dinnertime. I ate a lot of fish packed with healthy vitamins and minerals. My blood was flowing and as soon as the omega-3 fatty acids kicked in we finished recording a new song.

2. Listening to Wonderful World Beautiful People by Jimmy Cliff. I found it at A1 records in the New York and immediately connected with it. I come back to it all the time; it's the reggae Pet Sounds. Everyone should get it.

3. Mackenzie and I got a tie dying kit and made some psychedelic curtains for the studio. The walls and ceilings are carpeted so sometimes you feel like you're in a giant cat toy. The curtains really give it that early 90's feel, hopefully that translates into some of the new songs.

4. I put some money down on the Giants to win on Sunday and Eli came through. If that kicker can get them into the super bowl anything is possible.

5. Buying things always gets me in the spirit. Depending on how amazing the purchase, the more inspiration you get. The I Love Lucy box set did the trick the other day. 39 DVDs, all nine seasons, the lost pilot and the movie. The cashier rang it in wrong and I got it for 30-percent off. -








Their debut full-length LP, Rise & Shine was released in summer 2008 and immediately met with wide critical acclaim. Magnet Magazine stated: “With a timeless sense of melody, the New York band taps into all the best sounds from the heydays of John Lennon, T. Rex and the Byrds,” and went on to describe Rise & Shine as “an exuberant blast of '60s-loving pop perfection whose songs are stickier than a summer dashboard,” while the popular site Daytrotter wrote, "They are the percolating governors of keeping things cool.” Nashville’s The Tennessean declares, “If this decade has produced a more spot-on channeling of John Lennon's late-'60s snarl, we have yet to hear it.” The first two national tours in support of the album resulted in many sold-out performances and an appearance at Red Rocks with TV on the Radio, Band of Horses, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, and Tokyo Police Club during a sought after main stage slot at the Monolith Music Festival.

Formed in 2006, The Rosewood Thieves were signed to V2 Records (home to The White Stripes, Gang of Four) and released the From The Decker House EP, which featured members of Whiskeytown, Vetiver and legendary composer of Schoolhouse Rock favorites, Bob Dorough. CMJ called the Thieves, "remarkably timeless and classic for a band just getting warmed up." In addition to performing live on Fuse TV, they were also featured in Elle Magazine, and as Paste Magazine’s “Band of the Week.”

After the label's closing, the band fought to retain the rights to their masters and quickly self-released the follow up EP, Lonesome. The six-song, acoustic-based collection quickly gained the band more national attention, with NPR saying, "The members of New York City's Rosewood Thieves, with their immersion in vintage rock, folk and gospel records, find elegance in simplicity," and The Big Takeover magazine exclaiming that "this is absolutely a band we need to pay attention to.” While recording what was supposed to be their third EP release (the band’s preferred format), their comfort in the studio quickly produced enough songs to become their debut full-length album, Rise & Shine. This record's release catapulted the band to yet more national mainstream recognition and their songs began being featured on immensely popular television series like Grey's Anatomy (including a pivotal scene in the season finale) and Entourage.

Their latest EP release, Heartaches By The Pound: The Rosewood Thieves Sing Solomon Burke. The EP features six classic Atlantic-era Burke tunes and liner notes written by the King of Rock and Soul, Burke himself. In them he states, “For the first time in my life, I have actually been amazed at the purity of another artist understanding my messages in song, and taking it to the next generation.” He closes the notes stating, “I thought the Rolling Stones did me a favor but you have taken it to another level.”