RON GALLO – ” Peacemeal “

Posted: January 20, 2023 in MUSIC
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Ron Gallo the chameleonic singer-songwriter-bandleader ended a five-year run in Music City by quietly returning to his native Philadelphia. Chiara D’Anzieri, his wife and sometime bandmate, went with him. She hails from Turin in Northern Italy and is soon to release her debut solo album in English as Chickpee

“Back for good, at least at the moment,” says Gallo. “Being in the house all last year, questioning existential crises — questioning everything — we ultimately decided we missed family, missed Philly, and that the Northeast was much more suited for an Italian relocating across the world.”

The artist has released a series of singles throughout the year, pairing up with fellow indie artist Boyo to create “Hide (Myself Behind You)”. This song’s haziness and distortion are right on trend for the era of bedroom pop and lo-fi production. 

Gallo, who has family roots in Salerno and Sicily, met D’Anzieri on a 2018 summer tour of Europe that went through his ancestral homeland. “It was crazy!” he recalls. “I saw this girl across the way — it was almost like slow motion. I ended up talking to her. She spoke a little bit of English. And we’ve been together ever since.”

The Nashville chapter “was life-changing in a lot of ways” for Gallo. This creatively fruitful period yielded an EP and two LPs — three if you count the Stones-y album “Heavy Meta”, the follow-up to 2014’s self-released “Ronny”. “Heavy Meta” was recorded in the City of Brotherly Love and issued as Gallo’s debut for Music City-based New West Records in 2017. “Peacemeal”, is his latest full-length. 

“I have to admit, I know I got dealt a pretty good hand,” Gallo says. “I moved here, met the people at New West, signed the deal, went right out on tour. I made a lot of lifelong friends those first few years. But a lot of them moved. And when everyone’s gone all the time, friendship can be fleeting.”

Being away on tour for most of 2017 and 2018 made Gallo’s stints at home increasingly antisocial — agoraphobic, even. Running errands around town, he came to dread talking shop with casual music-scene acquaintances so much he made two songs about it. There’s the spoken-word “The East Nashville Kroger Conversation,” from 2018’s odds-and-sods “Really Nice Guys” EP, and “Can We Still Be Friends?” a standout from “Peacemeal”. “Can we still be friends,” the latter tune asks, “now that I can’t help you?” When Gallo, bassist Joe Bisirri and drummer Dylan Sevey returned home from touring their second New West album “Stardust Birthday Party”, Gallo found himself struggling on both a personal and a musical level. 

“I needed to take a break,” he explains. “I started to notice a lot of the friendships I had that I thought were genuine, weren’t. I know any place with a music industry is going to have its opportunists, but that plastic-gentle approach sometimes made me uncomfortable. I just want to hang out, have a human connection — not talk about your business, or how many tickets you’ve sold.”

Gallo and D’Anzieri married in 2019, and he’d intended to spend much of that year in Italy relaxing and recharging. Instead, visa issues got him barred from the country for three months. “I was back in Nashville, and it felt surreal,” he remembers. “It was just me, alone, in the house. And that’s when I wrote “Peacemeal.” 

Gallo played nearly every instrument on the 12-song LP, though you do hear some bass, guitar and vocal contributions from D’Anzieri. Equal parts contemporary bedroom psych-pop and optimistic classic hip-hop, its laid-back sound is a total 180 from the full-band “Stardust’s” shouty post-punk philosophizing. On the 2018 album, Gallo raved zealously on the importance of living life solely in the present moment — past or future be damned — in a manner seemingly devoid of irony or sarcasm. 

Of course you can never be 100 percent certain about how to take the deadpan Gallo, who calls the late Andy Kaufman “an influence on everything I’ve done so far, especially the live show.” He cites Iggy Pop and Tyler the Creator as musical touchstones: “I’ve always been drawn to weirdos, people who live in their own universe.” On “Peacemeal”, Gallo delights in blurring the lines between music and comedy, spoken word and performance art, improvised and planned, sincere and satirical, pop songcraft and music-scene punditry. Nearly every song seems parodic or nonsensical on first listen, then burrows itself into your head before you even realize it — usually within the span of three minutes. It’s a direct line to Gallo’s mind as he navigates a transitional time in his life and career.  

“I’m an overthinker in daily life, but when it comes to music I try to be a first-off, best-off person, keep my head out of it,” says Gallo. “Stream-of-consciousness, breaking the fourth wall with the listener — that’s what I love to hear. So that’s what I try and make: music that feels almost like you’re witnessing someone’s thoughts happening in their head in real time.”

“Peacemeal” via New West Records 

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