Some bands make a living by demurring the vocations and offices of the rock god and by suggesting that, perhaps, the time for heroes has passed. Others – at all levels of the game, arena to punk basement – embrace the heroic calling of rock unironically and unapologetically. Like U2, Bright Eyes or the Hold Steady, New Jersey’s the Gaslight Anthem was a band with naked bardic and generational ambitions, pinned to the stallionesque lead vocals of Brian Fallon, who drank from the Springsteen, attended the Mellencamp and has never gazed at a single shoe in his life because that would mean taking his eyes off you.
The band had admirable energy and stamina, producing five consistent records of variously punkish power-pop and heartland rock. Fallon has now launched a solo career with the new release Painkillers, due in early March on Island Records. The album was produced in Nashville by Butch Walker (Taylor Swift, Frank Turner, Keith Urban). The advance single, “A Wonderful Life,” is rootsier than the Gaslight Anthem at their rootsiest, evoking some of the beat-down grace of a Ryan Adams, the big-target thematic intentions of Dawes and a bit of the gloss-roots production of Imagine Dragons and the like.
Brian Fallon is currently on tour in support of his imminent release. His band includes Gaslight Anthem’s guitarist Alex Rosamilia, Horrible Crowes cohort Ian Perkins and Molly & the Zombies’ bassist Catherine Popper. Fallon appears at the Bearsville Theater in Woodstock on Friday, January 8 at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $22.50 in advance and $25 on the day of the show. They are available at www.bearsvilletheater.com. The Bearsville Theater is located at 291 Tinker Street in Woodstock.