10/23/13 - It's official! Songs from the Wigwam is here! You can stream it on our bandcamp page, or purchase it on amazon.com or purchase the disc from our merch page. As always, CDs can be purchased at shows as well!
10/17/13 - Alright folks, it's time for the final installment of the track of the week series. This one was chosen by James and is entitled "Back to the Desert". It has been fun for us writing these song essays for you and we hope you have enjoyed reading them (and of course, listening to the songs). Enjoy this one and be sure to let us know what you think. See you all October 19th at Triumph Brewing of New Hope!
Track of the Week: Back to the Desert
Write-Up By: James
Back to the desert is like a cup of coffee, with a pellet of mescaline, on an Arizonan mesa. Which is amazing, considering Pete wrote it during a high school physics class, one he was teaching nonetheless.
What he was thinking at the time I do not know, I haven't asked him, but the song is intensely beautiful. The imagery is vivid.
As listeners, we enter a gambling man devoid of possessions, wandering. An aimless sea turtle, drunk and thirsty for ocean. Faint voices call from the distance, humming a familiar tune.
In the pines we are faced with refracted light and riddles. We leave to the whims of an instinct and are freed from quantification.
When the canopy parts and stars are revealed, we are gifted with the familiar unknown. The humble desert breeze blows softly through our veins.
For a pause, we are assured and we ascend.
A focused and erupting antithesis follows. Writhing guitars sing in tribute as we vacate the confines. The sea is delivered. A new mystery to unravel on the journey.
10/09/13 - It's that time again! New track of the week has been posted and this one was chosen by Dave. Check it out and let us know what you think! And as always, don't forget about the album release show on Saturday, October 19th. Enjoy!
Song: On the Old Brandywine
Write-Up By: Dave
“On the Old Brandywine” is an instant classic. In this piano parlor ballad, Pete Beck’s unique songwriting emerges while he respectfully tips his hat at all the greats. It has all the heartbreak, twang, and regret of a Hank Williams tune, the mellifluous harmonies of The Band, and the lazy lap steel tinkerings of Gram Parsons. Oh yeah, don’t forget to throw in a few Jerry Garcia-inspired guitar licks. Any singer/songwriter knows the need to draw from different sources but few are capable of making the leap into the river of originality. Pete Beck dives in head first with “On the Old Brandywine”.
A descending blues progression introduces the verse’s melody, which lazily winds and wanders over a musical bed of piano, bass, and brushes. The lap steel is the perfect cohesion to an otherwise sparsely-decorated verse. Pete and Britt’s voices are woven together: “You don’t get mad/When I’m away/I’m always changing/from day to day/You wasted nothing on me/but your time/When we were lovers/Down on the Brandywine.”
The mood of “On the Old Brandywine” is created by equal parts lyrics and music; they work together like gin and tonic. The refrain slowly builds to a peak full of regret and resignation. In between vocal phrases the tempo changes from waltz to shuffle, from quick to deep breaths; “Nickels and change/Couldn’t get you a dime/When you’re lost or your found/On the old Brandywine”. With the refrain, Beck immortalizes the Brandywine, filling the banks of the creek with his own imagery and meaning, similar to Neil Young’s Sugar Mountain.
As the drummer of The Late Ancients, it is almost like a “guess who” of musical styles and influences from song to song. It is an exciting role to play, one that keeps me on my toes. “On the Old Brandywine” is a country song in the truest sense. Be sure to check out the entire new album “Songs from the Wigwam” available October 19th and enjoy the ride!
10/01/13 - Alllllright folks...it's Tuesday and that means it's time for a new tune! We're very excited about how things have been going and we've gotten a lot of great feedback thus far. Keep the comments coming and don't forget about the album release party on Saturday, October 19th at Triumph Brewing Company of New Hope! Until then, enjoy this week's track, which was chosen by Britt!
Track: Cross of Lorraine
Write-Up By: Brittany
There is something to be said about a well-crafted, sad, melancholy song. Whether it’s the emotion in the singer’s voice, the weeping sounds of an electric guitar, or that one chord change that hits you to the core whenever you hear it; a slow, lamentful tune carries with it a certain beauty that fast, uptempo songs can rarely achieve. "Cross of Lorraine" is what I’d like to call a “Jerry Ballad”. There was a thinness to Jerry Garcia’s voice that exhibited pure emotion, which I think a lot of fans found comforting and sweet. I think Pete accomplishes that sound with his vocals on this record, though it certainly was not an easy process, as the vocals were actually recorded twice. Pete, being a bit of a perfectionist, was unhappy with his take in the studio. Both Pete and I ended up re-recording our vocals in our home a couple weeks after our time in the studio.
The verses and chorus certainly have a late 60s Grateful Dead feel but the bridge is very Beatle-esque. One of my favorite parts in this song is Pete’s George Harrison-like guitar fills in the bridge, which remind me of the outro of “Octopus’s Garden”.
One of the most notable aspects of this song are the vocals, which were run through a Leslie simulator. A Leslie Speaker is a revolving speaker commonly used for the organ, but innovative bands (like the Beatles) frequently used it for guitars and vocals. The Beatles “Blue Jay Way” and The Grateful Dead’s “Rosemary” are two songs that inspired us to use it for our vocals.
The tasteful guitar solo shows Pete's guitar work at its finest. The guitar solo was doubled with a Fender Telecaster and Pete’s Gibson Lucille. This was not the original plan, as we couldn't decide which tone we preferred, so we ended up combining both. Our buddy Patrick Strain plays the Pedal Steel throughout the song, which adds a somber, beautiful texture. Pete and I also played dueling acoustic guitars, one a Taylor and the other a Martin, bringing together both a bright and earthy tone.
The intense, soft-spoken lyrics are dark and deep. “What have you done my dear to make your mother cry?; To late to find a moral for your elder's lore, bled out your bloodline on the floor; And your Cross of Lorraine, it won’t help to ease the pain, the fingerprints of God or the mark of Cain”. Whatever awful thing this girl has done, the damage cannot be fixed, and she must live with this. No one can help her now, not even religion or God.
There is a tender, sweetness to this dark and moody ballad which should not be overlooked. This is by far, my favorite song on the record!
09/24/13 - Alright Folks, it's Tuesday and you know what that means...a brand new track of the week!!!! This track was chosen by Mark and will be posted from now until next Tuesday so please be sure to let us know what you think and share it with as many of your friends as possible. Rock on!!!!
Track: Spirit Drive
Write-Up By: Mark
When Pete first played “Spirit Drive” to the band, all I could think of was that if CSNY and Traffic got together for a super-jam, it would sound something like this. Coming from a blues background, I’ve never really focused on writing vocal harmonies. However, since joining the Ancients I’ve come to truly appreciate the importance of 3 and 4 part harmonies. It really adds another element to an already well-written song. This is what sets Pete apart from other song-writers, his attention to detail when it comes to vocals.
Ironically, “Spirit Drive” was one of the first new songs that Pete presented to us for this new album (over a year ago). Yet, we only just recently started playing it live. The tune is in two different sections with a tempo change in the middle that melds one section to the next. You get a little bit of Traffic, some CSNY and even some Lee Michaels in there for good measure.
One interesting fact about the production of this song occurred while doing the organ solo after the tempo change. Years ago, I was listening to a live recording of The Band and Garth Hudson was taking a solo when I noticed a pitch bend in one of his organ notes. It was a whole step bend so there’s no way it could have been his organ’s chorus effect. While keyboards today have a modulation wheel which enables you to do that, tone-wheel organs (like the Hammond) do not. So being the inquisitive type, I did some research and discovered that a common trick of organ players in the 60’s and 70’s to bend pitches was simply to turn the organ off and then quickly back on while you’re playing. The tone-wheels will slow down just enough for the pitch to bend downward and then once you switch it back on the note will return to it’s original pitch. Thus achieving a full whole-step bend. At the beginning of my solo in this tune, I just had to add this effect to pay homage to those great organ players like Garth Hudson and Steve Winwood who I’m sure have used this trick many times over the years.
If you’re wondering what this song is about, or why it was written...I don’t know. You’ll have to ask Pete. What I do know is that we had a lot of fun recording it and I hope you have just as much fun listening to it. So grab a beer, light some incense, turn on your vintage lava lamp and enjoy!
09/17/13 - Get ready to dance this weekend! The Ancients will be playing at the Grape Room for the DEEP FUNK DANCE PARTY. We'll be playing with two great bands, National Touring Act Groove 8 and Philadelphia funk masters The Royal Noise. Show starts at 8pm. We hit at 10pm. You won't want to miss this one. See you all in Manayunk!!!
09/12/13 - Hey all! We've got a busy weekend coming up as well as some news to report. First of all, we'll be playing at The Black Horse Tavern in Newtown, PA tomorrow night. Show starts at 9pm. Then on Saturday, we'll be playing at Ortlieb's in Northern Liberties, Philadelphia with our friends Close To Good. Show starts at 7pm. Hope to see you all out at these shows; it's going to be a party ALL weekend!
This past Tuesday, we had the pleasure of performing on Hebe Music's "Live and Unplugged" web series. Pete, Brittany and Mark performed 4 songs and gave an interview discussing the band, songwriting and our upcoming release. The video will be available on Youtube sometime next week. We will list it once it is posted so stay tuned!
09/02/13 - Hello Friends and Fans! We've got some awesome news for all of ya'll on this wonderful labor day weekend.
We are extremely excited to announce that we will be holding our upcoming album release party at the Triumph Brewing Company of New Hope on Saturday, October 19th! To celebrate the occasion, we will be joined by our great friends from upstate New York, Tumbleweed Highway. At the party, you will have the opportunity to purchase the new album prior to its official release date of Tuesday, October 22nd. The show will start promptly at 10 PM and the music will keep on rolling until 1 AM. Best of all, there is only a $5 cover!
This is our second full-length album and it is titled "Songs from the Wigwam". We spent 8 days in July recording the album at The Green Room in Harrisburg with our friend and recording extraordinaire, Derek Euston. We are extremely excited to unveil all of the new tunes for you!
Once again in case you missed it...
Who: The Late Ancients & YOU!
What: "Songs from the Wigwam" Album Release Party
Where: Triumph Brewing Company of New Hope
When: Saturday, October 19th, 2013
Why: WHY NOT?
HOPE TO SEE ALL OF YOU THERE!!!!!!
05/21/13 - Big thanks to Dan Cooper for writing up a great article about us on Philly Presents. Dan plays for an awesome Philly-based band, Song Dogs. Check them out here and be sure to check out the article, and Philly Presents here.
For archived news, click here.