Rootsy, bluesy and soulful are all apt terms that could be applied to the eight-piece Philadelphia collective of musicians and friends known as Toy Soldiers. Listening to them, however, you can probably think of many more.
What began as a duo between lead vocalist and guitarist Ron Gallo and drummer Mike Baurer turned into a much larger project when Gallo employed the help of several more friends to play on their album in the studio.
“I guess they just never left,” Gallo joked. “We’ve been a big happy family since then.”
The group, which has included ten plus members for some live performances, released its debut LP, Whisper Down the Lane last fall. The smattering of influences that permeate the band’s sound include traditional country, folk, bluegrass, southern soul, delta blues and rock ‘n’ roll.
“Old-timey styles of music,” Gallo summed it up.
The group’s instrumentation often incorporates lively piano, banjo, acoustic guitar, brass instruments and a barrage of vocal harmonies. Gallo explained that the increased size of the band only aids its creativity.
“The addition of so much instrumentation has taken any limitation away that may have been there before,” Gallo said. “We can really go anywhere at this point, musically.”
Over the past month, Toy Soldiers have indeed gone somewhere: up and down the East Coast on a tour that will finish up tonight, back home.
Toy Soldiers. 9pm. Johnny Brenda’s. 21+. With The Great Unknown and TJ Kong and the Atomic Bomb.
For more on Toy Soldiers, visit ohnotoysoldiers.com.