The names Farrow & the Peach Leaves and Aaron Ross are two of the hardest-working and most talented musical forces in the Nevada County music scene. Now they have aligned to form a supergroup. Calling themselves Aaron Ross & the Peach Leaves, the group has released a new single, “Catch A Glimpse”, with a full length record to come. It rallies as a summer rock anthem, a raucous and catchy soundtrack for driving to the river and finally forgetting about COVID.
Ross, who has released seven full-length albums since 2003, is one of the most prolific and widely known singer-songwriters to come out of Nevada County. His influences range from Fugazi to Bob Dylan, and his mythically inspired lyrics, combine with a powerful tenor vibrato and unique songwriting. The Fader magazine called him “thrillingly unpredictable.”
“If you grew up in Nevada County, you knew about Aaron.” Says Zach Peach, drummer for the Peach Leaves. “We were all fans of Aaron from a very, very young age.”
The Peach Leaves were on Ross’ radar screen, too, as they came up through the same Nevada City music scene. The five piece group began gigging regularly in 2018, with a sound that could be described as a mix of The Rolling Stones and Creedence Clearwater Revival. Unlike many local bands that are too cool to play covers, The Peach Leaves made themselves popular with local venues by playing three hour sets filled with rock and soul classics alongside their originals.
Their first full-length album, Honeyslides (2019), was a throwback to the old myth of rock and roll: deep and scratchy vocals, three part harmonies, and dual driving rhythm guitars, reminiscent of Thin Lizzy.
The first real collaboration between Aaron Ross and Farrow & the Peach Leaves was born of last minute circumstance.
“They wanted me to do a show at the Miners Foundry,” says Ross. It was November of 2019. “[They said] ‘Can you do a show? Can you put a band together?’ And I just didn’t have people.”
When Ross looked around, Farrow & the Peach Leaves seemed like the right fit. The show they played together had the audience swaying harder than a typical Ross show, where the usual reaction is for people to stand quietly, processing internal emotion. Clearly this was a collaboration with legs.
Still, neither band knew at the end of 2019 how the collaboration would be feasible, given their busy upcoming show schedules. That changed, however, as touring plans disintegrated at the onset of COVID. The Peach Leaves’ newly-finished home studio — built into the bottom floor of a mountain cabin overlooking the foothills — was the perfect environment to record the songs they’d played together for the first time six months prior.
Though a financial and personal tragedy for many, the pandemic proved to be a blessing in disguise for Ross and the Peach Leaves, who had the time and space to create without deadlines.
“It felt like summer,” says Ross. “We could kind of feel for a minute…We actually got to do the best thing we can do with our time.”
Graham Knibb, guitarist for the Peach Leaves, echoed the same feelings: “Some days you just sit around. It makes you crazy. But you can also work on stuff without always having to always think about the next show.”
The end result is Swan Songs Vol. I — a full band iteration of Ross’ previously released music that re-envisions his classics as high-energy rock songs. “Catch A Glimpse”, the first single off the record, was released on April 23rd, as a 12” vinyl through Dowd records. The B-side of the single is “Warlocks”, a Ross favorite originally released on his 2006 album, Beginners Blood. Here, it’s been reworked, keeping the energetic waltz of the original, while featuring internationally known Nevada County fiddler Galen Fraser, and three part harmonies. Layered over the controlled chaos of the Peach Leaves behind him, Ross sounds equally comfortable — if not more so — in the role of frontman.
How, when, and where Aaron Ross & The Peach Leaves will gig to support their new collaboration remains a big question mark. The music industry has hardly rebounded, as questions about COVID and the surrounding precautions that must be taken still remain.
“One thing I’ll say now,” says Peach, “is ‘book us.’ We want to play.” Swan Songs Vol. 1 will be released later this year. In the meantime, you can listen to “Catch A Glimpse”, on all the major streaming platforms, or watch the music video. Visit Dowd Records for updates on merch and future releases from Aaron Ross & The Peach Leaves. Follow both Aaron Ross and Farrow & The Peach Leaves on Instagram @aaronmanuelross and @farrowandthepeachleaves.
All photo’s by Lindsey Gordon @t8ermom