The Small Town Titans are an American rock n’ roll power trio from York, PA, consisting of:
Phil Freeman – Vocals/Bass
Ben Guiles – Guitar
Jonny Ross – Drums
The Ride is a 10 track masterpiece. Track 1, “Rufflin’ Feathers”, starts out with Phil’s rattling grand scream and is quickly joined by Ben’s massive guitar riffs and Jonny’s head-crushing drum beat. It’s a massive song, with a slick groove: “Rufflin’ Feathers, Shakin’ trees, let me tell you how it’s gonna be” is the line that will stick with you.
The pace never lets up as they smash head-on into the next track, “The Man”. “You have no idea what’s coming”, they sing, and it is so true! I love this song! It goes from a slower, almost spoken-word verse , then just knocks you on your ass as it turns back into the heavy metal anthem. You don’t think a trio of guys can send a shiver up your spine? Think again! Just listen to the opening harmonies on “Behind the Moon”.
Surprisingly, they guys also do a cover of Marcy Playground’s “Sex and Candy”. I have nothing against John Wozniak’s version, but STT’s salacious, grungy take on it has the proper vibe for this song.
“When it all comes Down” once again shows the tremendous range of Phil Freeman. All I can picture is a mic drop at the end and an exhausted collapse after that performance.
“The Ride” is easily my favorite on this album. It’s an 8-minute thrill ride of growling slow burns, beautiful background vocals, head-banging jams which all comes to a climax that is just amazing! Listening to Small Town Titans is an experience you won’t soon forget. I have yet to see them live (road trip, son?) and as so I’m very anxious for this Covid disaster of a year to be over so live shows can resume again safely.
Trios, who are as technically sound as this group, do not come along very often. Think Gov’t Mule, Arcane Roots, or ZZ Top…The type of music that Small Town Titans play may be slightly different, but this is the class of power trios that they belong in. They have the talent to make it feel like you are hearing more instruments than are actually present, and the harmony to blend voices and genres with ease. That’s the gift that they share with us all.
In “Rufflin’ Feathers”, the first line that Phil screams is, “Can you hear me out there”? Let me be the first of many, who will undoubtedly say, “Yes, Small Town Titans, we hear you loud and clear, and we love what we hear”!