Did you see the cover of “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch” that Small Town Titans put up right before the holidays? If you haven’t, you need to YouTube it ASAP and then keep your eye on this band. The trio from Pennsylvania formed in 2011 and, after some lineup changes, consists of vocalist/bassist Phil Freeman, drummer/vocalist Jonny Ross, and guitarist/vocalist Ben Guiles.
Brace yourself when you first check out their YouTube: it’s a bit of a mish-mash. You’ll find lots of covers, from “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch” to Kesha’s “Praying” to Papa Roach’s “Scars.” There are also some originals like “Me, Myself, and Monster” and the poignant “Dragonfly,” which Freeman wrote for his mother who passed away in February 2017 after a three-year fight with uterine cancer. While the songs are kind of all over the place, the one constant is the sound. Vocalist Phil Freeman has an incredibly wide range; think Freddie Mercury’s low end to high end. Freeman even has his own YouTube channel where he uploads videos teaching you everything from pitch to breath control and it is obvious when you watch his videos that he knows what he is teaching. Drummer Jonny Ross and guitarist Ben Guiles both have great voices themselves, providing strong backup vocals, as well as being more than proficient in their own instruments.
What’s interesting about Small Town Titans is that they do pretty much everything themselves, from running their social media to the graphics and editing of their videos and more. Something else that I noticed right away is their connection with their fans. The Titan Army is strong and dedicated and with good reason. Small Town Titans are extremely nice and grateful to their fans. There is a Facebook group called TITAN ARMY – The Small Town Titans Official Fan Group and in it, all three band members constantly interact with their fans. They even pick a fan of the week and feature their picture in the group. On top of that, if you subscribe to their Patreon, you get even more interaction with them, such as your name featured in their YouTube videos or Instagram, access to extra content, access to early content, and more.
It is also hard to forget Small Town Titans. Obviously understanding how the music industry and social media work nowadays, they do not wait to release an album every couple of years. Instead, they release new content a couple of times a month so they are always fresh in your head. I see posts from them on my social media several times a week, from show announcements to funny memes made by fans (where credit is always given to the creator of the meme) and more.
Despite all of this, I still was not sure where Small Town Titans wanted to take their sound and the band in general. In order to get a better idea, I chatted with Freeman. Confused by the amount of variety of covers from different genres, I asked Freeman what bands most influence Small Town Titans. “Soundgarden, Motley Crue, Deep Purple. Royal Blood is a huge influence. I also love the sound of the classic bands from the 70s and 80s, which is very popular right now.” Knowing how the local scene can also influence a band’s sound, I was curious to know what the Pennsylvania regional sound is: “rock n roll with the nasty scent of cow shit and coal.” Small Town Titans have been on the scene for a few years now, but 2017 was their introduction to a larger audience. Looking to 2018, Freeman said, “2018 is going to be a very busy year for Small Town Titans as far as touring. We hope within the next 5 years to support bands like Highly Suspect or Royal Blood. The Foo Fighters would be an amazing goal, as well as Jack White.” Having recently signed with TKO Booking Agency, I think it’s safe to say that Freeman’s prediction is right and you’ll be able to see Small Town Titans in your area soon.
So overall? I think Small Town Titans is one of those bands whose sound is going to develop over a period of time and not right away, which is not a bad thing. The wide variety of covers on their YouTube open the door to fans of multiple genres to come in and check out their music. Their hard work and dedication to their fans, combined with their ever-evolving sound, is ultimately what is going to make them great, which I have no doubt they will be. Small Town Titans is definitely a band that you need to know.
Post by Karen Shalev
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