We’re heartbroken at the news that Boot & Saddle is closing. We held our album release show for The Greater Dog there in January 2020, and it was an experience we’ll never forget. Brendan was featured in MAGNET Magazine’s tribute to the legacy of the iconic venue.
Magnet Magazine Feature
In the new Where We Belong article, MAGNET’s Chris Sikich interviews Boot & Saddle general manager, Gina Piccari, and highlights reflections from artists that played there.
Our CD release at Boot & Saddle was Stella Ruze’s last Philadelphia show before the pandemic. That night, as we all crammed onstage in front of a packed house of screaming, sweaty fans, we could feel the energy pulsating through the room. It was a culmination of all the blood, sweat and tears we have put into this group over the last six years. Boot & Saddle was one of the highest rungs on the local venue circuit. We were honored to get a Saturday night in the dead of winter, and we made sure to turn out so we could get invited back. Good sound, good food, good people. In summation, this totally blows.
Brendan Johnson to MAGNET Magazine’s Chris Sikich
Save Our Stages
Boot & Saddle fell victim to the devastating effect of COVID 19 on the live music scene. Management decided to close the venue in an effort to keep its sister, Union Transfer, alive.
Please speak up about the effort to Save Our Stages. Make your voice heard and urge your Congressional representatives to support the HEROES Act now!
Soundbooth Sessions, our livestream series, features a concert and conversation with some of our favorite artists. The livestreams take place on Facebook Live and can be found either in the Facebook Videos or Events tabs. You can support both Sellersville Theater and the artist by contributing during the show. Details will be offered during the performance.
🚙 Stella Ruze will be playing a drive-in concert at People’s Light on Sunday, October 11. Katie will be out prepping for parenthood, so Emily Drinker will be filling in for her! 🚗 Tickets (and all health and safety guidelines) are available through the link below. Please note that tickets are sold per car and there will be no physical ticket sales for the show.
🔸 $75/car, limited to 5 passengers/car (not including children under 12) 🔸 each car will be given a “home space” for setting up lawn chairs 🔸 food and beverages can be preordered for the show 🔸 face masks are REQUIRED for all areas other than your car & home space 🔸 plan to arrive between 3 and 3:30pm
Stella went in to WXPN’s studio to record four live cuts off their new album, The Greater Dog, for a NPR Live Session. Three tracks (Open, The Trollop & The Tippler, and Hustle the Load) were played on air and a video for an acoustic version of The Greater Dog is now web-exclusive bonus content.
Some moments are a little bit Celtic, like “Open,” the song Stella Ruze played at the top of their Key Studio Sessions performance. Some have a New Orleans flare, like “The Trollop and The Tippler.” Some rattle and roar like Crazy Horse, a trait we particularly hear in an expansive seven-minute performance of “Hustle The Load.”
The staff at Come Here Floyd reviewed “Travel Song” on their Indie Fascination List.
Under the sea? Heck no. Under his strong arms? Yes. Crying over spilled milk? Heck no. Kissing underneath the tree of the future? You better believe it. With a song like this, you can’t but smile at the prospect of a relationship and of a life together. Floating goodness is where this song takes you, and with Stella Ruze by your side, there’s almost nothing that can stop you from getting there.
Come Here Floyd
Read the full review and see the rest of the songs listed here!
In a post on The Key blog, WXPN host John Vettese listed his Top Six Music Finds of 2019. Check out what he said about Stella Ruze below and read the full article (entitled The Key’s Year-End Mania: John Vettese’s Top Six Philly Music Finds of 2019) in the link at the bottom.
The roots-rock ensemble Stella Ruze has operated in my orbit for a while now — they’ve been a band for five years, and I’ve recognized their name on show bills for at least three of those years. But a hot August afternoon and a packed tent at the Philadelphia Folk Festival was where I truly clicked with them. Stella Ruze played the last on a lineup of showcasing Folksong Society’s Philly Music Co-Op, and when I saw that the seven musicians filing onstage had not only the standard guitar-bass-drums fare, but also sax, trumpet, keys, and mandolin, my curiosity was piqued and I opted to stick around. Good move: the high-energy John Prine cover that they opened the set with totally drew me in, and the original that came later, “Open,” was a rousing singalong with horn fanfare, a swiftly jogging rhythm, and a sense of ebullient uplift. Stella Ruze draws on traditional sounds and styles, for certain — Celtic, bluegrass, New Orleans brass — but they don’t want to play to a room of people sitting in chairs or holding the wall on the perimeter. They want you on your feet, ready to dance, and they give you the energy to do it, singing about life and friendship and community. Their new album, The Greater Dog, is out in February.
The Greater Dog will be available on all streaming platforms Friday, Jan. 17; Record release show Saturday, Jan. 18 at Boot & Saddle
PHILADELPHIA- Philadelphia Roots Rock band Stella Ruze today announced the release of its debut full-length album, The Greater Dog, on Friday, January 17, 2020. The album comes at a pivotal time for the band, having just been named a top Philly music find for 2019 by 88.5 WXPN’s The Key; and winner of the Folk/Country category in the PHL Live Center Stage 2019 competition, sponsored by Philadelphia City Councilman David Oh.
The new record represents an alignment of fates that has produced a diverse and ambitious collection of songs. Over the past two years, the addition of a permanent rhythm section and saxophone has completed Stella Ruze’s lineup, and pushed the now seven-piece band further into a category of Roots Rock that is at once both fresh and familiar. This sound is born in Philadelphia, unapologetic and unafraid to shed labels while staying true to the American rock & roll continuum.
“Our new sound emboldens our message to fans,” says lead singer, Brendan Johnson. “The common theme of The Greater Dog is the search for love and purpose in pursuit of life’s many adventures. This message is a metaphor for the band itself, a group of working adults who resolve to devote their free time and resources to the pursuit of something we all love. Through this record, we are encouraging our listeners to do the same.”
The Greater Dog was recorded over several months in the spring and summer of 2019. After visiting with multiple local studios, the band decided to work with Philly-rock guru Brian McTear at Miner Street Recordings in Fishtown. The decidedly edgy ethos of McTear and wunderkind engineer Matt Poirier evidently rubbed off on the band. Crunchy electric guitars and thick drum sounds replaced the folkier acoustic tendencies of the band’s previous records. This veritable blue-eyed soul stew layers modern indie folk vocal harmonies over horn-infused classic rock to create a new organic musical experience.