Gleasons Drift
Rock and Roll


“Procuring heartland Americana with an added punch, Gleasons Drift have always showcased themselves as an unpretentious bunch. And yet, their heads-down approach to vintage rock ‘n’ roll has earned them a certain distinction over the course of four outstanding albums and more than a dozen years of plying their craft. Those homespun sentiments took root in the mountains of northern Pennsylvania, but their unabashed enthusiasm shows a particular prowess that’s best experienced without any preconceived notions whatsoever.

The band’s latest opus, a self-titled set of twelve mostly unabashed rockers underscores their penchant for unleashing pure, instinctual enthusiasm, all concise, straight-on examples of how persistent pacing, catchy choruses and muscular melodies can combine to excellent effect. There’s no shortage of standouts -- “Say Goodbye,” “Mixx/REM” and “Stop Draggin’ Me Down” among them -- but the overall results are consistently infectious. Even when they take a respite from all that pent up energy and offer up a caressing ballad like “Has Anybody Seen My Baby,” the results find them equally engaging.

Ultimately, this is the way blue collar rock ought to sound -- solid, spirited and with more than the occasional ragged edge. The overall sound is dizzying but never dour, always placing the emphasis on the unbridled energy it emits. At this point, Gleasons Drift has established quite a reputation for themselves, and given their proclivity for carrying the flag forward, that’s a sound and style to be savored.

– No Depression

Brilliant album, classic effort of REAL American Rock and Roll.

– Rock and Roll Circus

“Pottsville’s Gleasons Drift pulls influence from many sources.
Gleasons Drift, from Pottsville, has recently released is self-titled album. Leftover tracks from some long-forgotten Paul Westerberg/Tom Petty fever-dream collaboration?

Nope, it’s the self-titled, fourth album from Pottsville’s undefinable rock eccentrics, Gleasons Drift.

The album, rich in Midwestern garage tenacity, delicate vocal harmonies and a touch of British Invasion snark ‘n sass, is the stuff upon which the best of college radio was built. There’s not a hint of commercial indulgence; the music instead relying on the indie-cred value of taking a song anywhere you damn well please, regardless of perceived sticker value. Like the aforementioned Westerberg once sang, “We are the sons of no one,” well, Gleasons Drift are the sons of many, musically.

The album is a hodgepodge of streamlined influences and blue-collar jest. For starters, there’s the muscular guitar riffing that opens “Mixx/Rem,” stuff that wouldn’t have been out of place on an early Urge Overkill, Touch and Go Records cut. The song, laden with Beach Boy-esque harmonies and delightfully upbeat resonance, is zany enough with the tongue-in-cheek catcalls of “Hey there baby, with the long brown hair,” to coax the pub crowd to look up from the bottom of a glass, yet infectious enough to entice any rock fan keen on melody and classic, three-chord poise.

Tracks like “Always Midnight” are somewhat akin to a faux-cowpunk , Supersuckers-inspired drive; the song complete with ripping, Chuck Berry licks following a storyline where the guy always gets the girl at the end of the night. The tipsy, roots-inflection of “Stop Dragging Me Down,” with Jayhawks/alt-country slant and Pixies-like, pop quirkiness, is yet another side of Gleasons Drift that only enhances the personality of the record – the band simply never plays it straight.

Standouts like the reckless abandon of rocker “Pumpkinhead Jones,” with lines like “her teeth were white and lined up straight, sparkled when she smiled,” and bubbly refrain of “everybody loves you, everybody loves you,” will have this band’s sardonic blueprint stamped upon the listener’s brain, while “Has Anybody Seen My Baby” is haunted by the same ghosts that were essential to the sparse jangle of R.E.M. circa “Murmur.”

If the hum of a Fender Twin Reverb amp and a shot of whiskey can take you far, then Gleasons Drift has a lot of mileage yet to travel. This is music made by the outsider, content to stake their own claim with their own voice. You can’t help but think that while the band has found their sound, they’re still wide-eyed musical nomads at heart.

– Weekender Wilkes Barre, PA

“Guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Bill Whalen seems like he likes it all: rock, garage, country, folk and he and his stocky n’ bearded bandmates (don’t try to fight these guys, you’ll lose) is able to take his love of all things music and blend it into this nice n’ varied record. On the opening cut, “MIXX/REM” you’ll think you just stumbled across an old Replacements or Pontiac Brothers outtake and honestly same could be said for the second tune, the rip-roarin’ “Always Midnight” as well. They bring it down to a fast crawl on “Stop Draggin’ Me Down” and then grind it out again on the hooky, jagged (awesome) “Ghost in the Corner.” While you’re listening don’t miss dragsters like “Pumpkinhead Jones’ and “Stag Martyr” as well (and just to mess with our head they name the final song “REM/MIXX”). I’ll bet whenever/wherever these guys play live the bartenders are busy serving up an assortment of beers to the happy patrons.”

– Dagger Magazine

“Gleasons Drift is a straight ahead rock outfit that felt part Tom Petty, part Southern Culture on the Skids. Fast, loud, catchy hooks, and the right amount of twang.”

– A Soundman’s Guide to Baltimore

“It’s like if The Stones hooked up with Mellencamp , clean dirty rock ‘n’ roll with blistering riffs a la Chuck Berry. Play this loud driving around looking at the leaves change colors and get back in touch with the some root based rock ‘n’ roll. Great stuff….”

– 50thirdand3rd

“Pottsville, PA band with a lot of spunk is actually on their fourth LP, and its got those riff-heavy pub rock melodies similar to The Replacements or The Stones. The opener “Mixx/REM” is almost like Southern Culture On The Skids with its rural garage vibe, and standouts “Ghost In The Corner” and “Pumpkinhead Jones” makes a great showcase for the band’s energy.”

– Powerpopaholic

“It turns out all the handwringing about the death of guitar bands was a little premature. On their fourth effort, Gleasons Drift prove riff-heavy barroom rock is still alive and thriving. Gleasons Drift play straight forward rock, reminiscent of everyone from The Replacements to Springsteen in his less moody periods.”

– Neu Futur Magazine

“Gleasons Drift continues to put out albums that will remind you of the great bands before they were famous, when they were still hungry and hitting the clubs. This is not a rock band with an agenda or with political leanings, just good clean rock and roll that will remind you of the bygone era of 3 minute songs.
They sound like a mash up of early Rolling Stones, The Kinks and maybe a dash of The Clash thrown in for good measure.

– Elmore Magazine

“...rawk ‘n’ rollers Gleasons Drift offer nods to The Band, Creedence and The Replacements, crafting a classic barroom boogie that still manages to surprise.”

– Pittsburgh City Paper

“Appealing, ragged rockers in the mode of a twangier Replacements.”

– Metropulse, Knoxville, TN

“Power-pop isn’t solely the purview of city slickers in skinny ties. The members of Gleasons Drift are more beard-and-flannel types, so it’s fitting that...they deliver big riffs and bigger melodies with a backwoods twang befitting their native Pottsville, Pa. At their catchiest, the songs recall ’70s-era NRBQ. When frontman Bill Whalen really gets going, singing about marital upheavals or excessive drinking with folksy humor and hints of sadness, he proves as potent a songwriter as the similarly oriented Mike Cooley of the Drive-By Truckers...Come for the hooks, stay for the jokes, savor the stories.”

– M Magazine, Music and Musicians

“Gleasons Drift is a band all about keeping the spirit of rock’n’roll alive, which is done artfully on the new album Blythe Township Mellencamp. It’s rock/americana with hints of country; a convergence of light-hearted barroom music with a strong focus on harmony and catchy hooks.

Their clever lyrics are strung together over eleven diverse tracks, bouncing between southern blues, pop, punk and garage rock, bringing a new flavor into each song.

They get honkey-tonk on “Crowes” before displaying their Meat Puppets influence with a sped-up tempo on “It Ain’t Easy Being Me.”

The diverse mix of influences throughout the album keeps it interesting, letting the listener breathe it all in without being suffocated by one musical style. It’s fresh and on-the-move, slowing down and picking up like a kid with ADD. But it has a consistency and a shape to it that is well structured and organized.

Their dark sense of humor exhibited on “Hey Frank” juxtaposes disease and death with an upbeat, happy, polka-influenced melody. It’s nice to hear a solid, honest band whose personality is audible and whose hard work and wide musical appreciation is apparent on every track.”

– Denver Collins Buzzbin Magazine, Ohio

“Many listeners may not know Gleasons Drift from the Gleason Score, but even the most casual of fans may feel like they’ve heard this band before. In smoky country music watering holes, on vintage CMT, buried deep within compilations of music inspired by the Band and in the sounds of countless hillbilly bumpkins trying to modernize Hank Sr., the Pennsylvania-based quartet’s third LP Blythe Township Mellencamp is immediately recognizable, even to the uninitiated. One can’t argue that Gleasons Drift is dually predictable and fun, catchy and harmless.

Hints of everything from the Meat Puppets (“Crowes”) and Tom Petty (“Well Known Drag”) to Band of Horses (“Omni”) and polka (“Hey Frank”) peek through, but Blythe Township Mellencamp is a country music record at heart, overflowing with the genre’s overly repeated lamentations. Twangy guitar riffs and equally twangy vocals are paired alongside tongue-in-cheek diatribes about pain-in-the-ass women (“The Way You Look (At Me)”), whiskey-shooting booze hounds banished from the bedroom (“Couch”) and good old country boys steeped in Jesus, family and small town tradition (“Billie’s Hill”). It’s been done before, yes, but to the band’s credit, tracks like “The Ballad of Captain A” and “It Ain’t Easy Being Me” reflect a Replacements-like enthusiasm sometimes lacking in alt-country. Other songs like “Luna” and garage-surf-pop closer “Evelyn” sound like the products of an entirely different band, revealing a group capable of abandoning their country music leanings to explore various genres rather seamlessly.

Lyrically, few records in 2010 have been more straightforward (“It’s not the way you cook/ It’s the way you cook for me/ It’s not the way you smile/ It’s the way you smile at me/ I tell you something/ I ain’t done nothing/ It’s you, ’cause it sure the hell ain’t me”). Such a lack of lyrical ambiguity may get weary by record’s end, though touches of whimsical or dark humor (“{You say I have a problem/ And I say, ‘Hell everybody’s got ‘em’/ It’s just that mine is married to me/ She’s so pretty but she ain’t so kind/ I’ll trade you if you’ll take mine/ Aw hell, you can have her for free”}) may keep listeners like me from drifting from Gleasons Drift in favor of the band’s oft-imitated influences.

The earmarks that Hank Williams, John Fogerty, Robbie Robertson and even the Rolling Stones (plenty of Keith Richards’ guitar power and Jagger’s swagger are evident) left on rock, country and Americana can be heard throughout. A record that’s rollickingly fun.”

– Spectrum Culture

“You guys are the best damn rock and roll band to play the Stage on Herr! ( Harrisburg Midtown Arts Center)”

– Talent Buyer HMAC

“The sophomore effort from Gleasons Drift, “Nickel Rocket,” is a project of garage band rock music sporting Replacements-like turn on a dime riffs, Stonesy/ Mike Campbell (Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers) vintage guitar tones and Mick and Keef vocal harmonies. But where some bands may emulate their heroes almost to the point of plagiarism, Gleasons Drift takes these influences and combine them with their own musical sensibilities to make a sound that is at once familiar and yet uniquely it’s own. On “Nickel Rocket” the band really comes into it’s own with strong instrumental play and tightly focused song arrangements. The rhythm section of Jason Fedele and Greg Lowe turn in outstanding performances over the difficult and quirky riffs and rhythms and particular credit goes to Lowe whose melodic bass fills, while continuing to support the bottom end, at times remind of John Entwistle’s important role in The Who. Bill Whalen’s songwriting has matured (“matured” in a VERY good way) and his guitar playing and vocals can handle anything from an “Exile On Main Street”/Tom Petty like ballad to Replacements/near all out punk rock. Credit to Bret Alexander, once again, for contributing a big, full, polished sound without sacrificing the band’s raw, garage style. This is a fine effort worthy of anyone’s CD collection so give “Nickel Rocket” a spin. It’s money well spent.”

– Pennsylvania Musician

“What is that smell? That is fresh air. Or maybe it is fresh lager. Same difference. I was elated when I popped in Pottsville’s own Gleasons Drift’s “Nickel Rocket” and heard some of the other things I like in life — twangy guitars, not-so-serious or self-important lyrics, and a general Rolling Stones loose and bluesy country rock vibe. Certainly heard a little Meat Puppets in the track “Vol/Cano.” I still have that song stuck in my head. Maybe a little Wilco from their “A.M.” days for good measure. The whole album has a live and loose, tossed-off-in-an-afternoon feel to it. It probably wasn’t but they succeed in giving the listener the feeling of being in the room with them as they knock out the tunes. Speaking of that, the production is crystal clear. Singer/guitarist Bill Whalen, who is also the main songwriter, has a warm every-man voice. Down to Earth and infinitely likable, Gleasons Drift are worth your time. Crack a cold one open and enjoy. Toss me one, too.”

– Shinbone Magazine

“This Pennsylvania four-piece are a terrific bar band rocking out originals. Gleasons Drift has that classic American local rock band feel and for those in their vicinity it is likely refreshing for such a band to rock their local haunt.”

– Exoduster

“Playing an eloquent barroomstyle rock, Gleasons Drift are about simple, verse and chorus tracks driven by guitars and drums. The familiar feeling tracks are supported by a capable rhythm section that has a fondness for stops, and they like leads that follow the vocal lines. It’s straight-up, blues-derived rock, and it’s pretty easy to get along with. There’s also some unconscious influence at work here, such as The Who-esque intro and break of “Beau Riuage (At The),” and the “U.S. Blues”- meets Rolling Stones “Thank You Ronnie.” The similarities could slip by in more lavish settings, but the stripped down rock of Nickel Rocket is so bare they hit like a brick. The unassuming nature of Gleason’s Drift, though, makes such comparisons rather highhanded.”

– The Aquarian

“Gleasons Drift are an American band who’ve chucked REM, Tom Petty and a few other classic bands of that ilk into a pot, stirred it around a bit and served it up as “Nickel Rocket”. To vary the fare a bit there’s a few hints of power pop, a few catchy hooks and some nice guitar work, notably on ”Beau Rivage” and album standout “Bitter Year”. Good solid fare.”

– Americana-UK

“Rock ‘n’ roll’s everyman spirit is alive and well in this no-frills quartet from rural Pennsylvania. Gleasons Drift believe in the three Bs: Bob Seger, Budweiser and the eternal Buzz. As a result, Beaver has a slightly boozified view of the world that tilts everything it sees — love, money, ‘73 Chevys — slightly to left of center. Though Gleasons Drift aren’t as fantastically wasted as The Replacements or Guided by Voices, honest blue-collar laments like “Personally (Don’t Take It)” and “Been a Drag” will appeal to fans of those groups, so honest are they in their depiction of four regular dudes drinking six-packs and playing songs in each other’s basements. You can practically see Westerberg and Pollard buzzed out in the Snake Pit, downing Old Style tall boys and flipping bingos, listening to the shambolic furor of “Black Cloud Shadow” or “Regina”. A pleasantly straightforward outfit in an era of ironic poseurs and new-wave wannabes, Gleasons Drift make no bones about being nobodies — but in a rare twist of fate, Beaver’s slovenly pop lurch could soon make them a gaggle of somebodies.”

– Smother

“This band was one of my favorites on the recent compilation from this same label, so it’s good to hear that there’s more where that came from. I was gonna call it a cross between early ’70s Rolling Stones and something else, but it really just sounds like classic Stones! In fact, the record even sounds a little dated the way it’s produced, with a minimum of distortion on the guitars and a great, but still not quite hi-fi sound. This album is full of some catchy, solid rock tunes.”


“…highlights come from Gleasons Drift ’20,000 Leagues Below Dayton’…”


“Stand-outs include the catchy indie-rock tunes by Gleasons Drift…”


“…notables include Gleasons Drift …”





Perry Serpa/Good Cop PR

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