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Exclusive song premiere: "Golden Dawn" by Jon DeRosa

Jon DeRosa photo by Ivy Augusta
19 August 2015

Photo by Ivy Augusta

We at the BT are big fans of orchestral-pop crooner Jon DeRosa, whose second album, Black Halo, made head honcho Jack Rabid’s Top 40 picks in the current issue of the print mag.

This song is unreleased and is from the recording sessions for Black Halo, which was released on Rocket Girl Records in spring 2015. DeRosa, who recently relocated to Los Angeles from Brooklyn, was kind enough to share his insights into the tune:

“I wrote this song while visiting my mom at the Jersey Shore the autumn before I left for California,” he recalled. “It was cold, the leaves were falling, the air smelled of wood-burning and the sea, and I spent a couple hours walking around the old neighborhood, listening to Flying Saucer Attack of all things. Somehow all the elements and nostalgia combined and this was the result. It is about losing someone, or something, at a young age and bonding to the landscape that you remember them best in, in this case the beach. It’s like your memory of one cannot exist without the other, they somehow become intertwined in your psyche, which can be heaven or hell depending on how you perceive it.

“Because it is lyrically so unabashedly sentimental, I knew that the arrangement would have to be either very minimal or completely the opposite, very grand,” he revealed. “Of course I decided to go for broke with the latter. We had initially recorded this with full drums, but could never seem to get the rhythmic feel quite right against all the other elements when it came time to mix. When we brought in Brad Gordon to work on the brass arrangements, I had some basic ideas and melodies I passed along to him, but what he ended up doing was really beyond my expectations. Really beautiful and understated. Claudia [Chopek]’s violin, as well.

“For as much as I was pleased with the song, I just couldn’t find a way to fit it into the sequencing of the album,” DeRosa concluded. “It didn’t seem to be comfortable anywhere, it seemed anachronistic. It’s sonically very different, with the nylon string guitar front and center, and drawing more from big band influences than the rest of the album.”

A misfit it may be, but “Golden Dawn” is still gorgeous! Have a listen and see if you don’t agree.