The Gaslight Anthem – ‘The ’59 Sound Sessions’

By Yasmin Brown

Ten years after the initial release of their album, ‘The ’59 Sound’, The Gaslight Anthem are offering fans an insight into the process behind its creation. The new release, which consists of eight demos and one cover from that time, comes with an accompanying booklet filled with photos and trinkets from the band’s not-so-glamourous life circa 2008 and 2009. This booklet will undoubtedly be considered a treasure for those TGA fans that have been around since ‘The ’59 Sound’ was released.

For the die-hard fans, to be given an opportunity to hear how their favourite songs came into fruition can only result in a closer connection to the band. The rawness of each of the six demos takes you back to the New Jersey studio wherein these tracks were recorded in their most basic form ten years ago.

The songs were recorded at a time when The Gaslight Anthem were clearly inspired by punk, a fact that is even more evident when presented with the unrefined originals. Comparatively, the final version released in 2008 is home to more polished vocals and tighter musical elements, and whether or not the final version of these six tracks are better or not remains up to the fans to decide.

Aside from the demo versions of tracks that made it onto ‘The ’59 Sound’ ten years ago, this second release also includes two demos that never made the cut – ‘Placeholder’ and ‘Our Father’s Son’ – as well as a cover of Johnny Cash’s ‘God’s Gonna Cut You Down’. Once you’ve had the chance to digest the previously unreleased demos, you’re left wondering what may have become of them had they been adapted beyond the demo version, and whether or not that may have made your repertoire of favourite songs had they been included on ‘The ’59 Sound’.

While the Cash cover might at first seem out of place, it’s important to remember that The Gaslight Anthem are exhibiting an era of their career with this release. By including this cover, they are showcasing what was important to them at this time; what influenced them and brought them joy, adding further context to the album TGA fans know and love.

Ultimately, if you’re a fan of ‘The ’59 Sound’, you’re likely to find something of merit in its follow-up. The demos of the previously released tracks are, essentially, just less polished versions of the tracks you’re likely to already know intimately, and the true gain comes in the form of a rare insight into the band’s creative journey between forming and releasing the album back in 2008.

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