Music Review: Pleasantville Frontman Aaron David Gleason Debuts This New Band With 1st Single STEEL EYED

Ticket To Pleasantville Is A Steely Sword…

By: Feb. 08, 2024
Music Review: Pleasantville Frontman Aaron David Gleason Debuts This New Band With 1st Single STEEL EYED
Get Access To Every Broadway Story

Unlock access to every one of the hundreds of articles published daily on BroadwayWorld by logging in with one click.

Existing user? Just click login.

Music Review: Pleasantville Frontman Aaron David Gleason Debuts This New Band With 1st Single STEEL EYED Heigh Ho, dear lovely rainbow tribe, welcome back to Bobby’s CD sandbox where we offer our broken-down breakdowns of new music releases. So, strap in and get ready, as Bobby goes on the record ABOUT the record.

This week’s album entry in the BobbyFiles comes from a brand new band, Pleasantville, releasing frontman Aaron David Gleason’s new single STEEL EYED, a cool rock cry in the wilderness of our post-pandemic world. STEEL EYED is released as the lead-in to Gleason’s latest album, THESE EMBERS, where he, “wrestles and barks a set of nine new existential crises set to song,” so says his press release - wild right? Well, listening to this first release, we hear and we have hope that these crises of Gleason’s from Pleasantville will yield more work like STEEL EYED.

THESE EMBERS was born out of ADG’s live 54 Below show HELL AND HIGH WATER, which chronicled his quarantine at home with wife and new baby and all of his pandemic-related stress through lockdown. STEEL EYED is the story of us all, filtered through ADG's personal pandemic crisis and its aftermath. This is a guy who is saying we are back in the world but we see it all now… all of it, and we have to move carefully as we adjust. But it is also a call to be brave and make the right moves with courage and “Steel Eyed” resolve.

someone has got to make this complete
Im steel eyed cause
I've seen too much
If i perish tonight, just keep on looking for the light

And speaking of the lyrics… The poem behind the song is a bit of a wild free-form verse. After rhyming up the first two lines, it goes off on its own way, following the rhythm of the music more than meter. There’s a nifty half-rhyme that starts the second verse…

I’ve been burning my sage
talking to spirits who might want to stay…

which is Little Bobby’s fave line, given all that the song and its composer conjure up in this, our post-pandemic panic come-down. These words are paired with the music, which has been produced deliberately with a modern, “tinny,” metallic sound to the voices, giving it that “Steel” on steel guitar feel. There is tension throughout and the sensation that the panic might be in the past, but the future can’t be counted on. 

Performance-wise, Gleason has a classic Rock voice with real range and power. The Cry in his vocals is one of a need to find hope here and now, and it is the power behind it all that typifies the need to be STEEL EYED in a world where we are forced to look at things we don’t want to see. Emma Freeman’s backing vocals (which she also arranged) match Gleason perfectly on all levels and harmonies. The moments where they shout YEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! are a beautiful cry of defiance to say we are still alive and we will look at the hard stuff with these steel eyes.

Overall, this debut single of new band Pleasantville, and their new album THESE EMBERS is an auspicious one. We have watched and listened to Gleason’s work for a few years now and always enjoyed his underground indie-rock vibes, but STEEL EYED feels different. It has come together at a moment for an artist who is pouring some new sensations into his work, and that is art, my rainbow children… That is art. With STEEL EYED, Little Bobby would not be surprised if Aaron David Gleason gets a little more lookie-loos above ground from his underground bunker and we hope the rest of the album is as strong. For the moment, we pass this single along to you dear ones with our very strong…

4 ½  Out Of 5 Rainbows - (Holding back that ½ to hear what comes next)

Put This One In Your Spotifies Stream Today: HERE


STEEL EYED Is The First Single Off Pleasantville's Forthcoming Album. 
VIdeo Directed By Jeremiah Kipp
Cinematography By Ken Kotowski
Hair and Make Up - Justine Sweetman
Edited by Benjamin Weintraub
Location - Tiny Farms (Aaron’s Mom’s house)
(Song now available on all digital platforms)

Produced by Grouplove’s Daniel Gleason (no relation to Aaron)
Mixed by TJ Elias at Big Trouble in Little Five Points Studio Atlanta, GA

Music Review: Pleasantville Frontman Aaron David Gleason Debuts This New Band With 1st Single STEEL EYED