Debut album out now. New EP coming August 13th, 2021
"Immediately shines with gentle warmth and inviting energy." - Under The Radar Magazine
"Petersen has a story-telling essence that is emotionally explosive but remains invitingly gritty." - Glide Magazine
"A burst of energy that's packed with sharp hooks and a warm melodic sweetness." - Floated Magazine
Tony Petersen had barely finished creating Real Enough For You Now — the Minnesota native's debut release as Ditchbird, a solo project launched after the pandemic brought his hard-touring indie rock band, Social Animals (Rise Records), to a temporary standstill — when he began writing songs for a more aggressive, rock-influenced follow-up.
"The name 'Ditchbird' sounds like a folk artist," he says from his home studio in Minneapolis, where both Real Enough For You Now and the harder-hitting Some Dreams EP were recorded, "but I wanted to make sure people were aware that I'm not going to sing songs with an acoustic guitar on my couch forever. There's nothing wrong with that, but I have more rock songs in me. It's the sound I grew up hearing."
Raised in Cloquet, Minnesota, Petersen discovered rock & roll while riding around town in his father's car. Those memorable trips — with music on the radio, Petersen in the backseat, and his Dad behind the wheel — left a lasting impression. Petersen began playing electric guitar and eventually hit the road with Social Animals, opening for acts like Dashboard Confessional and All-American Rejects, while playing an anthemic, modernized version of the genre that had first captivated him. Along the way, he stockpiled a number of newly-written songs that didn't necessarily gel with Social Animals' cathartic stomp. Those songs piled up, unused, for years, then found their way onto Ditchbird's full-length debut, Real Enough For You Now, in early 2021.
If Real Enough For You Now merged Petersen's abilities as a multi-instrumentalist with Americana influences, folk-rock arrangements, and scaled-down sonics, then Some Dreams finds him plugging in and turning up. "Better Than Nothing" is a heavy-footed rocker that both salutes and skewers the road-warrior lifestyle, while "Think She Was Right" rides a guitar riff and drum loop toward its own hook-filled horizon. Throughout it all, Petersen pulls triple-duty as singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer. He keeps the guest list small, with keyboardist Ben Cosgrove and mastering engineer Bruce Templeton serving as the only collaborators on what is otherwise a one-man record.
"Real Enough was a collection of songs I had been sitting on for a long time, and once that was complete, I fell quickly into a distinct group of songs in a very different sound and different voice," he says of the five-song EP. "I knew I wanted to showcase more electric guitar, more powerful instrumentation, and more aggressive vocals. I clicked into a different place, spontaneously. I immediately wanted to get back to work while I had the time to do so this summer, and I felt I really needed to make this next collection happen, to show a different side of Ditchbird."
Petersen's music has always been multi-faceted. With Social Animals, he's an internationally-celebrated rocker and lead guitarist, adding atmosphere and attitude to songs built for stadiums. With Real Enough For You, he scaled his songwriting back to its acoustic roots, reworking the influence of Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen, and The Replacements to his own brand of heartland folk-rock.
Now, with Some Dreams, he punctuates songs about the artistic experience — the elation, the anxiety, and the long drives from one show to the next — with guitar-heavy arrangements that nod to his rock & roll roots. This is Petersen's story, but it's our story, too: a universal tale about chasing down one's dreams, set to a soundtrack that's as melodic as it is muscular.
- Andrew Leahey
Social Animals - Music Videos
Social Animals - Cold
Jill & Tony - I'm On Fire (Bruce Springsteen)
Social Animals - Arguably Useless Rhymes
Guitar Solo Sample
Writer, performer, banjoist and guitarist Tony Petersen began playing guitar at age 15 and has been performing across the country since high school.
Tony is currently a part of the national touring act Social Animals (www.thesocialanimals.com), has a solo project under the name Ditchbird, and is one half of the folk/americana duo Jill & Tony ().
Petersen also records commercial music, with music being used in ads by ABC News and Smirnoff Vodka.
After graduating from Berklee College of Music in 2011, Tony founded Boss Booking and Management and began booking musical acts into venues throughout the US.
Beyond the music that can be heard above, Tony co-wrote and co-produced five bluegrass albums with the Duluth band Saint Anyway, and produced the album "Ride Of My Life" with Duluth act Colleen Myhre.