City on Down started in September of 2016 with original members Greg Keys (lead vocals/piano), Ian Giancursio (drums/vocals), and Blake Ervin (guitarist), all recent college grads from Rochester, New York with a passion for music. The trio started playing free shows at the Crooked Crown in Charleston, South Carolina, performing simply for the love of music but with greater hopes of creating something special and long-lasting.
The band debuted their original EP in April 2017, and began the journey of chasing their musical passion as a full-time career. Shows got bigger, crowds got larger, and Charleston began noticing the band's constant effort. Come July of 2017, City on Down’s original duo of Greg Keys and Ian Giancursio found the missing pieces of the puzzle in the form of two new friends, guitarist Alden Sayre and bassist Garrett Duncan. Alden and Garrett shared that same passion that Greg and Ian had developed and pursued, and with that, City on Down was officially born.
Show after show the band grew closer, their shared bond over music stronger, and their original songs better. With 2018 just around the corner, they knew they needed to take steps to become big players in the music industry. They got in contact with big-time area musicians, developed a plan, and launched that plan in November of 2017. They connected with one of the top studios in the Southeast, Truphonic Recording, to produce a single that would launch their new and complete vision. This hit single “All on You," was an instant hit, and has since garnered over 167,000 streams across all outlets.
More shows were offered and performed, and as the following grew bigger, more songs were an inevitable part of the equation. So, back to the studio. But this time City on Down was preparing for a new EP, 5 songs that would influence not just a city, but a generation of listeners. They needed someone to spearhead the overall production of this EP, and Grammy-award winning producer Mel Washington was the man for the job. Washington's expertise and modern outlook on popular music made him the perfect fit. The project was mastered by the legendary, multi-Grammy award winning Vlado Meller, whose projects include Michael Jackson, Paul McCartney, and Red Hot Chili Peppers. "Used to Be Young" was released April 13th, a 5-song EP encompassing the incredible passion emanating from the band. That night, City on Down stole the show at Music Farm Charleston, drawing over 700 people in their first major headline show and proving the band had arrived.
2018 has seen immense growth and incredible opportunity. The band completed its first tour, an 8-day Southeast run through cities such as Nashville, Atlanta, and Charlotte, opening for Utah-based all-female band The Aces in Myrtle Beach. In August, City on Down performed at the Charleston Music Confab with LA-band DREAMERS. But looking back only a little over a year since an acoustic idea became a full-time pursuit, they have never felt more blessed to do what they love for a living and achieve success through that. They still have much to learn and experiences to live through, but they could not be more proud of what City on Down has become and what it stands for, a voice for a generation that is drowned out by negativity.
Photography: Taylor Flynn, Taylor Czerwinski, Sarah Harvey Hale, Thomas Tran