About Cole Hermer and the Ravens

Cole Hermer exhibits rare artistic wisdom for a teenaged musician—his creative focus is on songcraft and emotionally direct lyrics. After exploring the white-knuckle ride of metal, and the twists and turns of prog rock, he discovered his musicality in tightly written rock and roll that spans woolly riffage to pastoral folk. Under the band name Cole Hermer and The Ravens, he releases his promising debut EP Quoth The Raven.

“I have a theory that every kid goes through a heavy metal phase because that’s the genre to express extreme emotions, but it made me feel limited,” Hermer explains. After a brief foray into the labyrinthine expressiveness of prog rock, he started writing powerfully concise tunes in his basement, recalling Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen, and Simon & Garfunkel, as well the modern swagger of White Stripes, Queens Of The Stone Age, Nirvana, and The Black Keys.

The Toronto, Ontario Canada based artist is already a local legend, having played venues such as the legendary El Mocambo and the Waterfront Bistro. He’s earned accolades in an intimate performance setting with an acoustic guitar and fronting the rock n’ roll behemoth Cole Hermer and The Ravens . In both guises he’s won talent shows and performed at esteemed festivals such as Singer/Songwriter Festival Concert Series Durham, Love146 Benefit Concert, Music By The Bay Festival, Ajax on Stage, and Pickering ArtFest, among others. In addition, he’s performed on daytime television for Roger’s Cable Network. Recently, he wowed renowned producer Michael Hanson (Glass Tiger) who helped Hermer nurture the modern vintage aesthetic on the Quoth The Raven EP.

“My philosophy is take every chance you get because it will lead you to an interesting place. I got cast in this reality show about musicians in the Durham region, and that’s where I met Michael,” he says. “He is a big deal; the well-known songwriter-drummer of Glass Tiger. He heard me work with this music group on the show and liked my voice. Out of the blue he offered me chance to do an EP.”

While working with Hanson on an unfinished tune, Hermer’s natural instincts and Hanson’s extensive song writing experience turned theirs into a true creative partnership. The result was the glorious folk rocker “Maybe In The Morning.”

Quoth The Raven is rife with musicality that recalls a classic blues-rock heritage but vigorously updates it with a contemporary pop-rock sensibility. Hermer’s vocals are sweet and gritty, his songs are packed with burly blues rock motifs, hip-shake garage rock riffs, and gorgeously quaint folk. His lyrics are introspective and refreshingly earnest. On “Friends” he sings: I must admit although I’m stuck in the pit /I’ve learned a thing or two/My mind is clear a lot can change in a year you gave me a new point of view /I can finally breathe it’s a bitter sweet symphony so thank you for your honesty/So many women and so many questions that still torture me. The brawny “Teenage Creed” boasts a snarling attitude and big hooks. The beefy bite of “Exploitable Youth” is wise without being jaded. “That song is about young people being exploited through music industry, people use each other, and that divides kids and their parents,” he says. He sings with a honeyed rasp: Hey kids do you want to be the star of the season?/Into the abyss where mom and dad make every decision/Burn your salvation when you’ve got nothing to lose/And follow blindly till they find someone new.

Hermer was weaned on classic rock like Black Sabbath and Alice Cooper, as well as the more songwriter-oriented sounds of Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, and Simon & Garfunkel. At age 10 his mother bought him a guitar. “I have a writing disability; my signature is terrible. My mother thought learning guitar would help me with my writing skills. Unfortunately, she was wrong and I fell in love with the guitar,” he says laughing. In 7th grade he wrote his first song.

By high school Hermer began exploring contemporary trailblazers like Mumford & Sons, The Decemberists, The Back Keys, The White Stripes, and Queens Of The Stone Age, and started incorporating their fresh approaches into his songwriting efforts. Quoth The Raven euphorically captures this inspired period of self-discovery through offering an eclectic palette. “As I was recording, my music tastes were growing so much, the EP reflects that diversity,” he says.

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