Rochester’s Roses Stir The Hearts of Rockwood Faithful


So it’s another day and time for another music report filed from the depths of the gritty urban jungle that is New York City.

Last time around of course featured the brilliant country folk-rock of Brooklyn’s Barefoot & Bankside, as they tore up Manhattan’s Rockwood Music Hall and left a smoldering ruin of blistering musicality in their wake.

Sticking with that underground scene (and Rockwood once again), I dropped by Stage 1 recently to see the delicately gorgeous folk-pop of Roses & Revolutions. The duo of Alyssa Coco and Matt Merritt hold a place close to my heart as they happen to reside north of where I’m from in Rochester NY, and I feel like I’ve gotten to really become familiar with them simply by the many times our paths have happened to cross.

Whether it was opening for bands right in Rochester, Ithaca or Geneva, the twosome has only evolved musically and gotten better each and every single time I’ve seen them. So when I realized I’d be bumping into them AGAIN (this time a bit further away from home), I eagerly jumped at the chance to see what they could do in a “solo” style set.


And while it was over in about a blink of an eye (spanning 45 minutes in total), the pair made the most out of every note they were given. In a room that was little more than a bar and a few places to sit in front of the stage, R&R filled that space to it’s rafters in sound. Their love of music and passion for what they create made every square inch of capacity feel jam-packed. For that brief span of time, they made Rockwood as personal as their home.

In fact, it wouldn’t have mattered if Stage 1 were a hall closet or an arena swarming with adoring fans. Either way I felt immersed in the intimacy of the performances; held captive by Merritt’s swirling guitar leads in one moment and chilled to my very bones by Coco’s expansive, longing croon in the next. I can honestly say I don’t know when the last time was I’ve felt such vulnerably genuine energy from two people hit with such gut-punching connection.


The duo have such obvious chemistry and ability together on stage that it radiates like the sun. Whether tackling originals from their growing collection of EP’s (“When a Heart Gives Out”, “Dear My Love”) or covers from the likes of Coldplay and Sia (“The Scientist”, “Chandelier”), R&R handled each turn with grace, sweetness, levity and brilliance.

No matter what the song was, by the end of their Rockwood set they all felt like originals. And that’s just the beginning of the magic that Roses & Revolutions creates.


So whether you’re near Rochester, Rockwood, at home or out and about, if you see this band…. just don’t be left out.

You’d only be missing out.

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