Capsule Reviews by Mark E. Waterbury

The Furious Seasons – Now Residing Abroad
Veteran L.A. singer-songwriter David Steinhart has created another masterpiece with his trio The Furious Seasons. David can stand his own against many famous singer-songwriters of the past, and you can feel a bit of the likes of Cat Stevens, Paul SImon and Jim Croce when you listen to him. He has his own distinct personality though, with a voice that is both emotive and subtly intense with mesmerizing timbre, the perfect conveyance for his thought provoking often topical words. The musical backdrop is thoughtfully complimentary, showcasing a further depth of artful talent. Full of warmth and intelligence, this is truly enjoyable music.
FuriousSeasons
Marshall – Carnivals & Other Tragedies
Hey Man! Records
Chicago is, of course, known for blues, but I would hesitate to pigeon hole veteran Chi-Town songsmith Marshall (Hjertstedt) in that category. While there are blues influences, there is so much more depth to his music with heavy doses of folk and subtle doses of Taking Back Sunday-era indie rock. Perhaps why this music is so ear-opening is because he can weave together those various styles and create music with a delectable pulse and captivating vibe. The lyrics are cerebral without being pretentious and there is plenty of musical prowess tastefully laced throughout the tracks. Wonderful music with heart from the Heartland.
Marshall
Reverend Raven & The Chain Smokin’ Altar Boys – My Life
Nevermore Records
Almost as stoic a Milwaukee institution as beer and German food, Reverend Raven and his band celebrate their twentieth anniversary of creating blistering blues from the Cream City. The music treads mostly familiar territory which is not even close to being a bad thing as the Rev knows how to take traditional blues progressions and do special things with them. The CD is brimming with killer vocal work, snarling guitar solos, wicked harmonica chops, and lyrics that tell stories ranging from humorous to heartrending. These guys bust their butts to bring great music to the Midwest and beyond, and we can only hope they will be around another twenty years.
RevRaven
Hilary Scott – Don’t Call Me Angel
Belltown Records
Not to be confused with the two “L” Hillary Scott from Lady Antebellum, Hilary Scott has carved her own name into today’s Americana scene with a breathlessly intoxicating voice and a knack for creating catchy, emotional, and subtly edgy songs. Slipping in touches of country, blues and indie rock, Hilary’s stunning vocal work and soul bearing words will drive deep into your soul with their honest intensity and delectable musical backdrops also created by Hilary’s multi instrumental talents. Beautiful, lush and haunting, this music draws in the listener and holds their attention as you experience her stories and feelings.
HilaryScott

 

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The Furious Seasons – My Love Is Strong

The Furious Seasons – My Love Is Strong
Stonegarden Records – SGN-626
Not sure why these guys have sort of flown under the radar for three albums, as they should be on the scope of anyone who loves edgy, hooky, folk-pop. David Steinhardt is the main songwriting brainchild behind this SoCal outfit that really fires up music that is eclectically catchy on this, their fourth effort. The lead track “€œSouthern Night”€ had me thinking, “I hear Elvis Costello, I hear the Beach Boys, I hear Tom Petty….”, but in reality, even though you can hear influences from them and other diverse acts throughout the thirteen songs, I really just hear The Furious Seasons. David’€™s husky but melodic vocals are dusted with adept backing harmonies, augmented by musical passages that seem to feel like a more organic E Street band. The songs can be haunting or joyous, or can scream in your face or let you kick back and let your soul get caressed by what is. Whoever influenced them, their main influence in songwriting is being unafraid – not merely pushing the envelope, but shredding it. “Bad Man” is a great example – the story of a tortured soul told with a gritty folk grove. That song is sandwiched between the dramatically edgy oldies punk of “Summer Rain”€ and the tongue-in-cheek joy of the jazzy-fueled “€œFull Discloser”. This is one of those types of bands who makes refreshing music by having a broad palette in musical, lyrical, genre, and influential tastes, and manages to weave it into a mosaic that is undeniably, uniquely their own sound. – MW
http://www.thefuriousseasons.com

FuriousSeasons