Folk Songs for the Curious Few[CD]
Michael Mazzarella's first solo foray Grey Over An Autumn Winter was an exercise in capturing a mood wrapped around eleven brown-leaf and gray-tinged songs. Judging by the reviews and feedback, Michael's seamless song cycle was a success. The ex-Rook is back with a collection of original songs steeped in the old tradition. Ballads, hymns and odes are delivered using simple guitars, piano, organ and sparse drumming. There's a song about a bygone relationship fallen through the cracks of life. There's a tale for a vagabond lover on the run. A gospel-esque offering about someones father - a blue-collar every-man's hero. One decries a presidential administration and a blues is an open letter for forgiveness. A couple have churchly overtones replete with an eminent chorus here, a 'hallelujah' exclamation there. Richard X. Heyman guests on two cuts recapturing the harmony magic he and Michael displayed on The Rooks debut CD. These are new folk songs written for anyone willing to listen. Folk Songs For The Curious Few. ____________________________________________________________ WHAT THE CRITICS SAY: It is perhaps Mazzarella's most eloquently regal, yet still somehow understated undertaking to date. Ten songs 'delivered using simple guitars, piano, organ and sparse drumming recorded on a throwback eight-track recorder,' to quote that press release again, gently tipping towards, yes, the Big Pink Band and 'White Album' Beatles as well in it's delicate keyboard and background vocal arrangements especially. To these ears however, the true undeniable gem in this entire collection is 'Shine a Little,' which somehow re-creates the deepest, most richly evocative soundscapes of The Rooks at their prime and peak... -Gary Gold/The Gary Gold Report- ______________________________________________________ As the erstwhile leader of the New York-based power pop ensemble, The Rooks, Michael Mazzarella has a powerful pedigree to fall back on. Nevertheless, his limited solo output - a mere three albums in ten years - has found him in down-turned singer/songwriter mode, a role that suits his melodic sensibilities just fine, thank you. His latest effort, the ambiguously titled Folk Songs for the Curious Few, is another impressive effort, an unassuming set of instantly engaging songs that find easy access to the cerebellum from first listen on. -Lee Zimmerman/Amplifier Magazine __________________________________________________________ The bulk of the 10 tracks are prayerful, keyboard-based confessionals with thoughtful lyrics wrapped around beautiful, affecting melodies sung in a voice that is alternately raw and understated. Whether proffering an "Open Letter of Sorry," reminiscing about "October on Bleecker" (the only non-ballad here), using a fragile falsetto lead vocal to power the verses of "Shine a Little" or doling out unforgettable choruses as he does on "In an Ocean" and "Hallelujah for the Hallelujah of Us," it's clear that this an unforgettable album from one of the finest singer/songwriters around. -John M. Borack/Goldmine Magazine _________________________________________________________ The songs contain a sweetness, an honesty, deliver a bite and display how much Mazzarella has matured as a songwriter. The songs are released with vocal approaches not heard in Mazzarella's previous work. From the opening Simon & Garfunkel-esque Recollections Of A Young Girl Gone to the chilling look at who we've become as a society commentary The Ballad Of Who Are We and throughout, this CD is a winner all the way. -Mike Hemmil/Blackout __________________________________________________________ Michael Mazzarella is a legend among power pop fans for his work with the Rooks. His solo career has concentrated on improving his songwriting abilities and his latest offering 'Folk Songs For The Curious Few' is similar to the last album 'Grey Over An Autumn Winter,' which presents a song cycle in somber tones. Vocals as sharp as ever, Mazzarella is sounding more like a mix of Colin Bluntone and Chris Bell on the opener 'Recollections of a Young Girl Gone.' Thankfully, the clouds part for the excellent mid-tempo 'October on Bleecker' with it's sweet strum and multi-tracked melody that mixes the Beatles and Big Star influences sure to please Rooks fans. -Powerpopaholic- _________________________________________________________.
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