Tony Macsata's Beyond is a minimalist's dream. Guitar, bass and drums (and a brief smattering of keyboard) comprise the album's entire ensemble, and the record itself needs only five concise tracks to convey it's message. This is either a function of Macsata's talent for managing his songs and keeping them in constant motion, or a result of studio time being damned expensive. Either way, after listening to Beyond, you feel like you have gotten everything you wanted from Tony Macsata. Then again, this could also be a result of a producer's input, which in this case happens to come from Aaron Katz, songwriter, percussionist, and vocalist for Percy Hill. Katz also lends his percussion talents to Macsata's album, though it's style is quite a bit different from his work with Percy Hill. The album also features Patrick Dole on bass and Julie Macsata on background vocals. Though the album's strength is in it's simplicity, it also can be one of it's faults. For example, the album's opener, "West Again," begins with a basic four-chord verse progression that you feel like you've heard before. But the tune thankfully drops into a chorus that slides through brilliant harmonies by Tony and Julie. Julie's voice adds a great deal of power to Tony's lyrics whenever she appears on the album. The highlight of the album is the halfway-point song, "Soul Set." Tony has the chance to display a greater portion of his vocal range, and Dole's bass line pumps energy through a very groove-oriented verse and chorus. The record also ends on a high note with "One World." The song's acoustic foundation is in the vein of Jack Johnson, as is it's ecologically friendly message; the album closes with Tony and Julie repeating the lyric "And we have just one world." The record, though short, establishes Tony Macsata as an exceptional singer-songwriter and should spark a great deal of interest in him from the Connecticut local music scene. -Keith McBride, Performer Magazine.
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