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The Graham Album Review #2169

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The Furious Seasons: Every Morning at Five

(Independent release, as broadcast on WVIA-FM 9/27/2023)

Acoustic bands are not all that common outside of bluegrass and more traditional folk. But they do seem to be on the upswing, in terms of the number of recent album releases. This week, we have a new recording by an acoustic trio who have been at it for fifteen years, the Furious Seasons. Their new release, their fifth, is called Every Morning at Five.

The Furious Season is led my songwriter, guitarist and vocalist David Steinart, whose recording career goes back to the mid 1980s, when he headed a band called Pop Art, and then released 10 albums with the group Smart Brown Handbag up to 2002. Steinart has been leading the Furious Seasons since 2008, a band which also includes his brother Jeff Steinart on bass, and guitarist Paul Nelson. In their original configuration, they were more electric and included a drummer, but since their 2015 album My Love Is Strong they have moved to acoustic instrumentation, and became, in configuration, a kind of classic folk trio. But their songs tend to be somewhat more elaborate than what one might expect from a folk group. The Furious Seasons are based in Los Angeles, and their environs has served as a backdrop for some of their songs. And their last album, Home All Day, Home All Night, which we also featured in this review series, was created during the pandemic and the isolation that it brought on in their hometown, which found its way into the songs.

The new album turns toward more conventional, if you could call it that, songwriting material, mostly about love, and the complexity of relationships starting, ending and persisting amid a backdrop of circumstances. Much of the material is in waltz-time, which can impart a kind of classic folk quality. The group is self-contained, with Jeff Steinart adding some piano in places, and a touch of electric guitar here are there from Paul Nelson, who also does vocal harmonies. There’s also some hand percussion.

Opening is the title track, Every Morning At Five, a romantic story of an enduring love. <<>>

A Companionable Silence is another song celebrating a durable romance. <<>>

Over the Canyon is song of introspection, taking place presumably out in the wild, with uncertain weather, perhaps engendering self doubt. <<>>

It’s back to waltz time for a song called Watered Down with thoughts on waiting, perhaps in vain, for that ideal opportunity. <<>>

Abstract Art uses the style of painting as an analogy for a relationship perhaps on the rocks. <<>>

I’ll Take You On is a musically pretty composition that lyrically, is basically an old-fashioned love song in its direction.

Quite the opposite lyrically, is Do It All Again about the relationship that does not work out. <<>>

The album ends with The Shortest Day of the Year which is set on the winter solstice in Los Angeles. It again comes down to a relationship that may be fragile, but with hope the new year may bring better times. <<>>

Every Morning at Five, the new fifth release from the Los Angeles acoustic trio The Furious Seasons is a continuation of their previous albums. The musical setting is similar, as is the way the songs deal with the complexities of love and life. David Steinart and his colleagues create songs with thoughtful lyrics, with a musical setting that is ideal for that introspection, with the gentle acoustic instrumentation and the flowing quality of the 3/4 and 6/8 time signatures in which many of the songs were written. The playing is first-rate and David Steinert’s sometimes melancholy sounding vocals add to the moody texture of the music.

Our grade for sound quality is close to an “A” with the acoustic instruments treated with respect and a pleasant lack of unnecessary studio effects.

The Furious Seasons have established a high standard for an acoustic band, somewhat apart from the classic-style of the folk world. And they’re sticking with it on their new release.

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