Tony Furtado - These Chains

Music Reviews Tony Furtado
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Tony Furtado - These Chains

Tony Furtado’s résumé lists collaborations with everyone from Earl Scruggs and Alison Krauss to Béla Fleck and Buckethead. A truly unique talent, he apparently now finds himself at a point in his career where simply being known as one of the greatest living banjoists and slide guitar players isn’t quite scratching where it itches. He possesses a strong (if somewhat indistinctive) voice, and he wisely plays to his strengths, often centering the songs on his exceptional instrumental skills without allowing them to steal the focus from his arrangements. And with an accomplished backing band following him through driving electric blues, serene country-folk, swampy Southern rock, and polished Americana, he sounds equally comfortable in whatever stylistic water he chooses to wade. But while his arrangements are clever and his melodies memorable, the resulting songs seem too obviously built upon a prefab stylistic template, littered with predictable clichés: trains, lost loves, horses, drifters, etc. Notable exceptions—such as the affecting tribute to his deceased father in “Oh Father Mine”—showcase a songwriter capable of tapping into a wealth of insight and emotional depth.

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