THREEFIFTY – Gently Among the Coals
This CD “Gently Among the Coals” by Threefifty founders Brett Parnell and Geremy Schulick is sure to one day be remembered as one of the classic good timing Americana/Folk/Alt-Rock CD’s of recent time. It’s pure rocking Americana magic the way it used to be, full of cautionary tales, and a passion for life and love of life itself. But wait, there is so much more to this band besides Americana. I can also hear traces of Alternative Rock, Jam Band and Rocking Folk. From the first seconds of Track 1 ”Crossing State Lines” to the final moments of “Freedmen” Gently Among the Coals pretty much hits on all cylinders with an impassioned musical landscape full of power and happy go luck overtones. One thing that impressed me the most about this album/band is the sheer impassioned rocking folk vibe one gets. There’s an undeniable Americana ambience that really sucks in the listener. The CD is professional grade any way you look at it – very professional with a sort of Nashville aftertaste. The instrumentation and tones give you that genuine feel of good music and writing from a generation ago. It also has a solid feel reminiscent of music popular in the early nineties as well. This band reminds me of Jesse Malin, Justin Townes Earle, Wilco, Neal Casal, and Jason Isbell. Despite this I can also hear more modern Lifehouse, Howie Day, Vertical Horizon and dare I say Mumford and Sons. All members in his band are solid musically. Kudos goes out to the amazing songwriting and superb vocal feel.
Each style, each song on this CD expresses something a bit different than the other – a complete moment if you will. To me it’s comparable to looking into then suddenly experiencing what it is to be inside a snapshot of time. Some of the snapshots are silly or laugh-out-loud funny, some serious and passionate. Others are of contentment, exuberance, sadness, reverence. It’s a time capsule of time really. “Gently Among the Coals” presents 13 timeless gems and gently creates the classic pop musical environment right away with Track 1 “Crossing State Lines” with its strong intro groove, and musical exuberance. This song benefits well from a powerful generation of musicians with similar interests in classic rock but varying tastes still appealing to contemporary folk-rock fans. The keys and notes fall smoothly yet so effortlessly and with every second that passes as if these notes and words were meant for each other. The acoustic and slow rhythmic pace of many tracks can quickly shift and change at a moment’s notice making music somewhat unpredictable in placed. Overall this CD is rich with musical flavors, textures and top tiered playing from all involved.
My favorite tracks: “The Door, “Unanchored” and “Crossing State Lines”
“Gently Among the Coals” wraps up a well-rounded 12 track set that delivers an interesting cross section of classic Americana Folk-Rock, and Classic Alternative-Rock. Despite this it is accessible to modern day listeners as well. How is this possible? Only an experienced artist armed with an honest, genuine, sincere approach can pull it off. Parnell and Schulick are also backed up by some solid players and co-writers, a solid production instinct via two brilliant musical masterminds.