For all those around us…a review of Those Around Us

Originally posted 2012-02-13 20:40:35. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Jeff Copperthite:

Wait a minute…who is this?

Why yes it’s Jeff!  I hope you missed me.  I for one have missed my contributions to the web site, but I am back to post a review – a review of Jim Fusco’s incredible album Those Around Us.

As one of many eager fans of Jim Fusco (and as a good friend), I was thrilled as always to hear that he was releasing a new album.  I have been among the people that are privileged enough to have heard the evolution of Jim’s work – from Walkin’ in the Dark to Halfway There.  He went from using a MIDI program to track his music to dedicating space in his own home strictly for the incredible collection of instruments, microphones, recorders, drum sets, and of course his guitars.

So naturally when his CD release party came about for Those Around Us, I was the fifth person to purchase the CD.  I was hoping for a limited edition numbering on it, but that’s ok.  I’ll just get it from his next album Three Quarters There.

I don’t write reviews often, but I’m required to use a set up.  Now for the album review.

Those Around Us is an album that continues to make me say “How does Jim top himself?”  Every time Jim comes out with another collection of his work and recording, he manages to raise his own level in such a stunning way.  Jim has really pulled off an incredible collection of songs that showcase his songwriting ability, sound engineering, and instrumentation.  I always joke with Jim when I listen to a new album “How did you get all those guys to sound like you?”

The starting track is called “Run My Way” and starts off with a soft opening acoustic guitar.  Then in kicks the lead guitar riff, followed by a drum fill.  The album kicks off with this great song with a super catchy chorus.  Jim manages to work in the right effect at all parts of the song – whether it be the phased electric during the verse, or the stereo panned vocal track.  The song even tosses in a whammy bar.  The outro to the song is like the intro – gradually reducing the instrumentation until it’s just the acoustic guitar.  It is a great opening track – something Jim has a knack for.

The next song “Choose Your Words (carefully)” is another equally strong track.  Jim is putting more effort into making his guitar sound stand out, yet work perfectly in the background of his songs.  In this song, everything blends so well.  The chorus of the song stands out a bit more than the rest of the song – not a flaw by any means.  Just like the previous track, very catchy.  I like how the pre-chorus lead guitar changes ever so slightly to lead perfectly into the “You say those words…” line.

“Don’t Give Up” is an interesting track because Jim has made the song sound full, but there are some typical elements missing – again, not a flaw.  Jim uses only one vocal track for this song, and throws in some delayed vocals during the verse.  The chorus is once again quite catchy.  One minor blip is during the instrument break – the song seems to lose its drive.  The chorus in the song is another catchy one as well.  The line “Don’t stop don’t ever give up on me girl” is complemented nicely by the instrumentation.  The 12-string guitar also stands out in this song.

Jim’s first fast track is “Opportunities”.  This song reminds me of another song from Masters of the Universe called “Only a Dream” during the chorus.  The bass in this song really pops to me (as a bassist).  Jim effectively displays his vocal prowess superbly in this song.  He mixes oohs in during the chorus, and double tracks his vocals during most of the song.  The instrument break is absolutely incredible in this song.  It really should be considered a vocal break as it gradually builds to the end.  A really terrific song in the clean-up spot.

“Good Enough” is the next song.  Jim succeeds in having the music blend perfectly with his vocals.  The builds leading into the chorus are spot on.  He lets his voice do most of the work in this song.  The guitar solo is very strong in this song.

Jim typically does not do very many down tempo songs in his albums.  “Chameleon” is very unique in Jim’s repertoire.  The song works so well that it makes me wonder why he hasn’t written other songs in a similar vein.  The xylophone and electric piano make a very solid chorus riff and build into the nice backing vocals.  I love the electric guitar work in this song as well – the offbeat strumming that Jim does make the song work quite well.  The fade out seems a bit quick on the song, however.  I think it would’ve benefited from a good 15-20 seconds in that department.

I think my 2nd favorite song in the album is the next track “Look Around”.  I almost don’t want to write too much about this song.  The vocals work so superbly at all points, the bass punches, the guitar work is incredible, and the percussion pushes the song forward.  Jim manages to work in a guitar slide to a few tracks, and a lap steel guitar to boot – including the guitar solo.  This song is so impressive – a clear standout.

“Anything for Love” is another “fast” song.  I am a big fan of the bass line of this song.  Jim’s vocal work stands out in this song.  The pitch range in the chorus may sound a bit odd at first, but it catches on really quick.  This one you’ll find yourself singing in the car.  The guitars work solidly in the background, but given the vocals, they seem like they’re there simply to let Jim know what notes belong to the backing vocals.  They work very well in the song.  Again, the bass line makes a great hook.

“Helpless” is my favorite song lyric-wise.  As a fellow married man, I share the feeling of the song.  Jim’s vocal work is at it again making beautiful harmonies during the chorus and echoes.  The guitar tracks are wonderfully played – even though at times there’s a lot going on, it works very well.

“In Your Head” is the third “fast” song on the album.  The chorus is catchy and the instrumentation drives the song very well.  In the interlude after the 2nd chorus, there is something about the vocals that seems out of place to me.  I can’t quite put my finger on it, but it is after the line “up front with me”.  The song’s ending is great, but the way it ends makes it seem like there should be more.  It’s probably the music theorist in me.  It actually works as a great way to lead in the next song, however.

“Follow You Home” is the next song on the album.  This song reminds me most of “classic” Jim – a driven quarter note piano track that is constant in the entire song.  His vocal work is great.  I absolutely love the chorus and the interlude he places in the chorus.  The guitar in the background complements the song quite well.

My favorite song on the album – as has been the case for the last four albums – is again the last track.  Again, everything just works together so well.  Jim’s multitracked lyrics are perfect, as is the electric keyboard that reminds me so much of The Doobie Brothers.  The distorted guitar lead is another great compliment.  I think the catchy outro is what makes the song for me.  Having everything come together and lead the album out just ends the album on such a high note.  This you’ll find yourself singing along to even on the first listen.

To summarize, Those Around Us is an incredible work by Jim Fusco.  How he continues to top himself is an attestation to his ability to improve his own standards and methods.  What amazes me continually is how I say “Wow this album is the best I’ve heard” and then the next one is even better.  Jim has succeeded in what he does best – creating a great rock album that sounds great at any volume with enough hooks and catches to keep you listening to the entire album over and over again.  Jim has really outperformed himself.   You will not be disappointed in this album.

 

—–

If you are curious, my life has treated me well since my last session despite the loss of my Youtube channel.  Due to a variety of copyright flags I was forced to close my account.  Jim can attest to the annoyance that was.  What I will do in the meantime is re-upload some of my old videos and re-publish the pages when I do so.  Hopefully in the future I will begin to post new videos – if my daughter will actually let me do so!

Until then, buy Those Around Us and enjoy it!  My daughter loves it and can sing along to 4 of the songs already.  Maybe Jim will let me cover a song from the album…

Click to go to the Those Around Us page and buy the album for $10 with Free Shipping!

“Halfway There” (Original song by Jim Fusco) – The Open Mic Sessions

Originally posted 2013-10-09 08:00:18. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Jim Fusco:

Welcome again to the Open Mic Sessions with me, Jim Fusco!

Today, I bring you the title track to my 2009 album, “Halfway There”.  This is a very special video for me, as this original song live video was selected as one of the top three Instagram videos in the Sam Ash music store open mic video contest!  From there, it went on to win the national Open Mic video contest title!  I was given a $100 gift card to Sam Ash and I’m so glad an original song of mine got that kind of recognition.  It was even featured on Sam Ash’s homepage once it won!

“Halfway There” was a concept I had for an album.  Basically, I was growing up and had to come to terms with getting a job, getting married, and potentially giving up some of the lofty goals I had for myself in previous years.  So, a lot of that album has to do with that sentiment.

But, you know something?  I realized along the way that I’m pretty happy where things ended up.  I realized that I didn’t really want to spend all of my days and nights trying to get gigs, living in perpetual poverty, and holding down some menial job until I hit it big.  Now that I have a normal “day job”, it’s given me the flexibility to  have a nice home and to get some of the guitars that I’ve always wanted.  And, from everything I’ve heard and read, fame isn’t really all it’s cracked-up to be.  I hope to make a name for myself with these Laptop Sessions acoustic cover song music videos online (and maybe get recognized for it someday), but that’s something I can do in my free time.  Problem is, like everyone else that’s married and has a house, I don’t have much free time!

Anyway, I hope you enjoy what I’ve been able to do on my little free time lately.  Going to these open mic nights has brought me out of my comfort zone, but its also ignited my love for playing music again.  I’ve met some interesting people, too.  Stay tuned for more, as I continue to dig into my catalog of original songs and play at open mics around the state.



“Opportunities” (Original song by Jim Fusco) – The Open Mic Sessions

Originally posted 2013-09-18 08:00:46. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Jim Fusco:

Welcome everyone to another installment of the Open Mic Sessions with Jim Fusco!  Today, I bring you another session from my gig at Sam Ash Music Store in New Haven, CT back on April 3rd, 2013.  I went with my brother Mike while he was visiting home for his birthday.  I remember wanting to go to another venue, but chose Sam Ash because they gave me a $10 gift card just for playing!  Yeah, I go where the “money” is…

Anyway, it gave me an opportunity to play another original song from my 2012 album, “Those Around Us”.  This is one of the faster tracks on the album, “Opportunities”, which features a great drum track from my brother Mike.  As we know, tracks like that are great for pairing-down into the famous “Laptop Sessions” style of performing- just me and an acoustic guitar!

So, I hope you enjoy my original song, “Opportunities”.  Stay tuned as I bring you more of the “Open Mic Sessions” here on the Laptop Sessions acoustic cover songs and original music video blog!



“Tuning In” (Original Song by Jim Fusco)

Originally posted 2011-11-11 00:41:03. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Jim Fusco:

Welcome to another edition of the Laptop Sessions with me, Jim Fusco!  Tonight, I bring you an original song that first appeared on my 2009 album, “Halfway There”.  Let’s get the promo stuff out of the way first: You can buy the album “Halfway There” with 12 original songs on my website at http://jimfusco.com/albums/halfway-there.html.  I play all of the instruments on the album and sing all the vocal parts, though there are a couple of guest appearances throughout.  The album, which you can buy on iTunes as well as on CD, features a beautiful album cover painting from Ben Quesnel.  I made him a website for his original artwork at http://bqartstudio.com.  The album cover ties the whole album together- the feeling of being only “halfway there” in life.

“Tuning In”, tonight’s original song music video, is about two people that are having a tough time finding time for each other.  As we all grow up and start to work for a living (after graduating school, hopefully), we find it hard to fit in all of the things we were accustomed to doing.  I know I found it difficult.  All of a sudden, your days are completely filled.  Plus, when you get home, there are chores to do around the house, plus cleaning, cooking, and the laundry.  No time is left over for anything fun anymore!  My future wife and I were in that situation for a while.  We eventually made everything work, but for a time, we would barely ever see each other.

I can recall the exact moment when I came up with the idea for this song, “Tuning In’.  Every week, we would get together and watch the TV show “Boston Legal”.  But, during this time period, we were both very busy, as I mentioned earlier.  I recall seeing a pattern: the ONLY time we’d see each other was to watch this one-hour long TV show!  Thus the line, “I’m tuning you in an hour a week…”  Of course, looking back on it all, I’m sure I was exaggerating a bit.  But, like I said, it was tough getting used to being so busy all of the time.  We went from spending every waking moment together to only seeing each other when all the chores, homework, and day jobs were done…hardly ever.

I chose to do “Tuning In” tonight for a few reasons:

First, I like the song!  Of course I do- I wrote it, right?  But, this one always gets me because I love the style.  I came up with that interesting strumming pattern (kind of start-stop thing I do with the guitar) and it’s got some cool chords thrown in there.  Plus, I think it’s one of my best choruses up to that point in my musical career.  It’s got a good hook and in the recording, I was able to use a neat vocal effect, too.  I got three vocal background parts and recorded each of them twice.  The result was a nice full effect that I borrowed from Bareknaked Ladies- they used the technique on their “Barenaked Ladies Are Me” album (specifically the song, “Bank Job”).

The second reason I chose “Tuning In” as my original song of the night was because I’m not quite ready to debut a new song from my upcoming album, “Those Around Us”.  Yes, all of the songs are recorded, mixed, and mastered.  But, I’m waiting for the album cover (again painted by Ben Quesnel- and it’s AMAZING) so I can produce the discs.  I’m so excited, but I want to debut Laptop Sessions acoustic music videos of the new songs once I have a release date set for the new album.  I’ll keep you posted- it’s going to be soon!

I hope you enjoy my original song, “Tuning In”, another step forward (in my opinion) as a songwriter and producer.  And I hope you’ll check out the album “Halfway There”, as well- it would mean the world to me if you listened (and bought, of course) the album.  Let me know what you think of “Tuning In” in the comments section!