“Wishful Thinking” (Wilco Cover)

Originally posted 2009-01-20 00:35:53. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

For Wilco chords, CLICK HERE!

By Chris Moore:

Welcome back for another installment of “Chris Moore Monday” here at the Laptop Sessions.  I’m excited to bring you another installment in my little Wilco project.  I decided a couple months ago that I would like to record one song from each of their albums — since there are six, I figured that would be a reasonable goal.

I’ve already recorded from their first album (“Box of Letters” from A.M.), third album (“How to Fight Loneliness” from Summerteeth), fourth album (“I Am Trying To Break Your Heart” from Yankee Hotel Foxtrot), and now I’m happy to present “Wishful Thinking,” a track from their fifth album, A Ghost is Born.

This album took me a little time to get into, but once I did, I really grew to love the songs.  There aren’t really any songs on the album that stand out as single-worthy; in fact, I don’t believe they even released a single.  But, as you become more and more familiar with the songs, you begin to pick up on the subtle nuances in both the instrumentation and the vocals.  Considering the album’s twelve tracks, I thought this one would work best as a solo acoustic number.  In addition, I think the vocals are a particularly good match for my range and style, so I’m always excited when that happens…

Although I chose this song, my instant favorite track on the album was “Company In My Back.”  I didn’t even know what that meant at first, but I loved the song, so I had to do some research so I could fully understand what I was singing along to!  I may yet record that track (coincidentally the song that follows “Wishful Thinking”) for a future “Members Only” video or a surprise non-Monday video.  After all, with so many great bands and songs that we haven’t covered, I don’t feel like I can spend too much time on any one artist, even if they’re one of my favorites…

So, I’ll hold myself back from recording my final two Wilco songs of this little “project” at least for a while.  I did finally buy the second Wilco studio album today with a Best Buy gift card from Christmas.  That was exciting, if a bit sad, since that’s the final gap in my Wilco collection.  But, it’s a double album, so it’s a sizeable gap and I’m sure I’ll enjoy it.  I’ve only had time to listen to the first disc, and I was distracted for part of it, so I think I’ll put it on as I get ready for bed.

I should share that the second CD I bought with the gift card today is Warren Zevon’s 1991 album Mr. Bad Example.  Apparently, this is the “Encore: Back in Print Imprint” version.  If I recall properly, this album was such a flop when it came out that it went out of print until recently.  I couldn’t be more excited, as my second favorite Zevon album of all time is The Envoy, his eighties album that was so poorly received that his record label dropped him.  And I love that one!  What a shame.

On a personal note, outside of my DVD player temporarily going haywire last night, I had a really relaxing weekend.  For those of you who don’t teach and/or have work that you bring home, that’s also code for “I didn’t really get much work done.”  Oh, well.  The week will begin soon enough, and as good ole T.S. Eliot wrote, “There will be time.  There will be time.”  I hope so, because I’m going into midterms with a slightly larger pile of work than I hoped for and my BEST portfolio on the horizon…

Oh, and I almost forgot.  If you haven’t already, you should check out my review of Meade Skelton’s new single “My Loudoun County Home,” which I posted yesterday.  Jim and I are quite excited to have our music reviews section expanding, so go ahead and read them all!  Or, if you don’t have time for that, then just get yourself back here tomorrow night for another awesome “Jim Fusco Tuesday.”

See you next session!

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.

 

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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!

“The Voice” (Moody Blues Cover)

Originally posted 2008-01-27 23:00:32. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Jim Fusco:

And now, pinch-hitting for an under-the-weather Jeff, is Jim Fusco!  I’m sitting in to bring you yet another great acoustic cover song music video here on the best music blog around: The Laptop Sessions!  Tonight, I bring you one of my favorite songs from the Moody Blues, “The Voice”, from their #1 album, “Long Distance Voyager”.

Actually, this tune is climbing up my all-time favorites list as it has all the criteria for a song I would love: a catchy tune, faster paced, that glorious late 70’s, early 80s sound that’s not too overdone, and a great guitar solo.  Of course, I’ve stripped all of that out in my version here, except for the tune and the tempo, but I think it gives a different take on the song as a whole.  And that’s what you should expect from all of my cover songs- a different take on my favorite songs of all time.  And, if you like the same songs I like, you’re sure to love my original music, as well!  Visit my website at http://jimfusco.com and take a listen!

I actually recorded a full version of this song a few weeks ago, complete with synthesizers! I think it sounds just like the original and was a lot of fun to try recreating the sounds.  There’s something about that synthesizer sound that the Moody Blues used.  They hired Yes keyboardist Pat Moraz and updated their sound for the late 70s.  Of course, they didn’t have Mike Pinder’s mellotron anymore, so they had to have something to replace it.  I know the songs probably sound very “80s” to everyone now (“The Voice” is very heavily based on synthesizers), but to me, the music has worn pretty well.  There are some 80s songs that I can’t even listen to.  The synthesizers sound so fake and dated.  But, the music of the Moody Blues during the Pat Moraz years doesn’t sound embarrassing like those other songs from the same time period (like the synths the Beach Boys used on “Love You”).

But, again, my acoustic cover song versions take away the synthesizers (and everything else, for that matter) and give you the song in its raw form.  I want people to know what the song really sounds like.  It’s interesting, though- you’ll actually hear all of the other parts in your head as you listen to my cover video.

By the way- if you haven’t heard “Long Distance Voyager” yet, please get a copy!  It’s an amazing album and features some of my favorite songs of all time in “The Voice” and “Gemini Dream”.  Plus, there are great contributions from drummer Graeme Edge (“22,000 Days”) and Ray Thomas (“Veteran Cosmic Rocker”).

Okay, look for a new cover song music video from Jeff tomorrow and again on “Original Wednesday”, as no matter the circumstance- you’re getting a Session a Day in ’08!


“Looking To You” (Indie Music – by songwriter Jim Fusco)

Originally posted 2008-01-16 12:01:04. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Jim Fusco:

Thanks again to Jeff for coming up with “Original Wednesday”, as I think it’s a great way to work some of our own material in here!

Today, I’m doing one of my songs from an album I made back in late 2003 called “That’s All…”. I couldn’t stop listening to this song (yes, I listen to my own music quite a bit- I think I should be making music I actually like listening to!) so I decided to make it my first non-Christmas original here on the Laptop Sessions.

I like the way the verse isn’t very “standard”. I don’t exactly know what prompted my creation of it, but it’s always stuck out as both unique and meaningful.

Problem is that I don’t really remember the meaning, either! Actually, I can take a pretty educated guess: Basically, the song says, “I gave you everything. You could’ve had anything. But when I ask for a little something in return, you tell me I’m greedy and hold it against me.”

I must’ve felt this way, as most people do in a relationship at one time or another. I think it made for great song material!

Well, as they say, a Laptop Session a day keeps the doctor away! They don’t? Well, anyway, here’s your daily dose of great music from Jim, Chris, and Jeff!