Halfway There: A Look Back at Ten (Officially Released) Jim Fusco Rarities – PART ONE

By Chris Moore:

It will be difficult for 2009 to compete with last year’s music output, both here and abroad (so to speak).  Not only did 2008 see the release of incredible albums from bigtime artists (REM, Counting Crows, Coldplay…), but also saw the release of FMP artist Jeff Copperthite’s solo debut.  There were so many new albums released last year that I could hardly keep the release dates straight, and it really was a great year for new music.  Not all of it was amazing, but much of it was extremely enjoyable.

So, here comes 2009…

Thus far, there have been only a few notable releases in the new rock music world.  Bruce Springsteen started the year off strong with Working On A Dream.  Dan Auerbach’s debut solo release Keep It Hid was solid.  Recently, U2’s No Line On The Horizon drew a five-star rating from Rolling Stone (and questions marks from me…).  On the horizon, we now have Bob Dylan’s Together Through Life to look forward to, leaving the question: what do we new music fans have to do in the meantime?

That’s simple: look forward to the April 7th release of Jim Fusco‘s Halfway There!

The press release promises, “Halfway There may just be the best piece of music you purchase this year,” citing Fusco’s “attention to detail,” “organic effects,” and “warm sound.”  As there haven’t yet been any tracks leaked onto the web — either on Fusco’s offical site or by, um, other means 😉 — there is only one thing to do in the next two weeks as we wait for the official release…

Listen back to his previous albums!  [EDITOR’S NOTE: The new songs are now streaming online – click here.]

He has been quite a prolific artist, self-producing and self-releasing all of his previous albums.  There have been enough to merit a “best of” release in 2004.  Still, there are a lot of great tracks that have been overlooked by The Best of Jim Fusco, Vol. 1.  Thus, I’d like to share my top ten favorite (officially released) Jim Fusco rarities.

In no particular order, here goes…

Ten (Officially Released) Jim Fusco Rarities

1)  “It Makes Life Interesting” – A great song with a slow start, just drums and lead vocals.  The heartbeat of the rolling bass line makes it an instantly likeable song.  In private interviews, Fusco has made mention of a mentality that shaped his early high school through college years — namely, his response to the things he chose to do or situations he found himself in was “it makes life interesting.”  In a way, this song is a personal statement, carved out in a catchy, vocal-drenched three-minute song, ending appropriately as he sings, “And that is all that I’m going to say about that.”  Enough said, I suppose.

2)  “Mold Me” – I never understood why this track didn’t make it to the “best of.”  Privately, Jim admitted a degree of embarrassment with this track, but I immediately fell in love with it.  Fast-paced, distortion guitars, simple two-part vocals — it’s the perfect little rock package!  The song starts out at a breakneck pace, sounding like it may fly apart at any moment, and ends perfectly with a sudden stop and a fade into distortion.  It gets me going every time…

3)  “This Side Up” – Another album starter that became an instant favorite of mine, yet failed to make it to the “best of.”  For a long time, the lyrics to this song were posted on my door, next to my mirror.  I would see them in the morning as I combed my hair, and there was always something about the words that I found simple and optimistic, but very real.  And, as if the lyrics were not enough, this song features one of my favorite Fusco electric guitar solos.  Whatever he had experimented with while working on My Other Half had become fully realized by the recording of That’s All Jim — that much is apparent on this song.

4)  “I’m Gonna Find Out (About You)” – It’s built on a steady, driving beat, decorated nicely with keyboards and lush vocals.  What really stands out about this track is its combination of early Jim Fusco sound and an extended drum solo.  It’s not all that often that you find a Fusco track laced with an extended instrumental solo of any kind, and I’ve always been a fan of this one.  The structure of the song works well with the lyrics, as the instrumental portion of the song is almost 1/3 of the total running time of the song, which is perfect for a song about what happens “when I’m not around you.”

5)  “Ode to K” – The two disc album My Other Half was all about experimenting with sound and structure, as well as the overall artistry of the album — this much is apparent in the wide range of effects and vocal arrangements, as well as the cover art and booklet design.  “Ode to K” is a gem, one of only two times (both on this album) that Fusco used spoken word as the centerpiece of a song.  In this song (as opposed to “Here I Go Again,” the spoken-word album opener), he incorporates spoken word over traditional singing and a great musical arrangement.  It’s pure, very sincere, and I love it.

To Be Continued…

Click here for an exclusive sneak-peak at the album, now streaming online!

This is one in a series of acoustic cover songs, original music, and free mp3 downloads here on the Laptop Sessions Music Video Blog.

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