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The Furious Seasons: Home All Day, Home All Night
by George Graham
(Turn Up Records, as broadcast on WVIA-FM 9/8/2021)
The COVID pandemic profoundly affected life in countless often-unexpected ways in work, job-loss, school, family gatherings, worship, vacations and the like. For many there have been the video conferences, and adapting to working from home. Some things of course, may never be the same afterward. For musicians and artists, especially those who depend on performing before audiences, it certainly caused major hardships. A whole cottage industry has popped up of virtual performances, most of them not very satisfying, but in many cases it was all we had at the time. It also led to a flourishing of home recordings, made possible by easily available technology, and a proliferation of virtual bands, recording their parts separately to be combined with the technology. Interestingly, this led to a kind of logical extension of that technique, with several jazz albums with virtual big bands.
Songwriters tend to be inspired by their surroundings, and not surprisingly, there have a bunch of songs brought on by the paradigm change caused by COVID. John McCutcheon did an especially memorable album called Cabin Fever that we reviewed last year, and there were the satirical songs of Carla Ulbrich. The isolation of the pandemic also gave artists time they would put to work into writing new songs. This week, we have another pandemic-inspired album, this one by the Los Angeles folk trio, The Furious Seasons, an project called Home All Day, Home All Night.
The Furious Seasons’ principal songwriter and lead vocalist is David Steinhart, who has had a long career, going back to 1984 when he headed a band called Pop Art, then doing ten albums from 1993 to 2002 with Smart Brown Handbag. After a couple of solo albums, David Steinhard and his brother Jeff Steinhart co-founded the Furious Seasons in 2008, with guitarist Paul A. Nelson. Originally, a more conventional electric rock band, the group evolved into an acoustic folky trio, with minus drums, and with Jeff Steinhart switching to upright acoustic bass.
Made during the pandemic, the new album was recorded virtually with the three members recording separately largely from their respective home studios. Interestingly, the with the virtual recording, the Furious Seasons go for a more of a band sound with drums, played by David Steinhart, and some electric guitar here and there.
The album’s title, Home All Day, Home All Night is obviously suggestive of the restrictions of of the COVID pandemic, as are several of the songs, often reflecting on it without coming out and saying it in so many words.
Opening the album is a track along those lines called Is This Happening. It’s one of the more electric songs on the album, and makes a reference to a “new world.” <<>>
Many of the songs on this album are in waltz time, adding to its folky quality. Down for Me is a kind of love song about making a trip to see one’s lover. <<>>
We Finally Get Fall is a plaintive song of parting that is nicely done. <<>>
One of the more attractive tracks on the album is We Go Down, another variation of a love song, going with one’s significant other to a special spot. <<>>
Another of the more electric arrangements comes on the song Long Vacation which seems to be about trying to find a new life elsewhere. <<>>
The North Valley is sort of the opposite from Long Vacation about being drawn back to back home. <<>>
The album contains one cover, David Bowie’s Changes which seems like an odd choice for an album like this, like but the band gives it their own distinctive, folky spin, and the results are a pleasant surprise. <<>>
The album ends with 7420 a description of a date – the Fourth of July during the height of the pandemic last year – with all the disruptions and uncertainty that it brought. <<>>
Home All Day, Home All Night, the new album by The Furious Seasons, with the compositions of veteran composer David Steinhart, a veteran of over 20 albums with various groups, was created in the midst of the pandemic, which provided both a background to some of the songs, and to the isolated recording process. The quarantine also provided impetus and opportunity for Steinhart’s composing, with this being the group’s second album in a year. The group’s folky sound remains as appealing as ever. This album is a little more electric that their release from last year La Fonda but it’s hardly a full-out rock album. The lyrics are often contemplative, plaintive and sometimes just straight love songs.
Our sound quality grade is close to an “A.” The recording has good clarity, a warm natural quality and is devoid of unnecessary studio effects.
While the pandemic has been the source of much woe and suffering, it has also made necessary a new paradigm, and in a perverse way, provided inspiration for creative folks. The Furious Seasons’ new album is an example of something good that came out of a difficult time.
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