Footprints

Joel Cuzzi

Independent release, 2019

http://joelcuzzi.com/home

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 01/03/2020

A California folk troubadour, Joel Cuzzi has spent quite a bit of time around the punk scene, and Footprints is even dedicated to Tony Sly of No Use For A Name fame. Sadly and very unexpectedly, Sly passed away in 2012, tragically ending the bond that carried the two across several tours and even had Cuzzi playing on several of Sly's solo albums. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

“Help Is On The Way” starts the record with quaint keys before a blast of acoustic strumming and vocal harmonies enter the lush, singer-songwriter setting, and “Bread And Water” follows with a calmer setting and campfire-esque folk sounds, where expressive vocals from his contributors unfold with much heartfelt emotion.

Near the middle, “Shortest Pier” is nearly a cappella with just a lone acoustic guitar lightly contributing, while “Machinations” leaves vocals out of the equation completely with six string acrobatics. This then goes right into one of the fullest tunes present, the louder “The Sunrise,” where a subtle crunch and gritty approach reveals some very obvious punk attitude in the album highlight.

Towards the end, “Retreat” brings us some of the best vocal harmonies, and many voices converge on the rhythmic and playful “In The Arms Of Strangers.” “Made To Last” ends the listen with much sincerity in a tune very obviously written about Tony Sly's legacy and serves as an ideal exit to this touching listen.

Cuzzi takes help from Jared Stinson of Sic Waiting and Morty Lopez of The Kegels, and their vocal work – along with Cuzzi's sturdy pipes and forthright song craft – make Footprints an intimate, thoughtful, and extremely cautious listen that fans of the more forceful side of folk music will certainly appreciate. It's also a good time for aging punks who traded their Doc Martens in for New Balance shoes and sing the praises of Tim Barry, Chuck Ragan, and Corey Branan.

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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