July 17, 2013, 11:32 amWe're halfway through the year, so it seems like a good time to stop and ponder the question: Are there any new music releases that have passed beneath the radar these past six months?
Sure there are, and one of the juiciest and most joyous is likely alternative rock band Guster's "Acoustic Live" release. It opens with a fan-favorite, the nostalgic "Backyard" from their 2003 "Keep it Together." For those who appreciate hand-drumming, fun fiddle, cool keyboards and artfully played harmonica, this one's for you.
An exuberant acoustic version of hit single "Do You Love Me" from their more recent "Easy Wonderful" follows. And, did you know Guster has released six albums…plus an assortment of EP's? What's great about "Live Acoustic" is not only the opportunity to get quickly acquainted with Guster's large repertoire via just this one album, but also, the strength of the material here. Are we sure this is acoustic, not electric? Yeah, a lot of the tracks are _that_ good. Deceptively easy to listen to at first blush, the more you listen to songs like "Long Way Down," for instance, the more riveting they become.And, absolutely stellar is Guster's performance of their hit single "Satellite," included here. KINK listeners will especially love the full, rich sound of the acoustic arrangement with wild, fantastic fiddle that takes off at key moments including some well-placed pizzicato at the finale'.
See for yourself: "Satellite" from "Live Acoustic"
Great vocal harmonies and unusual percussion are just a couple of things that set this band apart; for you drum and backbeat enthusiasts out there, percussion is lively and interesting on all of the sixteen tracks found on "Live Acoustic."
Guster band members met as freshman while attending Tufts University in 1991. They wrote a few songs, and began performing locally. Appearing on David Letterman after releasing "Lost and Gone Forever" in 1999, their "Amsterdam" single from the 2003 "Keep it Together" also received major airplay.
Amsterdam - original electric version:
They received "Album of the Year" at the Boston Music Awards for their 2006 "Ganging Up on the Sun," which included "Satellite."
Guster are: Ryan Miller, lead and backing vocals, guitar, bass, piano, banjo, harmonica and ukulele; Adam Gardner, lead vocals, guitar, bass, keyboard, banjo and trumpet; Brian Rosenworcel, drums and percussion; and Luke Reynolds, backing vocals, guitar, bass, banjo and keyboard. Guitarist and vocalist Adam Gardner and his wife co-founded "Reverb," an organization devoted to helping make tours within the music industry more environmentally sound. Guster are on the road a lot and are currently touring with Barenaked Ladies and BenFolds Five & Boothby Graffoe. They maintain a close relationship with their fans that includes selling a lot of their music by word-of-mouth, and often humorous moments of audience participation.
To sum up: lots to love here
An intensely focused rendition of the serious "Rocket Ship" from their 1997 "Goldfly" release elicits audience appreciation that's palpable in the recording. Some great energy on that-there jam, but you're also likely to love the optimistic, Saturday-morning feel of "Rise and Shine," originally released on an EP in 2009.
The generous track listing of "Live Acoustic" closes out with "This Could All Be Yours" from "Easy Wonderful."
This Could All Be Yours: Bing Lounge
In short, all of the songs here impart the heady excitement that only comes from live performances. Guster played recently at the beautiful Santa Barbara Bowl - if only we coulda' been there! No worries, Guster made sure we didn't miss a beat, and our seats have great acoustics, to boot.
To buy their music: https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/guster/id148727
Upcoming Guster tour dates: http://www.guster.com/?page_id=72
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