We’re leaving this morning for another SunRype TRi-KiDS adventure, this time to Ottawa. Before then, however, I want to slip in an easy 30 minute run (5k) prior to spending the next seven hours in the car with the fam jam. Call this my “calm before the storm”, if you will. And this morning calm is brought to you by the newest album by Marco Benevento, ‘The Story of Fred Short‘.
I have to keep this album on the down low as HRH would be pissed if she finds out I’ve already listened to this album before her. She absolutely adored the ‘Between the Needles & the Nightfall‘ album that was gifted to her by Uncle Lance and Auntie Amy. So now she’s on the hunt for this album to add to her collection.
So, yeah, this post is all secret like.
Released just this past April, and divided into two sides, ‘The Story Of Fred Short’ oozes with Marco’s relentless creative spirit in songwriting, performance and production. Side One is stuffed with mesmerizing dance rock gold. Marco doubles down on the groove – using a rare Casio drum machine that’s become a recurring muse in addition to a live drummer. Side Two tells the real and imagined story of Fred Short in seven chapters of wild, heavy rock n’ roll. The story goes that Benevento became increasingly intrigued by the namesake of the road where he lives and records in upstate New York, Fred Short. After learning that Short had been a local Native American Shaman, and acquiring a piano purportedly once owned by Short, Benevento was inspired to begin writing songs about the legendary figure. Short was a Native American man known for throwing musical bacchanals on the property Marco now lives on, in Woodstock, NY.
Pretty nifty, right?
Jazz keyboardist-turned-indie pop auteur Marco recorded and self-produced the album at his Woodstock studio (also named Fred Short). He’s joined here by his core band of Dave Dreiwitz on bass (Ween) and Andy Borger on drums (Tom Waits, Norah Jones). This is only Marco’s second time singing on one of his albums, and it’s the first time he’s put guitars on his original songs (recorded by friend Brad Barr of The Barr Brothers/The Slip).
In typical unpredictable Benevento style, the album actually begins with four cuts not included in his “Fred Short” piece. These are all lyrical, hooky songs featuring old-school-sounding keyboards, a mix of real and programmed drums, and in the case of ‘Heavy Metal Floating Upstream‘, fuzzed-out electric guitars; the first time Benevento has incorporated guitars into his music. The rest of the album is taken up with the seven ‘Story of Fred Short‘ movements and features a similar mix of instrumentation with cuts like ‘Seven Twenty Two‘, ‘Walking with Tyrone‘, and ‘I Can’t See the Light‘, bringing to mind the kaleidoscopic arrangements and bass-heavy dance-rock sound of the Flaming Lips. Similarly, tracks like ‘Live a Certain Life‘ and ‘Follow the Arrow‘, with their swirling, groove-oriented riffs and densely layered instrumentation, bring to mind the late-’60s psych-rock of the Beatles, ala ‘Revolver‘.
Truth be told, I hate morning runs as ‘ol Thunder n’ Lightning never seem to wake up to the end. Having said that, it is nice to not have to run in the stupid° temperatures and humidity of mid-day for a change. So with these 4 x 1k intervals in the bag, it’s onward to our nations capital.