Ask the Woods' new release Season of the Sticks was cut in a centuries old mountain cabin nestled up in Western North Carolina. Talk about method recording, that setting undoubtedly laid the mindset for this album. The songs were written and performed by one man show singer/songwriter Paul Cataldo. This is Cataldo's second release following his initial album that hit stores and sold an admirable 4,000 copies spurring along a countrywide tour. Cataldo brings a nature themed message to the masses and that is refreshing in this day in age.
"Native" will catch the interest of anyone and stop conversation. There's something about otherworldly flute that brings us all down a peg, but in satisfied appreciation. The subtle shaker and deep drum keep a pulse, but they're just grains of sand among a larger beautiful beach. The melody moves authentically and tastefully. This really could have let loose on some instrumentation and development - beef it up to maybe even 3 minutes? That would have had me lost in a trance, where as this was short and sweet without realizing long and epic may have been the better choice.
"Owls" features twin acoustics that flail and sprinkle the sound with delicate tapestries of charming melody. The twanging chords are a little out of place for me, no need to elude to anything country or folk. The intro set such a tone that it spoke more than any give-away style could; a tone of care-free acceptance in life's crazy maze, just float down the river and watch the world as it watches you. On this track, Ask The Woods seem to define their intentions behind naming their band as such. A statement of thought that I find a lot in common with.
The lyrics of "Happy Hour" lead us along on a lengthy trail of deception and veiled truth that exist beyond the saturated mind numbing rat race that is a commercialized society - not unlike the one we see every day. These are hard hitting anecdotes for revolution even though they are delivered with pagan-like fortitude. I'd urge every listener to take this one for a ride and really let the message of new thinking sink in and take hold. Season Of The Sticks is a solid work that shows us all that we take the simple things in life for granted. We are too wrapped up in the stress and goal dominated grind to realize the beauty of a forest – where we once called home. Put this on and immerse yourself back to the primitive; you’ll see the day and maybe even your life in a new and exciting way.
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