The self-titled EP Curtwood Bearsman by Curtwood Bearsman is a quick introduction to some interesting songs performed with a blend of singer-songwriter acoustic folk as well as some amazing flamenco breaks.
“La Guitarra” opens the EP with Ani DiFranco-like strums and a Jack Johnson-esque vocal inflection. The guitar has a thin sound to it, but it works in the context of the album and song, sounding like the ode to the instrument is being performed in an intimate coffeehouse. The breakdown is unexpected but a nice change in the groove, and the solo adds to the texture of the song. “Is This Real?” opens with the cousin to the riff from “Burning Down The House.” The lyrics are sparse for the length of the song, but the double-tracked vocals fill out the sonic spectrum in a subtle but smart way.
“Relajandro” is built around a nimble riff that is both intriguing and catchy. The laid-back nature of the vocal performance and strumming patterns lean into a tropical folk rock a la Jimmy Buffett and work well to establish a chill groove. The final guitar lines are clever and make for an excellent coda.
“Tiempo” opens with flamenco styled guitar moving quickly with skill and flair around the guitar. It’s a striking and captivating way to open the song. After the vocals enter, the song moves more into an “All Along The Watchtower” pattern with occasional guitar flourishes to complement the vocals. There is a breakdown near the end, which is excellently executed, digging into some of the lower strings of the guitar making for a smart contrast in range.
“Far Away” closes the EP with some more flamenco flourishes around a folk rock song. It builds well, and the guitar solo in the middle is well constructed moving through a variety of dynamics giving the song some real power and grit.
The instrumental aspects of the EP are quite interesting and show off a fantastic understanding of the guitar. Some of the lyrics could go even deeper to match some of the instrumental performances, but overall it’s quite an enjoyable listen, giving lots of promise to further EPs and albums to be released
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