Tony Furtado is a Banjo/Guitar player that was originally born in Oakland, CA but now resides in Portland, OR who at the age of 44 has already recorded 16 albums. Tony Furtado started out as a banjo player before switching at the young age of 19 to slides blues guitar. His current style is a blend of both mixes that he bangs out on acoustic guitar though he does occasionally still play his banjo. On top of his amazing guitar skills he is also a sculptor, and does some really interesting animal sculptures. You can see a quick video of his sculpting here: (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7PnzWZ5oOOk) His live solo album, Bare Bones, captures his unique style during a live acoustic act and is the topic of this post.
Bare Bones is a great CD to listen to on a relaxing sunny day. On this album Tony artfully navigates between a mixture of his own songs and various covers. Tony mostly plays guitar throughout the album and occasionally sings as well but he does bust out the banjo on two tracks: track 4 “St. Johns Fire/Bolinas” and track 10 “I Will/Hazel Come Home/Willow John”. I like all of the songs on this album, but three tracks that stand out are “The Angry Monk”, a cover of Tom Petty’s “Running Down a Dream”, and “Cypress Grove Blues”. “Angry Monk” is one of Tony’s songs and is the first instrumental song on this album that segues into a version of Raleigh and Spencer at the very end. The rendition of Tom Petty’s “Running Down a Dream” is absolutely fantastic and always lifts my spirits. The album closes with a great version of “Cypress Grove Blues” that really demonstrates Tony’s skill on the guitar and the way that he blends the picking style of the banjo with slide blues guitar. You can check out different live version of “Running Down a Dream” and “Cypress Grove Blues” down below. I love listening to this album on a nice sunny lazy weekend. This album is relaxing and happy but has enough upbeat parts to keep the album smoothly moving along.
I, for one, can’t wait for the chance to see this great musician play not once but twice at the 2012 Portland Waterfront Blues Festival. He will playing once with his band on the Fourth and then once as a member of the Otis Taylor Banjo Project on Saturday the 7th. Bare Bones if a great album to check out with the summer and many lazy weekends coming up and if you are in Portland this fourth of July check out Tony Furtado down at the waterfront.. I look forward to seeing what this guitarist/banjo player has to offer in the years to come. If you like music that has the word ‘blue’ in it, whether it be ‘blue’grass or the ‘blue’s you’ll like this album.