America Town

America Town

4.8 8
by Five for Fighting
     
 

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The rather obscure moniker -- a bit of penalty-box slang tossed around by hockey aficionados -- disguises the fact that FFF is not a band so much as the brainchild of one man, namely John Ondrasik, a keenly sensitive, cleverly retro singer-songwriter who fits nicely in the lineage of Elton John, Joe Jackson, andSee more details below

Overview

The rather obscure moniker -- a bit of penalty-box slang tossed around by hockey aficionados -- disguises the fact that FFF is not a band so much as the brainchild of one man, namely John Ondrasik, a keenly sensitive, cleverly retro singer-songwriter who fits nicely in the lineage of Elton John, Joe Jackson, and Ben Folds. Ondrasik has been fighting it out in the trenches for several years now, and America Town, his second album, went virtually unnoticed for more than a year after its release -- until the poignant, melodically soaring "Superman" was adopted as an anthem for the heroes that emerged in the wake of the attacks of September 11th. Musically, that single sets the tone rather well: Ondrasik's high-pitched, emotive voice is a perfect vessel for carrying the heartfelt messages of the lovelorn "Jainy" and the stalwart "Bloody Mary (A Note on Apathy)." But rather than simply sink into the morass of message over medium, he tosses some change-ups into the mix, sneering at celebrity on the string-laden "Michael Jordan" and even rocking out in classic early-'70s fashion on the stirring "Boat Parade." It's clear that Ondrasik doesn't really think he possesses super powers, but his homespun self-awareness is evident throughout, making America Town a very comfortable place to visit.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Zac Johnson
A clean and bright effort that delivers some heavy themes, America Town is a very American-sounding album: drifting from song to song is like driving through the Midwest from town to town, each town offering its own stories, not all of which are happy. Singer/songwriter John Ondrasik tackles topics like suicide on "Easy Tonight" and the desire to belong ("Superman," which became an anthem for post-9/11 Americans one year after the album's release) but still manages to see the silver lining in the areas of family ("Easy Tonight") and idolatry ("Michael Jordan"). The songs are sung in a fragile growl, a little like Eddie Vedder singing a lullaby, and backed with some very straightforward acoustic guitar and piano-led rock. The focus is clearly on the lyrics, which are well written and effectively sung.

Product Details

Release Date:
04/22/2003
Label:
Sony
UPC:
0074646375969
catalogNumber:
63759

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Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Five for Fighting   Primary Artist
Shane Keister   Piano,Hammond Organ,Wurlitzer
Nikki Harris   Vocals
Victor Lawrence   Cello
Robert Medici   Drums
John Ondrasik   Acoustic Guitar,Piano,Hammond Organ,Vocals,Wurlitzer
Dorian Crozier   Percussion,Drums
Bobby Schneck   Electric Guitar
Sheldon Gomberg   Bass,Upright Bass
Gregg Wattenberg   Acoustic Guitar,Bass,Electric Guitar,Vocals

Technical Credits

Greg Calbi   Mastering
Jim Grant   Management
Bob Ludwig   Mastering
Brian Scheuble   Engineer
Greg Latterman   Executive Producer
John Ondrasik   String Arrangements
Jen Wyler   Authoring
Evan Lamberg   Executive Producer
David Boucher   Engineer
Gregg Wattenberg   Composer,Producer,Engineer
Seth Atkins Horan   Engineer

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