Terra Firma

( 1 )

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Ronnie D. Lankford
One might guess at a glance that Acoustic Syndicate isn't a jam band. They usually avoid extensive noodling on their studio albums, and with one exception, all of the pieces on Terra Firma clock in at five minutes or less. The band's fusion of styles jazz, rock, folk, and world and lyrics celebrating the mysteries of life nonetheless qualify it as a jam band. Like the String Cheese Incident, the group seems to relish juxtaposing disparate instruments banjos and saxophones on a song like "Red Birds" to create a surprising blend of bluegrass roots and contemporary jazz. This blend offers the right kind of support to Steve McMurry, who handles most of the lead vocals. ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Ronnie D. Lankford
One might guess at a glance that Acoustic Syndicate isn't a jam band. They usually avoid extensive noodling on their studio albums, and with one exception, all of the pieces on Terra Firma clock in at five minutes or less. The band's fusion of styles jazz, rock, folk, and world and lyrics celebrating the mysteries of life nonetheless qualify it as a jam band. Like the String Cheese Incident, the group seems to relish juxtaposing disparate instruments banjos and saxophones on a song like "Red Birds" to create a surprising blend of bluegrass roots and contemporary jazz. This blend offers the right kind of support to Steve McMurry, who handles most of the lead vocals. His voice has an airy, soulful quality, and he sings each phrase with the utmost earnestness. Like Donna the Buffalo, the band's lyrics aim at the bigger questions in life and they don't mind getting philosophical with their answers. At times this is blatantly straightforward: "Make good use of our time, it won't last forever," McMurry sings in "Fleeting Moments." At other times, the band remains frustratingly vague: "One way will show/One way we'll know," the singer offers in "One Way." For listeners accustomed to Railroad Earth and Leftover Salmon, however, these lyrics achieve the right balance. Terra Firma's musical and lyrical approach finds Acoustic Syndicate taking a confident step toward, forging a distinct style within the crowded jam band field.
jazzreview.com
For those that dig the possibilities of “fusion” with verse/chorus/verse songs...ease into this particular Syndicate.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 4/8/2003
  • Label: Sugarhill
  • UPC: 015891396323
  • Catalog Number: 3963
  • Sales rank: 315,088

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Vanity (3:53)
  2. 2 November (4:22)
  3. 3 Red Birds (4:24)
  4. 4 Better for This (4:55)
  5. 5 The Ballad of Marie St. Lauriette (5:14)
  6. 6 Commentary (5:08)
  7. 7 The Laughing Child (5:00)
  8. 8 Fleeting Moments (4:11)
  9. 9 One Way (5:14)
  10. 10 10:06 (3:29)
  11. 11 My Turn (2:44)
  12. 12 Terra Firma (7:26)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Acoustic Syndicate Primary Artist
Curtis Burch Dobro
Jay Sanders Electric Bass, Upright Bass
Bryon McMurry Banjo, Guitar, Vocals, Electric Banjo
Fitz McMurry Drums, Vocals
Steve McMurry Guitar, Mandolin, Vocals
Technical Credits
Chad Hailey Engineer
Bil VornDick Producer, Engineer
Rick "The Drum Guy" Malkin Drum Technician
Todd Schall Intern
Hank Williams Mastering
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Very impressive instrumental showcase

    First off a warning...this is not in any way shape or form remotely related to bluegrass music. That said, if you want to see how a banjo can fit perfectly into rock and roll, ska and reggae music, this is the perfect CD. I was very impressed with the production quality of the CD. The banjo is very warm and never gets tiresome even though there is banjo throughout nearly every song. Also, since this is really a rock and roll style CD, I will use the more popular term "lead" to describe what bluegrassers call "breaks". And an overall impression.. Steve McMurry wrote and sang most of the songs on the CD. There are no instrumentals which is in a way a shame, since the musicians are top notch. The vocals are consistantly thin and can be a little harsh. Bryon McMurry has a flanged effect on his voice when he sings the few songs he wrote, but overall, the vocals are the only weakness in the group. These guys are certainly not afraid of chord changes.. Vanity - Nice funky feel with great banjo throughout. The vocals get rather frenetic at times. November - Reggae back beat but again with rther frenetic vocals over the mix. Great soprano sax, banjo and acoustic guitar leads. Red Birds - Slow walking tempo funky kind of a ballad. Good horn section under the mix. I really like the use of bass and soprano sax in a unison lead and the tenor sax lead is very well done. Steve's vocals are much easier to listen to since he is singing slower and lower and he sounds more natural. Better for this - Bryon sings and has a very pronounced flange on his voice. He also exhibits a very thin vocal quality so he may like the way it adds character to his voice. Nice syncopated romp with good use of sax and rolling banjo throughout. Gets into a double time kick with a good guitar lead into a great banjo lead. Ballad of Marie St. Lauriette - Very well done funky ballad that turns reggae on the chorus. Again, great use of banjo throughout to drive the rhythm. Very tasty bass and acoustic guitar leads at the end. Commentary - Pretty much straight ahead medium rock song. More rolling banjo throughout and great banjo lead. The song kicks into double time near the end. The Laughing Child - Bryon sings again with a slightly flanged effect on his voice. Great use of the sax throughout the song and again, the rolling banjo adds a nice flavor. Fleeting Moments - Medium double time rock beat with half time vocals which is a nice touch. Evolves into a full blown double time romp. One Way - Another example of Steve sounding better when he sings softer and with a more natural voice. Really nice syncopated back beat with really tasty chord changes and wonderful dynamics. A lot of what is going on under the mix is really tasty and the sax lead mixed way below the rest of the band is a nice touch as is the sax horn section ending. 10:06 - Byron sings this one. A medium rock tune with mandolin throughout. Lots of good chord changes and good harmony parts on the chorus. The band gets frenetic behind the mando lead. My Turn - Pretty much back to a medium rock tempo with rolling banjo in constant motion underneath everything. Great guitar lead. Terra Firma - Steve sings. This song has some of the best drumming and really tasty drum fills help the tune a lot. Tenor sax sits way under the mix and is really tasty and the soprano sax lead is very good. The tone of the banjo is very nicely recorded and the banjo lead is neat. In conclusion.. This CD shows what a banjo is capable of doing in musical types where you would not expect a banjo. The band is made up of really good, talented musicians and the producers, engineers, etc. did a wonderful job. My only real complaint is with the thin sometimes strident lead vocals. But hey, if your lead singer writes most of your tunes you have to let him sing! If these guys ever put out an instrumental CD, I would buy it in a heartbeat. There is such a thing as a funky ba

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews