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Published: 2004/07/29
by Katie Mavrich

These Chains – Tony Furtado

Funzalo Records

As soon as you hear the opening riffs on "These Chains," the title track of Tony Furtado's solo release, you know he isn't messing around. He is serious about his music. It has been said that Furtado likes to wander, and isn't content staying in one place for long. However, These Chains does not reflect this notion, as a good bit of the album has Southern rock influences, some songs have so much twangy guitar that they lie on the border of alt-country.

At other times, though, Furtado – not to be confused with the other, pop music Furtado, Nelly – is exactly what he proclaims himself to be: a singer/songwriter. This is the first Tony Furtado album where he can add the singer to the singer/songwriter description, as other efforts showcased few vocals. Those that appeared weren't even sung by Furtado; guest vocalists were featured. For 15 years he has hidden behind pen and paper, and the wait was well worth it. Furtado has a beautiful voice, to say the least.

"Need a Friend" is an acoustic classic, with melodies that fit his wanting vocals perfectly. Furtado travels back to the South in the '70s with "Good Stuff," and taps into his sensitive side with "Oh Father of Mine." It's no surprise though, that the album resonates 70s South, as Furtado cites many of his influences as singer/songwriters from Southern California in the 1970s.

These Chains is made up of 13 tracks, nine of which Furtado penned himself. He covers Bob Dylan's "One Too Many Mornings," Waylon Jennings' "Brand New Goodbye Song" and the traditional "Bet on the Whitehorse." All are done with Furtado's Southern style and intense passion. Backing the first time vocalist are producer/bassist Dusty Wakeman, who has worked with greats like Lucinda Williams and Dwight Yoakam, drummer Jim Christie, guitarist Doug Pettitbone, keyboardist Skip Edwards, percussionist Michael Tempo, and backup vocalist Gia Ciambotti.

Furtado began his career at 19 as a banjo prodigy, and has increased his talents exponentially in the years since. From his brilliant scores to his meaningful lyrics and stellar accompaniments Furtado's first attempt at singing his own songs is a rousing success.

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