7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
The product description suggests that this album pits John Fullbright against bands like the The Lumineers and Mumford & Sons. Really? This might be an A & R man's attempt at nudging up sales but John Fullbright is a singer songwriter who grows out of a much older and wiser tradition than Nu Folk. A native of Oklahoma and born within earshot of Okemah from whence sprung American Folk legend Woody Guthrie, the forces that shaped him tend to point to great '60s and '70s singer-songwriters such as Randy Newman, Townes Van Zandt, Mickey Newbury and fellow Oklahoman Leon Russell. On this sterling album "From the ground up" this 23 year old proves to be a potentially huge addition to the halls of Americana singers and this debut immediately enters the premier league.
Many will have heard the Dylan style ballad "Jericho" from music primers CDs. It is a rock solid folk song packed with imagery of Fullbright's search for identity set with biblical references. There are many other songs that rank this not least the glorious plaintive piano ballad "I only pray at night", the tender acoustic country love song "Me wanting you" which also showcases Fullbright's raspy Orbison like vocal. He rocks up well alongside these more mellow tunes and "Gawd Above" recalls the best of Steve Earle while the excellent "Satan and St Paul" is top notch country blues. However you are inevitably drawn to the ballads and none are better than the sad eyed lament "Forgotten Flowers" and the heartbreak of the all to poignant closer "Song for a child".
Fullbright has entered a crowded market here and there is no shortage of singer songwriter mining this seam. Yet it is too his considerable credit that he brings a freshness and vitality often lacking in the genre. Fullbright recently alluded to this when he stated "I get kind of tired of so many of the Americana acts that are getting into the jam-band thing. That's fun for a while, but where are the songs"? This is an album to be treasured and any one with a eye fixed on the future of American music would do well to have John Fullbright firmly in their gaze.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: From the Ground Up (Audio CD)
'I made the heaven and earth
I made the stars above
Is it too much to ask for a little love'
One listen to the voice of John Fullbright is enough to garner your attention, so you listen for more songs and more sounds. I have read that he is compared to Dylan, Tom Waits, Leon Russell and Randy Newman. Every song on this CD, 'From the Ground Up' gives us a different sound, a little change, a lilt here and there, but there is no mistaking the talent. The songs and the voice draws us in, and then we want to hear more, know more, understand what the lyrics mean. "[My family] had a little farm, about 80 acres -- that's where I live now. The little farmhouse that I was raised in until I was about 9, that's where the title for the CD came from," Fullbright says. "Every song on this record was written in that house, and I was kind of written in that house." NPR
John Fullbright's voice sounds like it comes from an old soul at times, and then you see his fresh face, that of a 25 year old. There is a sincere sureness to his voice, it draws us in and we listen closely to the lyrics and the melody. With the use of an acoustic guitar and a piano, he sets a mood and we follow it.
There are 12 songs on this CD, and everyone of these tunes is as good as the next one. I keep thinking this one is my favorite until I hear the next one. 'Daydreamer', 'Forgotten Flowers', 'Song For a Child', 'Gawd Above' , and 'Jericho' are the ones I listen to over as over. 'Me Wanting You' brings me the haunting sounds. 'Fat Man' brings the lilting sounds,the beat that goes on. All the tunes are winners, and John Fullbright with this CD is up for a Grammy.
John is from the same town as Woody Guthrie in Oklahoma, but even though John is a fan of the man, he is not a fan of the voice. Tom Waits is his kind of man. Americana music is a box that he is put into, but, really, he can sing anything that gives him an edge.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 16 March 2013
It is not often that one comes across a young American singer/song writer that in his remarkable songs displays so many influences yet retains such individuality. At any one time one can hear echoes of the Everley Brothers, Tom Waits, Jim White, Bob Dylan and Neil Young with a production to match Area Code 615's brilliant albums. The album 'from the ground up' is a veritable history of modern US music as well as being a remarkable contribution to their great country/rock music, at one and the same eclectic and original. Congratulations Mr Fullbright.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 9 April 2013
The Jericho track stood out from a sampler of new music issued by a national music magazine and led me to seek out other tracks on the album. After being pleasantly surprised with the quality of each and every one I managed to track down, I bought the album. As other reviewers have said John Fullbright is a major talent and the album showcases his strong song writing abilities together with his complimentary musical skills on guitar, keyboards and harmonica. He has a strong, powerful, controlled voice and puts heart and soul into each track. There is also variety aplenty - the fantastic Gawd above and Jericho topping the rockier side for me. Similarly of the more restrained numbers Nowhere to be found and I only pray at night are particular favourites. Fatman is altogether different a piano based 'honky tonk' effort. There is also a dip into country with Me wanting you but generally everything he touches seems to turn to gold. Saw him perform live last night where he performed the bulk of this album and enjoyed one of the best barnstorming performances I can remember for some time. Certainly judging by the rapturous reception he received I was not alone. Apparently he is appearing on Jools Holland tonight and I confidently expect more converts to result from his exposure to a wider audience. So Amazon maybe you should increase your stocks of the album!
I discovered "From The Ground Up" from one of those Amazon recommendations and, one I opened the product page up, was immediately struck by the amount of enthusiastic five star reviews for this Oklahoma born and based guy that I've never heard of before. Once I'd had it delivered and played it once, I was immediately able to see why so many people loved this album; it's magnificent and a quite remarkable set of songs for both a studio début and someone in their early twenties. On the whole, it's an accomplished piece of Americana, with equal fine attention to detail paid to music, lyrics and delivery. There are echoes of many great names - The Band, Tom Waits, Dylan - it doesn't do either Fullbright or the artists mentioned any disservice to make the comparison between him and those American greats. In fact, just a couple of albums more of music of this quality and he could start being mentioned in the same breath as those legends of American music.
My favourites are plentiful, the gorgeous, soulful "Jericho" swoops and soars, "I Only Pray At Night" is a beautiful piano and vocals ballad, "Nowhere To Be Found" has the same qualities as a poignant Ron Sexsmith composition and "Me Wanting You" is a slow, heartfelt, longing piece which has the hallmarks of a classic American song, the type Elvis would have covered and took to the top of the charts. "Forgotten Flowers" is a country-tinged beauty whereas "Song For A Child" is a simple ballad which, thanks to the delivery, manages to keep slightly mawkish lyrics feel genuine. I have to say that I prefer the more gentle songs on the album, when Fullbright's voice is stoked full of heartache and regret, they definitely play to his strengths, but the rest of the material is also rather successful too. This is an album full of passion and a huge amount of promise; I have a feeling that we've yet to see the best from him, too.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
It is hard to concieve that John Fullbright is only twenty four years old, as his songs show a depth that you would expect from someone much older. Hailing from the state of Oklahoma he did cause a stir being nominated for a Grammy, but if you listen to this album you will see why.
The songs here tell stories and are very blues orientated, more of a traditional blues type sound. The tracks are great and the instrumentation is spot on. Sometimes you get the feeling with other albums that some performers just go for as much sound and instruments as they can, whereas here you can see the restaint being used. With no superfulous words or music this album is controlled, giving a crisp, clean feel.
All the tracks are well worth listening to, although like anyone else I do have a few particular favourites. Hopefully John Fullbright will have a strong career ahead of him, producing other top notch albums as this. Try out the sample first and then decide if you want this album.
All in all I think this is well worth adding to any music collection.
on 28 March 2014
From the brilliant opening Gawd Above this collection hits you with some steaming harp and guitar, but as a multi-instrumentalist he meanders through some contrasting styles on the rest of it. Always good musicianship with interesting lyrics, there's laid back Okie (Moving), surreal (Fat Man), reflective (Me wanting you) and even pure pop (Daydreamer). That one is my least favourite track despite being perfectly done, as it doesn't sit easy amongst the other tracks.
I've played this CD more than anything else since getting it, and am looking forward to the new one coming soon. He's the only person I've ever seen playing boogie-woogie piano and blues harp simultaneously (YouTube), I'm SOOO pissed off that he's visiting the UK this year when I'm travelling....
on 11 October 2013
Only joshing, Love TW, but this Young Man (26), is just SO worth championing. Over here in the UK, the Great DJ Bob Harris has been playing him on his radio shows, and we were lucky enough to see John in Bristol recently - what a treat/joy! Smallgig, one man show, but such a lovely performance - switching between guitar/piano - Lovely. Audience captivated 100% throughout. This album rocks up the solo show naturally with the band sound, BUT, the quality of songcraft and voice shines throughout. Proper "STORYTELLER" like Waits/ Petty/Springsteen etc. Go on, give him a go eh............
on 15 May 2013
Heard John F being interviewed on the radio by Bob Harris whist driving home. I immediately got onto to Amazon to buy.
Never heard of him until now and I will be looking for UK tour dates to be first in line for a ticket!
Fantastically produced album which is rhythmically and vocally harmonious.
There are a couple of tracks with spine tingling and joyful sounds from the harmonica.
In my opinion, John Fullbright definitely has his own vocal identity with a blend of perhaps say, Garth Brooks, Jamie Cullum, and Teddy Thompson thrown into the mix!
on 19 November 2014
I bought "Songs" album on the strength of 1 moving & magnificent track I had heard. many times you do this & get 1 magnificent & several mediocre. Not this time, the whole album moves you with catchy, melancholy, funny, & witty musical songs. This man is superb. Please come to England soon. On "songs" he thanks people for buying the 1st and or 2nd album. We should be thanking him. now I am going to buy "From the Ground up"