Welcome to the musical meandering insights of Aaron Joy. Here you'll find 600 reviews of CDs & DVDs of rock & metal in all its variations, mainstream & indie. What they all share is that the album or band is unique in some way & not every submission was reviewed. Please share these reviews or link to them if you like what you read. Reviews are no longer being posted here but feel free to e-mail Aaron & post comments. (Formerly the Roman Midnight Music Blog)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Anthony J. Foti ~ Fourword (EP)

(Click on heading to visit official website.)
Style: pop rock
Label: Wreckord Records
Year: 1996
Home: Brooklyn, New York


Members: Anthony J. Foti ~ vocals/percussion
Eric Blackwood ~ guitar/b. vocals


Additional: Mike Deluca ~ guitars/keyboard/bass/b. vocals
Joe Giarraffa, Robert J. Kelly ~ drums
Mike Marchetta ~ guitars
Brian Christian Giarraffa ~ keyboards
Keith Ringo ~ harmonica
Russ Morisi, Mike Hoffman ~ bass
David Greenberg, Steve Goodwin ~ b. vocals


Guests: Screamin' Steve Barlotta ~ sax
Vinny Conigliaro ~ drums
Al Pitrelli, Jeff Munzert ~ guitar


This obscure EP marked a career crossroads for vocalist/songwriter AJF ... or more properly a moment to reflect & develop a few tunes in between bigger releases. His previous band Blackwood & Foti had disbanded ... fellow songwriter/vocalist & guitarist Eric Blackwood going on to create with Marillion bassist Pete Trewavas Edison's Children ... while AJF had yet to create the hard rock band Closenuf that would bring him numerous awards across the country and at least 9 times Closenuf's music would land in front of the Grammy nominating committee for a listen, though no nominations were ever made & that's one kudos he can't include in his hat ... though it does say that there are people out there who feel that Closenuf & AJF deserve to be heard by bigger ears & are trying to reach those ears. This four song EP, the only released under his own name, includes two of his penned tracks pulled from Blackwood & Foti's only release 1992's Haunted Memories & remastered & set beside two new tracks ... all of which would get re-recorded by Closenuf. Where Foti may not be the strongest singer, though with an instantly recognizable tenor, he makes up for it as a songwriter. "Music Man" is an upbeat pop tune that sounds like an opening to an 80's screwball comedy movie with its poppy bassline, keyboards & horns courtesy of Screamin' Steve of Gary U.S. Bonds. One can see Tom Hanks walking down a crowded street with "Music Man" playing over the falling titles & setting the stage to be faded out by a predictable dash of dialogue between Hanks & an inconspicuous street vender. This is not to say that the song sounds like it came out of the 80's as it actually sounds like something that is just as much influenced by Motown but it is incredibly visual as it is "travelling the road from a smokehouse to a bar". "Alive Forever", which along with "Music Man" features full instrumentation by Mike DeLuca, is an old-fashioned heartfelt love song with rhytmic piano that comes out of the Neil Diamond or Boz Skaggs catalog that's not about sex or raunchiness but the old fashioned heart tug. "In The Eyes Of The Rose" became a suprise single in the AJF catalog after being debuted live & receiving a teary-eyed response. At the last minute it was tagged onto Blackwood & Foti's Haunted Memories with guest guitar by Jim Messina Band's Jeff Munzert & produced by John Abbott who worked with Dionne Warwick & Steve Jerome of Neil Diamond & Simon & Garfunkel. Given a remaster here this is essentially the Blackwood & Foti band, unlike the previous tunes that are really solo AJF, but the personality difference will not be noticeable even if the instrumentation is. It's a hauntingly soft piece of acoustic guitars against a synthesizer in typical AJF fashion, but featuring probably some of his best singing on record. He can sing the pop tunes but its this slow comtemplative moment that allows him more vocal control & thus expression. The final track "At Night" is the hidden powerhouse & one might even say collector's item. It features on rhythm guitar & in one of the best solos of his career future Megadeth/Trans-Siberian Orchestra guitarist Al Pitrelli rocking out against a seemingly simple acoustic folk tune. Pitrelli has also gone on to call it one of his favorite recordings. He's never sounded so relaxed. It also features drummer Vinny Conigliaro of Joe Lynn Turner & Joe Satriani & was produced by Dave Greenberg who later worked with Method Man & original Foreigner keyboardist Al Greenwood. Now out of print Fourword would be included by Closenuf on their 2009 compilation ...to a new beginning". Hunt up the later release & enjoy both these older versions & harder rocking new versions by the band, plus a whole lot of other great tunes by AJF & friends.

(featured on the Roman Midnight Music CD Reviews & Interviews podcast: episode 5 "Interview: Anthony J. Foti & Eric Blackwood," October 2010, click here to listen)


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