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) (last update 5/23/2017)

April 8, 2013

Foster N Friends ~ Conrad

(No official website.)
Style: AOR rock, blues-rock
Label: self-released
Year: 1996
Home: Bellingham, Washington

Members: Joe Foster ~ guitars/lead vocals/percussion/sound effects
Eric P. Rush ~ guitars/sound effects
Brice Beard ~ bass
Rob Sanabria ~ guitars/b. vocals

Additional: Don Anderson ~ sound effects

Joe Foster is a Gilmour & Satriani influenced guitarist who grabbed some musically minded co-workers & put together this little album, available on cassette only. It was the only formalized output by Foster before relocating from Washington to San Francisco & everyone else went their separate ways. This album was left to memories & if anything else ever came from his hands is unknown. What's shocking is that this is everything but what one might expect from a Satriani fan. It never cries like Satriani, though it does get moody like Pink Floyd, but is more folksy & bluesy than hard rock or a instrumental solo guitar fest. It's more ballads than rock with a mix of instrumentals & vocal songs. It's almost as if he was trying to show he liked other music, or do something that would allow contributions from players other than himself, who maybe didn't play as fast or as flashy or with the same musical interests ... or maybe the inner songwriter, as he penned all the songs, didn't match the inner guitarist ... but then, again, there's only one Satriani & only one Gilmour. Yes, it's layered with guitars & its easy to feel that this was created by a guitar player, though sometimes that's to its detriment as there's too many layers when simplicity would be better, but it does everything but show-off as expected. Actually, it could use some more push as it really plays hard to get versus here I am grab me. It's a soft sentimental little outing & suffers from any real direction & any climactic moment either with the album as a whole or with individual songs. It tries to be layed back but only drags along with listlessness. Perhaps F&F didn't want to be showy ... I recommend in retrospect that the boys should have been & let themselves go crazy. A lot of the songs have a strong rhythm on acoustic guitar, though not necessarily grooving or unusual chord-wise, with the lead lines tucked in the mix the opposite of where my ears want them to be. The result is the songs are pushed by a repetitive rhythm & not by the lead lines which should be taking charge. The other problem is Foster is just not a strong or distinctive singer, though he does try for a faux southern accent on one song so he's not sitting on his hands, just playing it too safe. The mood often echoes the contemplative side of Pink Floyd & given a reworking & a tightening the imitation has the potential to be very interesting. "Sidetracked On A Sidewalk", the only song written by guitarist Eric P. Rust, is a low-key blues groove of at least four guitar lines over a basic blues rhythm. It never really goes anywhere & sounds more like a jam where nobody knows whose soloing next but instead just trading off short licks. The guitar lines never dominate over the rhythm as the little riffs never last long enough to grab your ears before the next guitar with the next lick pops up. It's trying to be this psychedelic blues but it's just lack-luster with no climax, emotion, groove or direction other than meandering with too many potential endings. It's an interesting idea but poorly executed. An interesting inclusion is Jim Croce's "Roller Derby Queen" on slide guitar. But, the track is cluttered with too many guitars including a 12-string that makes the song sound muddy & crowded compared to Croce's two guitar original. But, being a fan of Croce I do get a kick hearing someone cover his songs. I don't hear it happen enough.

(No video available)

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