Fletcher Kaufman
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Fletcher Kaufman

Williamsport, Pennsylvania, United States | SELF

Williamsport, Pennsylvania, United States | SELF
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"Akron / Family Release Woody Guthrie Tribute with Fletcher Kaufman"

Akron / Family Release Woody Guthrie Tribute
By NorthcentralPA.com

February 23, 2010

Features contributions from Williamsport musicians

Progressive rock "freak folk wildmen" Akron/Family, with Williamsport native Seth Olinsky, just issued "Woody Guthrie's America," a collaborative project composed and steered by Olinsky. The first volume of recordings can be heard at www.akronfamily.com/woodyproject.

Different artists submitted their own versions of Olinsky's song, with contributions ranging from Danish alternative rock band Slaraffenland to actress-musician Charlyne Yi (Cloverfield, Knocked Up, Paper Heart). Williamsport-based musicians Michael Eck, Fletcher Kaufman, Ed Sortman, and "Singer at Large" Johnny J. Blair were included in the project.

The critically acclaimed and constantly touring Akron/Family has been closing their sets with this song as an audience sing-along. Olinsky explains the song with a quote from American music legend Woody Guthrie: "I hate a song that makes you think that you are not any good. I hate a song that makes you think that you are just born to lose. Bound to lose. No good to nobody. No good for nothing. Because you are too old or too young or too fat or too slim or too ugly or too this or too that."

Olinsky added, "You can only drive across America, up and down its mountains and coasts a few times, before you want to pen a song about the beauty. Then you can only travel around the world a bit more, before you come back and want to write a song about the beauty and that little sing-song infrastructure of freedom you discover folded into the depths of it's grasses and hills.

"Then comes a time when you run into Woody Guthrie's music. Maybe you heard it before and liked it, but this time you are a little older, a little more traveled and you realize the power behind those simple songs, the power of humanity riding down those tracks. In there you hear that same power grid of freedom and deep radical nature that seems to be singing to you from the Rocky Mountain tops, the Redwood forests, the Gulf stream watersŠso you can only go so long with all that rattling around your brain before you want to write a song about that, too."

Blair said, "Seth asked me in, and I was glad to do it. Everyone does their own arrangement. I opted for a 'Beach Boys psychedelic gospel-soul' take. Fletcher Kaufman sounds like Captain Beefheart doing doo-wop. They're all great!"

Downloads of "Woody Guthrie's America" are free. For more about Akron/Family go to http://www.akronfamily.com. - NorthCentralPA.com


"Fletcher Kaufman - Teaberry Review"

Teaberry is an oil-secreting, low-growing, creeping evergreen
plant with aromatic leaves and spicy berries. The name also
suggests a drink-a strange brew, an odd frappe or a dark beer.
Such images suit the music of Fletcher Kaufman, who is either
an attention-deficient maniac or an unbridled genius racing
ahead of us. Kaufman's TEABERRY CD is a collection steeped in
styles embracing electronica, world beat, techno, retro-pop,
grunge and psychedelia. The mostly instrumental set could be
an underground film soundtrack (no wonder-Kaufman's resume
includes scoring a short film). Instead of cinematography and
dialogue you get shape-shifting dynamics and styles, imagining
"spy movies" that haven't been made yet. Kaufman, brought up
in visual arts, is a Williamsport native residing near Brandon Park
(a.k.a. "Soho of Billtown"). In his early teen years he focused on
music and his main instrument, the guitar, and he studied music
and writing original material, first influenced by metal, then
classical and jazz. After high school, he attended Berklee College
Of Music in Boston, MA, entering as a Performance major before
switching to electronics and engineering (TEABERRY has great
fidelity). He developed further on computer audio and traditional
instruments such as violin, piano, bass, synthesizers, drums and
anything he could coax a sound out of. In time, Kaufman's
musical interests expanded to West African, Middle and Near
Eastern music, traditions of India and Java, and and other global
genres (generously shared on TEABERRY). His West African
percussion teacher invited Kaufman to Ghana, where he studied
the singing, dancing, and drumming of the Ewe and Dargara
tribes. TEABERRY opens with "Crevice," with white noise like a
plane flying low over a desert, then dropping altitude to the
engaging and urbane "Crossing Jordan" (a tribute to the TV show
about hip forensic scientists?). "The Test" is happily schizo,
cutting from a low-key Nirvana-like guitar lick to screeching
space-lab synths, over two-part rhythms of straight surf beat
with a kick-drum imprint from David Bowie's "Stay." "Mash,"
"12o on A***," and "Jamil" traffic in witty samples and well-
played ethnic percussion, kalimba, Mellotron and guitars. "It's
Best Together" and "New DA 125," with funky cadences and
enchanting soundscapes, ought to be used in a "Bourne" film
sequel. What Kaufman lacks in voice power is made up in
charm, as in the Syd Barrett-like "Met a Girl" and the agit-pop of
"Chang Mai X" (TEABERRY's tributes to classic songcraft). Review by Naomi
Beard - Williamsport Sun-Gazette


"Fletcher Kaufman – House of Glass Dolls Review"

House of Glass Dolls is the second album by indie-rock artist Fletcher Kaufman. Recorded over the course of the past two years, the album brings together not only an array of artists (including Seth Olinsky and Miles Seaton of Akron/Family), but also an exciting assortment of styles and sounds. In his own words, House of Glass Dolls was born of frustration. “Frustrated at the inability to replicate what was on disc in a live setting (without a small army), [Kaufman] sought to assemble a collection of songs that could be conveyed with a single traditional instrument (guitar, piano, harp, what-have-you) as well as being flexible enough to be expanded to a band format or performed electronically.”

Despite this professed simplicity, however, Kaufman manages to weave together a wide array of sounds and styles to form an elaborate mosaic of stripped down tracks interspersed with songs of layered intricacy. And this is perhaps not surprising, as the recording process was as stripped down and complicated as the album itself. House of Glass Dolls was partly recorded in an abandoned pajama factory (now an “artists refuge”) in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, incorporates a mix of live and studio recording, and even includes a track on which Seth Olinsky’s drums are recorded on just a single microphone (“Baby Blue”)!

Fletcher Kaufman – “Marilyn”

Kaufman is quick to point out that this album is a collaborative effort. Not only did members of Akron/Family lend a helping hand [listen here], but also Alex Callenberger [here], Val LaCerra [here], and Charles Lloyd [here and here]. And in the true spirit of collaboration, House of Glass Dolls is available for free download [here], and it is even encouraged that you share the album and mash it up as you wish, so long as appropriate credit is given. So be sure to download the album and spread the word, and if you enjoy what you hear, send your support and praise back to the artists.

Posted by the Needle - The Needle and the Groove


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