Fortune Dwellers
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Fortune Dwellers

Seattle, Washington, United States | SELF

Seattle, Washington, United States | SELF
Band Pop Soul


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"The Fortune Dwellers Are Schizophonic"

Get used to hearing this name, Katelyn Berreth, a young singer – songwriter from Seattle, who fronts the band Fortune Dwellers and whose vocals can be both stunningly beautiful and cutting when they the song calls for it. Her phrasing is impeccable and as it is easy to detect her smile in the upbeat and brightly colored opening song “Keep It Simple,” from the album Schizophonic, as keys man Chris Rude combines with drummer Ehssan Karimi to establish a staccato beat. Rude who also mixed and produced Berreth’s album is to be commended for recognizing the gifts of this tremendous singer, allowing her vocals to be showcased and then finding the right balance for the musicians.

The R&B feel to “Yes!” complimented by trumpets courtesy of Brennan Carter and Andrew Miller and Rude’s magnificent playing create the perfect musical canvas for Katelyn Berreth who understands the importance of vocal intonation, as she asks, “Are you about to be my man?,” and then infuses the line, “Yes! I really want you to, the way you make me feel,” with the excitement of one who eagerly anticipates that he is going to say yes to her question. Ohhh this song is sooo good, as Berreth’s vocals soar, demonstrating good range and the instrumental and vocal arrangements are delicious.

The mid-tempo “Halfway,” starts off slowly, introduced by pianist Rude, before this soft Pop / Adult Contemporary song picks up the pace. There is warmth to Katelyn Berreth’s vocals that invite the listener to share in the experience and to sing these songs with her. Good music and good singers should evoke an emotional response from the listener, causing him or her to make those feelings their own, and Katelyn Berreth does this very well. “Halfway,” is a song about building walls in relationships and shutting the other person out, it is about reclaiming love or restoring love to a relationship, in which one person or both have been hurt. It is not about being bitter; it is about looking for a way to fix this, in the middle of the hurt. Berreth’s strong connection with her lyrics is evident and very personal and it should be, as she was the sole writer for all of these songs, with the exception of “Hello Goodbye,” which was co-written with Evan Anderson. Two-thirds of the way through the song, the decision was made to have only drummer Ehssan Karimi accompany Katelyn Berreth on the chorus and that was a good choice as it makes the words even more poignant. Throughout this album Karimi is magnificent and he plays very emotively.
Speaking of Evan Anderson, he joins Katelyn Berreth for a vocal duet on the song they co-wrote “Hello Goodbye,” and although they both do a good job as they trade off lines, the harmonies sound a bit sharp, which runs against the grain of a jazzy song that is more mellow and soft edged.

Berreth relates what appears to be personal experiences or a synthesis of personal experiences, her own and those of others, and there is no need to be complicated, so for the most part, her lyrical choices are more direct, rather than relying on a lot of metaphors or symbolism. She tells the story simply, her words fit well with the music, she lets her vocals take over and she has surrounded herself with good musicians. The musicians are too many to note, but since the horns are so prominent on this album, let us also take time to acknowledge, trombonist Colin Pulkrabek and tenor saxophonist Scott Macpherson. “Think About You,” is one of those simple stories about girl meets boy at a party and drops hints that she would like to get to know him better and wonders if he feels the same.

Demonstrating both a fondness for both jagged rhythms and relationship songs, the Fortune Dwellers and Berreth return to both themes for the song “Ambition,” a story about breaking up. As she coos “I’m not here to get in your way,” the singer lays her cards on the table and lets the guy know, hey you know what, I believe in love and I want to be in love and “I am astonished,” that you are now telling me that you “never dreamt of love.”

Katelyn Berreth’s songs are not all upbeat and rosey as she tells her man in explicit terms what he can do, in the song “Al’s Song,” and “Not Fair,” talks about cocaine use. The song “Tomorrow,” asks tough questions and poses strong statements, while expressing hope for a better world. Why are there so many plans to hurt other people, she asks and the people whom perhaps we only know as images on a television screen or computer monitor have children just “like ours, but with nuclear scars.” Again, it is Berreth’s ability to be direct and yet remain a poet, whose cadence fits easily within a melody, that are her brilliance as a songwriter.

The album Schizophonic ends on a somber note, as it closes out with the moody songs “Geography,” about saying goodbye to a lover as she boards a plane, the bitter “Angel,” and the chiding “Temper Temper.” Berreth also gives us something different, grittier vocals.

The Fortune Dwellers, featuring singer Katelyn Berreth have created a very good album with Schizophonic and yet it also appears to tell two stories, one that is more upbeat and possesses lighter melodies, comprising most of the songs on the first half of Schizophonic, while the mood becomes decidedly more somber and at times almost bitter or angry with the later tracks. If your budget only permits you to make one music purchase this month, Riveting Riffs Magazine would suggest that you buy Schizophonic by the Fortune Dwellers featuring Katelyn Berreth.

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- Riveting Riffs

"Fortune Dwellers, Cheap Trick, Piecora’s"

April 9th, 2011

I get to Chop Suey just at 8:00 and have to wait outside in the cold and wind. There are a few others waiting for the doors to open, and we all stand idly shifting on our feet, leaning against the wall. Some of them chat with each other. I look through the window and see the band doing a sound check and jot in my notebook. “Cold. Doors open late. 15 people waiting for music.” The band is Fortune Dwellers and as described on Facebook is an “original pop/rock/jazz/alternative band.” I have to take their word since lately I’ve been seeing bands whose music I haven’t heard in order to let the live music do what it will, to see if can move me, strike a chord in there somewhere and open cracks in my heart. Good music of all genres will do such. There was Helmet a couple weeks ago. There will be Icelandic folk music next week. I’m curious thus to see how a blend of pop/rock/jazz/alternative affects the state of things.

The doors open at 8:15, and we enter from the cold of the outside to the cold of the inside. I get a Blue Moon and find Martin Celt, the bass player. We speak briefly. I ask him for a copy of the set list. He gets me one and then informs me he can’t talk more because it’s time for the band to do a pre-gig shot. I’m not one to stand in the way of such holy rituals so I head over to the corner by the sound man and settle in. More people arrive, groups of guys, couples, pairs of women. They drink. They mill about. They wait for the band to start. These are good moments before a show. Problems vanish, stress subsides, and the only thing on the horizon is a few melodies, a few grooves, a few solos … music.

The first song starts with a big chord and the vocals come right in, “I was assuming it was you…” And it is jazzy. There’s a sax, a trumpet, and keys all doing their thing. What strikes me first though is the rhythm. It’s tight. It pops in the rhythmic bounces. And it continues that way. It’s poppy, melodic. Singer, Katelyn Barreth, sings, “I need to love fully, I need to be fully loved.” Indeed, I think, scribbling notes in my corner and looking up at her in her sparkly dress and hips. The fourth song begins with a slightly heavier groove on the bass as Berreth kicks into sultry mode and both she and Celt jump up and down. The horn section bounces alternately, the groove continues, Berreth stops jumping, sings, “It’s not fair…” The rock elements come through in this tune, the alternative ones too. I look at the couples dancing, the pairs of women dancing, “It’s not fair, love…” No, not much in love ever is, but we dance to its rhythms nonetheless.

Later, they start a song called “Geography” with just a soft piano and the hi hat. The bass enters sparingly with the kick. It’s full of sadness even before the vocal comes in, “…In the morning, we’ll both be leaving … and yes I cry over you…” The horns jump in on the second chorus, and the song grows, the melancholy grows, “You know I cry…” and though this band is nothing like Cheap Trick the feeling of this song brings to mind Cheap Trick’s “Heaven Tonight”. It’s an odd thing that music can do this, two such very different bands and songs capturing the same feel. Fortune Dwellers expand on it though. They add an element of longing, and as the song builds up in the outro, that longing is infused through the audience. We long for Berreth as a stand in for all we have cried for, for lost loves, ones that got away. She grooves slightly, and it’s sexy, this longing, this music, this moment.

Only music can do that, change sadness into longing and from there into something sexy, a kind of hope. We’d all waited for this in those moments before the music started, for the sounds to do things to us, to fill us with a hunger for many things, with the hunger for love or the touch a woman, or lacking that, with a hunger for pizza. So I leave after the show and walk up the street to Piecora’s where a couple pepperoni, onion, and jalapeno slices mix well with the music that is in me. Fortune Dwellers satisfied.


- Seattle Subsonic


Schizophonic - 2010



We are a band of unbelievably incredible musicians who have a drive to create music and share it with those who have open ears. Take a listen.