Fourth Avenue
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Fourth Avenue

Murfreesboro, Tennessee, United States | SELF

Murfreesboro, Tennessee, United States | SELF
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"Fourth Avenue - Identity Crisis"

The members of local funk and folk group Fourth Avenue can truly call their 2010 release Identity Crisis their own, and not just in terms of words and music. Vocalist Mike Mason and guitarist Ryan Crowley produced this first release, and Mason is also responsible for the photography and street sign design on the CD. They’re proud of it, too, based on the insert’s printed warning that the album does not, in fact, use autotune.

The thought of combining funk and folk might make Identity Crisis seem like an appropriate title, but in Fourth Avenue’s case, it’s more like creative exploration. With a solid amount of slow-burning jams that clock in over five minutes, it was wise not to overwhelm with too many tracks. There are just eight, and the album as a whole is reminiscent of funkier Peanuts-gang-esque jazz with two roots-inspired songs thrown in.

Opening with the exotic flavor of “Saturday Night,” nine instrumentalists mix salsa, jazz and soul for a 4 minute party-starting jam. Stuttering guitars plus brass and reeds sound almost liquid and channel early Southern jazz. “Sweet Boi,” written and sung by keyboardist Jonathan Gower, switches gears with fuzzy guitar noise backed by a crisp piano tune. Interestingly, the piano parts mimic “With a Little Help From My Friends” and the vocal melody sounds like “You Won’t See Me.”

Gower knows what he’s doing on the keys, whether he’s channeling Dave Brubeck or Elton John, and “Pretty Much” provides a feel for the honest style of his song craft as well; he sings, “We’re a bridge going down/it’s too much” over a key-induced lullaby and soft horns—Van Morrison-style.

It’s the stomping and clapping and percussive giddy-up of “Love Song to the Rain” that sounds like a combination of Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues” and Elvis’s “That’s All Right Mama.” It’s a far cry from the saucy jazz chords early in the album, but both are enjoyable coming from this bunch and I’d bet it’s even better in a live performance. - The Murfreesboro Pulse


Discography

Identity Crisis (2010)
- Saturday Night (WMTS College Radio Airplay)

Corporate Froufee Coffee -Live @ The Music Stop (2011)

Photos

Bio

With the soul of a thousand 1969’s and the attitude of Aerosmith’s bastard unemployed grandchildren, musical acrobats Fourth Avenue take the stage in the Nashville scene. Having played numerous gigs in Murfreesboro, TN including recorded shows, house shows, dead shows, dramatically unpaid shows, acoustic shows, and unusually successful shows, they are certainly hardened participants of the infamous uphill Nashville grind. Their 8-song 1st release Identity Crisis dives into a surprising amount of genres including funk, pop, rock, folk, hip-hop,and country. The group started in a cellar made venue made practice room made flood victim on 4th Ave in Murfreesboro, TN in late 2009. The harmonious and dynamic partnership of singer Mike Mason and guitarist Ryan Crowley form the group's core to create a sound all their own. The unforgettably smooth piano playing of Tyler aka 'Tasty' Ham perfectly accents the group's multiple hats. A few drummers and bass players into their year of playing together, the band found a pair that finally stuck in rhythm master Josh Jernigan and groove wizard Mikey Dunn. It’s five minutes before opening time at the candy store and these 5 plump little kids are ready to sink their teeth in to some Nashville love.