CD Review: Good Sponge Sampler

CD Review by Adam Wujtewicz

"I like to think of Good Sponge as more of an umbrella than a label; no one's release is exclusive to Good Sponge; it's more a 'strength in numbers' kind of thing to help folks get a bit more exposure.” says Ben Parent, the brains behind Good Sponge Records. 

While it may not keep you dry in a storm, the forthcoming compilation album would certainly make a good rainy day listen.  The primarily Roots Rock/Americana release boasts some of the best musicians that South Eastern CT has to offer.

While Good Sponge Sampler Vol. 1 may boast 15 tracks from different artists, or combinations of artists it feels like a very cohesive unit.  The 60’s hippy pop of bands like Moby Grape and Love, along with softer side of Neil Young are things that all of these artists have in common. The image of a group of friends sitting around a fire with a menagerie of acoustic instruments, passing the bottle, and singing songs is undeniable.  So if you like great harmonies, thoughtful lyrics and short jumpy acoustic songs you’ve hit the jackpot.

While the color palate on this compilation definitely is heavy in the yellows and oranges it only makes the deep blues and reds pop that much more.  John Fries & the Heat’s "U.S. 50" is a heartfelt tearjerker of a tune that, for my ear, boasts the best production out of all 15 tracks.  Anne Castellano & Hugh Birdsall do a sort of morbid-space-folk song, "Every Time You Cry", which is probably the most stand out thing on the compilation.  While that’s charming in and of itself, the way that Anne and Hugh’s voices compliment each other in constant harmony is what makes the song stand on its own.
The bright colors are not without their stand outs.  Dave Rave’s "Looking out My Front Door" is probably my favorite track of all them.  It’s a standard blues riff with an interesting vocal melody and a familiar lyrical concept.  There is hardly a better recipe for success in pop rock.  Amalgamated Muck’s "In Spite of Me" is a solid little bluegrass ditty that has such a lush instrumentation that you can’t help but listen intently.

There are 11 other tracks on Good Sponge Sampler Vol. 1 from bands like Dirt Road Radio, Sue Menhart Band and The Rivergods who will all be performing at the Eugene O’Neil Rosebarn in celebration of this compilation.  If you’ve tested the waters of the southeastern CT Americana scene then this is the perfect opportunity for you to dive in head first and learn what you really need to know.

For more info on the Good Sponge Sampler Vol. 1, visit:



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