Album Review – Forgotten By Friday’s ‘Whiskey & Song’

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Every now and then you’ll come across a band that’s hard to fit into one genre. The Connecticut based Forgotten By Friday call themselves Americana Rock/NU Country, but that’s just a label that doesn’t quite do the band justice. Their sound is a unique blend of rock ‘n roll and country music that you won’t find in many other places. Forgotten By Friday was originally founded by Dominick Mauro and Ryan Schneider, and currently consists of Mauro (Lead Vocals/Bass), Laurence Wenthen (Keyboards/Fiddle), Mike Forgette (Acoustic & Lead guitar/Vocals), Mike Giammattei (Drums), Maria Soaft (Vocals), and Joe Ayala (Guitar). The band has grown and made a name for themselves in the Northeastern area over the past 5 years, and were recently voted “Best Country/Americana in the Connecticut Music Awards.” Earlier this year, the band released their second album, Whiskey & Song.

The album starts off with the title track that serves as more of a prelude than an actual first song. Coming in at 90 seconds, the track features a mostly a-cappella delivery of Mauro, Soaft, and Forgette singing about how they grew up on “work, whiskey, and song.” It’s all tied together with the line “I had to find my way” which could describe the theme of many of the following songs: musicians finding a way to make their dream come true. “Crazy as I Am” follows as a love song. It’s an up-tempo rock anthem about how unique and out of the norm they both are, but since the other is “just as crazy as I am” then the partnership will maintain. The song features some comparisons to famous pop culture partnerships like Fred and Wilma Flintstone, the gang from Scooby Doo, and Star Wars.

“Just a Girl” has Maria Soaft taking the lead vocals. This upbeat song carries more of a country influence in the production. Soaft sings of a woman trying to break free from cultural expectations so she can simply be who she wants to be. “They tell me how dress, how to wear my hair, cross my legs and not to swear but I won’t be your American Dream” she sings in the third verse. “Fever” is a fast-paced rocker about a boy being captivated by a woman. Her love is simply compared to a fever and there’s not much more to the song than that. The fiddle work from Wenthen is excellent on this track, though.

Forgotten By Friday flesh out the underlying theme on “I’m Home.” This song is told from the perspective of a traveler and musician who returns home after a stint on the road. From the joy of pets at home to the simple pleasures of taking in the surrounding beauty, the song describes what the singer enjoys best about his home. There’s a bit more sentiment in this song than many other country “small town anthems.” A nice banjo creeps into the musical mix on this track. Continuing with this theme, “Six More Days” finds the musician still on the road, a week out from returning home. This song takes the approach of describing the musician’s weariness and eagerness to return home because he misses his family, rather than the material things at home. It’s a slower song that builds as it progresses with some strong vocal harmonies in the chorus.

“Everyday” is a break-up song where both Maria Soaft and Dominick Mauro sing each side of the story. Each person is down and upset, tired of being alone and wondering what the other is up to. It’s an acoustic driven song with a great fiddle complimenting the guitars. While both Soaft and Mauro sing their parts well, I think the band missed an opportunity to showcase some more vocal harmonies between the two to flesh out the emotions buried in the song. It’s just a song that sounds incomplete to me. Maria takes the lead again on “Steel Horses.” The song deals with a woman on the road, seemingly running free to cope with a broken heart. Of all the songs on the album, I think this song has the best mix of instrumentation with the guitars blending nicely with the piano. The song showcases the band’s musical talents well and is the best representation of Forgotten By Friday’s Americana Rock sound.

“Come on Home With Me” is a piano driven song about a man wanting to pick up a woman in the bar. The only difference between this song and the hundreds of mainstream country songs of the same topic is how Forgotten By Friday approaches the pickup with much more grace and respect. “It’s Worth Fighting For” is a song of a man encouraging his woman who their love is worth fighting for; it’s a desire to keep their relationship strong. It’s a much more country-influenced song than most of the album and features an excellent fiddle solo. The album ends with the cheating song “Why Are You Still Kissing Me.” Here the female character is with a man who’s basically a good-looking model who’s about as deep as rain puddle. She keeps him around because he looks good on her arm, but she wants to be with other men.

Overall, Whiskey & Song is a good offering from Forgotten By Friday. There are a few songs where the rougher, self-produced music is more evident and sort of takes away from the song as a whole. However, in songs like “Steel Horses” and “It’s Worth Fighting For” the band sounds like they hit their stride musically as the mixing and production sound great behind the vocal track. Forgotten By Friday has a truly unique sound that will surely set them apart. While the album is a bit choppy, there’s quite a bit of potential simmering in the band. Both Mauro and Soaft are strong vocalists and command the attention they deserve on their songs, and the band behind them sound sharp. Whiskey & Song has a few good offerings for those looking for some underground Americana Rock music.

Grade: 6/10