Tony Furtado is no newcomer to recording--he boasts a hearty catalog of recordings, primarily instrumental or with guest vocalists. But with his new album These Chains, his debut for Funzalo Records set to his the streets July 27, Furtado emerges as a full-blown singer and songwriter, as well as the world-renowned slide guitarist and banjo player his fans already know him to be.

These Chains was recorded in L.A. with producer Dusty Wakeman (Lucinda Williams, Dwight Yoakam, Anne McCue) and features nine self-penned songs, revealing Furtado to be a writer of considerable stylistic breadth and emotional depth. Furtado also enlisted some notable writing collaborators, including Al Anderson from NRBQ ("The Prisoner"), Jim Lauderdale ("Need A Friend"), and Jules Shear ("Standing In The Rain.")

He also brought in some expert help in bringing the songs on These Chains to life. Wakeman (who played bass as well as produced) assembled a killer crew consisting of drummer Jim Christie and guitarist Doug Pettibone from Lucinda's current band, veteran keyboardist Skip Edwards, percussionist Michael Tempo (Bonedaddies), the two members of eastmountainsouth, and backing vocalist Gia Ciambotti (Badly Drawn Boy.) Shear also sings harmonies on the Dylan cover "One Too Many Mornings." Most of the album was cut live in the studio with a full band.

Furtado comes to his current sound as a long-time fan of FM radio during its most eclectic era. "I've always been into playing a lot of different styles of music," he says. "When I was mainly playing banjo, I would study everything from old Charlie Parker albums to traditional Irish folk music to trying to figure out ways to play blues on the banjo." All the while, he listened to Jackson Browne, David Lindley, Richard Thompson, and Bruce Cockburn, all great singer/songwriter/guitarists.

There's no telling where Furtado's nomadic muse will lead him from here. No matter where he ends up, this wide-ranging artist will be hard-pressed to top his latest accomplishment.

JamBase | California
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[Published on: 6/2/04]

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