Patrick J. Fiore – Small Wooden Rooms
I cannot believe how long it’s been since I heard a good acoustic guitar and vocal record. I review a lot of music week in and week out, and looking back over the last 5 years at what’s landed in my in-box I’ve noticed a disturbing trend. Music seems to be steering away from a guitar driven primary to more of an electronic based primary. Music also seems to be delivered much louder these days than it used to be – not in a good way either. I guess many feel you are not capable of turning up your volume knob so they’ve done it for you. Where is the musical intimacy. You know music that allows itself to breath over your speakers?
So enter Pennsylvania based Singer-Songwriter Patrick J. Fiore who just released his latest album entitled “Small Wooden Room”. This artist to me is a modern Accoustic Pop/Folk artist with a very Radio friendly contemporary feel. I get the impression Fiore has been influenced by the likes of Dave Matthews, James Blunt, Joshua Radin, Tyrone Wells and Gary Jules. The conservative “up close” sound is an ambitious move. The album “Small Wooden Room” consists of twelve standup tracks. Right from the start Fiore provides some interesting sounds for this classic yet distinctive style of music. By the way it’s acoustic guitar driven. ‘Soul Sister” is the album’s first track and, from the great “good time” vibe, right through to the excellent guitar work, the result is perfect setting for Fiore’s smooth voice. Make no bones about it this is a tight musician and singer. With fading rock based influences over the years, there’s possibly a nod in the direction here from John Mayer and Jason Mraz. My favorite track “Away” is to say the least off the hook good! “”Wait for You” and “Search and Seek” describes that feeling of excitement as one journey’s into the unknown. “Hidden in my Head” and “Sand and the Sea” are two more engaging song and, lyrically, spot on and emotionally stoking music about love, loss, distraction, and trying to stay fully present in a rapidly paced and changing world. There’s an almost 90’s sound to some songs. I’m not sure that I’ve got this right, but it sounds as if Fiore is singing about life and the unknown but optimistic about the future. It’s definitely more Acoustic Pop based rock than Indie College Rock, but I liked it a lot despite the somewhat modern sound.
Fiore will get good draws at smaller live venues. All tracks comes at you full board and wraps up a strong 12 track album. All in all a very consistent album. Like I had previously mentioned I cannot believe how long it’s been since I heard a Acoustic vocal record – until today. When all is said and done “Small Wooden Room” by Patrick J. Fiore is a classic return of Accoustic based Singer/Songwriter – and it’s long overdue. This is straight forward music in which the glue that binds it sometimes seems to be made of opposing forces, yet it comes together to form a perfect bit of symmetry and style. Bottom line: Sometimes it your destiny to walk with into the unknown, not sure of the outcome, but with your head held high and a guitar slung across the back. I also get the feeling Fiore is not afraid to take chances by just being himself and letting the chips fall where they may. I think that’s why like many others look forward to hearing more of his music in the future and maybe catching them live. Who knows where the future will lead? But one thing is for sure. When one listener to the music of Patrick J Fiore it just makes you feel better.