ABOUT TONY FURTADO
If you’ve followed Tony Furtado’s prolific music career at all, you won’t be surprised to know that his 15th album, Golden, is loaded with several impressive firsts. For the first time, he has self-produced and penned every track. It is also the first time his own artwork — a sculpture of a two-headed rabbit — has been featured on the cover. However, on what is arguably his most engaging, masterful recording to date, one first marks this album more than any other. After 20 years of recording, touring basically living on the road, it is the first time Furtado has ever recorded an album in the town that he calls home.
Recorded, mixed and co-produced by friend and engineer Rob Stroup at 8-Ball Studio in Portland, Oregon, Golden is the product of Furtado surrounded by the comforts of home, weaving his way through the diverse cultural fabric of a city rich with music, art and talent. In classic Furtado fashion, he explores the hills and valleys of familiar and new musical territory ranging from Americana, Celtic and folk to indie rock and pop. And while his award-winning playing and unforgettable leads are present throughout, it is his vocal presence, diverse arrangements and songwriting that take center stage on Golden.
From the sad horns and heartbreaking wait for “Angelina” to the broken man portrayed in the pedal steel-driven ballad “Man Down,” and poignant, other-worldly ode “Angels We Know,” his relaxed vocal delivery, pointed stories and melodic phrasing bring a powerful authenticity to each song. Combined with masterful production — a swirling undercurrent of unique instrumentation, percussion, and sweet harmonies — Golden is a truly landmark album for Furtado.
Inspiration for the songs and music came from his many experiences around the River City while on hiatus from the road. His weekly residencies at local venues The Woods and The Secret Society provided him an opportunity to broaden his palette and share his tunes with a huge swath of songwriters, including Casey Neill, Jeremy Wilson, Dangermuffin and Kenny White. An online songwriting “club” hosted by Adam Levy, where he was joined by songwriters like Ari Hest, Vienna Teng and Garrison Starr, spawned the rootsy “In the Hollow” and the driving devilry of “Can’t Lie Down.” Even the local art provided inspiration. The infectious instrumental “Portlandia” is classic Furtado and named after a Raymond Kaskey sculpture located above the entrance of a downtown building.
“In the past five years, I’ve really worked my way into the fabric of this town,” said Furtado. “The experiences I’ve had, the talented people I’ve met — it just felt right to make the record here. It was so easy to pop in or out of the studio when I wanted to overdub something or have a friend come in to play on a tune. It allowed for a lot of collaboration and inspiration to be captured from everyday life.”
Many of Furtado’s local compadres added their talents to the Golden sessions — artists like Paul Brainard (pedal steel), Ezra Holbrook (vocals), Jim Brunberg (vocals), Anders Bergstrom (drums), Stephanie Schneiderman (vocals), Scott Law (mandolin), Drew Shoals (drums), Tye North (bass) and Johnny Connolly (accordion) are heard throughout.
An award winning banjo and slide guitar player who has recorded with the likes of Allison Krauss, Kelly Joe Phelps and Jerry Douglas, Tony Furtado has lived primarily on the road for the last two decades. And while he’s resided in many towns, they’ve mostly been temporary spaces. Now this consummate troubadour and indie label darling has finally found a place to call home. And if Golden is any indication of what home can do, we all hope he never leaves.