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Forest Sun (from the album Hey Magnolia available on Painted Sun Records) (by Lee Zimmerman)
According to his bio, Forest Sun’s musical influences came about by more than mere chance. It reads like this: ‘Forest Sun was born in upstate New York to folksinging back-to-the-land hippie parents. His dad used to chop wood with neighbor Garth Hudson of the Band and literally built the floor that Bob Dylan stood on at manager Albert Grossman’s Bearsville studios in Woodstock, New York. His mom heard Pete Seeger and Joan Baez play when they filmed a TV show in her uncles living room in Boston, and dated one of The Chambers Brothers before she met his dad. Weaned on a diet of Jackson Browne and Toots and the Maytals, some of Forest’s earliest memories are of his dad playing “Pancho and Lefty” by Townes Van Zandt, and his mom singing Elizabeth Cotton’s “Freight Train”. Forest wrote songs with Rory Block when he was six years old, learned to juggle with Wavy Gravy when he was 9, and studied drumming with the late African master percussionist Babatunde Olatunji as a teenager. In college, he played in a band with SNL star Maya Rudolph. They opened for No Doubt at the Catalyst in Santa Cruz before Forest left to study art in Spain’.
Well, at least that may help to explain his decidedly descriptive name. Clearly it was borne from hippie happenstance.
It’s no surprise then that his new album Hey Magnolia personifies his organic origins. Co-produced by Forest Sun and multi-instrumentalist Gawain Mathews, with guest appearances by chanteuse Lara Louise and national fiddle champion Luke Price, the songs ploughs amid the rustic environs associated with his youth, creating an intriguing blend of Folk, Bluegrass, Country, and Soul from a poet’s perspective. Mainly though, it’s a set of songs that evoke an assured sense of calm and contentment, shared through such evocative entries as “Only Passing Time” (‘I thought I could change the world, but the world changed me…’), “Love That Keeps on Trying”, “All the Mornings Have an Echo”, and “Underwater”. There’s not a single entry here that lacks that particular comfort and caress, making the entire album a mellow and melodic journey from start to finish. Occasional upbeat offerings like “Someday” and “Sweet Dreams, Caroline” maintain the same charm, just as the otherwise pessimistic “We May Not Ever Make It Home” manages to convey a measure of both reassurance and reflection.
Ultimately, Hey Magnolia is a gem of an album, the perfect antidote to the stress many of us are subjected to on a daily basis. Thanks are due Mr. Forest Sun for sharing a sound that’s illuminated so brightly. (by Lee Zimmerman)
Listen and buy the music of Forest Sun from AMAZON
For more information, please visit the Forest Sun website
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