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Arts & Living
Soltero has a lonely soul, but they still know how to have a good time
By Chris Hislop
Friday, January 28, 2005
Soltero's "The Tongues You Have Tied," (released in June, 2004 on Three Ring Records) marks the third release from founder Tim Howard and company. According to a passage on Howard's website solterosongs.com, "Soltero," in Spanish means "of a lonely condition." Howard is a self-proclaimed "lonely soul" residing in Boston, Mass. where he shacks up and creates masterfully produced records full of melodic, well written, and downright soothing tunes preformed on predominantly acoustic instruments. Soltero's songs are sometimes in the solo format, and other times with a full-on band. Howard is the main song-writer and his voice and folkie/story- telling ballads bring to mind the sounds of Elliott Smith, Ray Davies, Lou Reed, hints of Jeff Tweedy, and Califone's Tim Rutili. That being said, this album must live up to some high-expectations. The songs featured on "Tongues..." come across as the perfect soundtrack for a rainy day, or maybe a long drive through the country-side. The songs are quiet, sophisticated, sometimes cynical, and will often catch you by surprise. You may listen to this record and think of it as kind of dreary due to it's pace, but upon a second spin you can hear the sincerity found in Howard's voice and from this draw excitement. You know you've found something when you pick up a Soltero album. His songs deal with life, its incurring relationships, and the good and bad times that will come about. The 7th cut on the album (conveniently entitled "The Good Times") has an interesting melody and lyrics that boast:
"Now and then I think of all the good times/ They come to me sometimes like in a dream/ We hang around the kitchen swapping stories/ and they're gone again like water turned to steam."
I feel like the picture Howard draws in this prose is something we can all connect to at some time or another. I know from personal experience that I've sat around friend's tables for hours on end sharing stories, laughing, and then the experience is gone, just as quickly as it began. Be ready for more though. There will always be good times to be had.
"The Tongues You Have Tied" is definitely an album that I would recommend checking out if you're a music fan, and a friend, looking to find something new and ultimately interesting. I'm sure you can find the albums at Bullmoose Music, and if not, you can always request them and the guys and gals at the store would be glad to order them up for you.
Speaking of good times (and finding available Soltero albums), Howard will be performing a solo Soltero show at The Red Door in Portsmouth on Monday, the 31st of January. The comfortable feel and intimate size of The Red Door will really be a humbling compliment for Soltero's music. Be sure to check it out, and be sure to bring a friend. Seekonk, from Portland, Maine are also on the bill.
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