It is no secret that I love the band The Posies. I have seen them multiple times live and continue to love every release of theirs as if it was the first time I discovered them. In all the album reviews I have done so far I haven’t covered one of their albums as it is just so hard to single out a favorite, they are all so good.
So, my answer to this is to touch on one of the solo albums by the prolific Posey, Ken Stringfellow. Ken himself is an insanely talented man who has played with a multitude of people in his career, from playing keyboards with R.E.M., rocking with Lagwagon and even forming an incredible Norwegian rock band called The Disciplines, he has had a wide and varied career outside of his time with the Posies. That brings us to today’s album, Touched.
Why This Album?
When this album came out I had already left home to find my way in life. It wasn’t an easy time for me and I soon found myself in a loveless relationship and in a job I really didn’t care for. Needing some outlet, I turned to the bands I loved and discovered that Ken Stringfellow of the Posies had released a solo album that almost spoke to my then current plight.
Each track touched on another feeling or nerve that allowed for some pretty introspective moments during that time. I began to work more on my writing and also figuring out exactly where I wanted to be in life. Soon I came to the realization that I was in a bad place and something had to be done. I can’t say that this album inspired me to leave a poisonous relationship but it sure helped me get a perspective on things. Now, in a better place in life, (and with someone who is anything but loveless) when I spin this album I am reminded of better times, the sorrow and pain I once felt as I listened to each track has moved on. It’s funny how music can speak to you in various voices at different times in your life. The songs that were once melancholy and sad to me, are now filled with hope and contentment. The songs themselves haven’t changed though.
Ken himself is an incredible talent and this album really showcases this. While I love his harmonies with Jon Auer, there is something unique when he performs solo. This album almost feels a little more personal and I think that is what I needed when I first put it on, what I still love about it to this day.
On a personal note, In the past few years I have met Ken a few times at various concerts. He is a delight to be around and comes across as a genuinely kind person. Unlike many of their contemporaries, both Jon and Ken really seem to care about their fans and the people who have come to love their music. It is so nice to find out that the musicians and entertainers you love are really good people in real life as well.
This is always tough when it comes to my favorite albums. They are my favorite for a reason so picking out a few songs to highlight is nothing short of challenging. If I were forced to choose I would go with these.
Track 7 One Morning. To me, this is about figuring out who you are and what you really want to be. It is also about realizing that you are never really alone. It feels more like a Posies song than most of the rest of the album but a little more stripped down than usual.
The next has to be Sparrow. I always felt that it was about finding your freedom and opening yourself up to more of life. Once you have opened up to yourself, you can then begin to accept others in your life.
Finally, a song that has shown up on a couple of his albums so far. First appearing on This Sounds Like Goodbye but this version feels more complete. To me, it is about what the title says, the future. About how no matter what you do, the future is there for you and you just have to keep going to find it. This is one that, if I ever formed a band again, I would love to cover. It is such a positive message to finish out the album.
As Ken sings:
What have you got to lose? Whichever paths you choose
Keep in mind that the fates are kind if you let them be so
And I tell you no lies
Ok, Where do I get it?
At the time of this writing you can grab a copy from Amoeba Records for around $13. If you happen to catch Ken or the Posies in concert, he tends to have some of the Vinyl on hand as well. Or you can just listen to it via spotify, whatever suits your fancy.
I hope you give this a try, it’s good. Trust me.
At the time of this writing The Posies are on tour again and I recommend giving them a go if they happen to come through your town.
Here’s to the future my friends…
Late to the Game 06/19/2018
Thanks for reading, If you would like to read more reviews I have a weekly series called Key Movies Of My Life that comes out every Wednesday and also check out some retro tv goodness with the ongoing series Retro TV Reviews here. You can also find a few of my other Music Reviews Here.
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