How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
The ability to create music that challenges boundaries is a rare gift. Shane Fontayne does just that and more on What Nature Intended. Pushing the musical limits, Fontayne takes you on a rapturous trip. The guitarist/vocalist/composer has played with such greats as Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon and U2. His debut solo album, What Nature Intended, is a collage of the soul. Each song is a touching experience that leaves the listener an attentive partner along the journey.
“Weight of the World” provides an acoustically distant guitar with sexy, deep vocals. Like an artist with a brush and acrylics, Fontayne allows you to see the canvas, sense the depth and touch a part of his world. Magic wand in hand, Fontayne continues to toy with the listener throughout the CD. No one song has the same groove. For instance, Fontayne takes on a sweetly gentle voice in “Little Napoleons,” while he kicks it up with “Spin It.” An instrumental version of “Little Napoleons” was recently featured on the HBO’s “Sex and the City.”
A tragic love letter, “Serenade/Marlene,” is presented in a bossa nova flavor. Guest instrumentalist Chris Botti (trumpet) provides lonesome ambience in the background, while Fontayne calls to a lost love. As he tugs at your heartstrings, you visualize Fontayne in a pool of mixed emotions. Leaving no musical stone unturned, “Bubble and Squeak” provides an experimental voyage with an infusion of background vocal clips. If you listen carefully, you will hear an answering machine. On a completely different note, “There’s Only Room for Me” provides a vintage feel in a swinging romantic mode.
“Voodoo in the House” is the most memorable song of the entire album. The haunting layers of the instruments and vocals put the audience on edge. Fontanye calls upon trumpeter Chris Botti to provide off-kilter vibes. Adding closure this eclectic work of art, “You’ll Never Know” speaks of innocence, grace and mystery. The beauty of experiencing life to the very fullest is what What Nature Intended is all about.
Track Listing: Weight Of The World, Little Napoleons, Cut From The Same Cloth, Spin It, Serenade, Marlene, So
High, Bubble & Squeak, It's Only Love, Weigh Down Into Gold, Burmese Inertia, There's Only Room
For Me, Voodoo In The House, You'll Never Know
Personnel: Shane Fontayne (vocals, keys, guitar, mandolin, steel and bass), Chris Botti (trumpet), Jay Bellerose
(drums, percussion, castanets, cajon and tabla), Jennifer Condos (bass), Freebo (tuba), Steve Gurr
(guitar), Sean Lennon (drums), David McKelvy (harmonica), Scott McKenzie (phone message),
James Rubinstein (backing vocals), Robin Sylvester (bass, guitar, piano, glockenspiel, percussion,
vibes) and CJ Vanston (organ, strings)