[5 April 2010]
On his third solo CD, Reed Foehl steps up the production and musicianship. Where his previous solo CDs were mostly sparse, acoustic songwriter fare, Once an Ocean, adds eloquent strings, dense percussion, electric guitars, glockspiel, Moog and Rhodes organ as well as Wurlitzer. Frazy Ford and Trish Klein of the Be Good Tanyas add serene vocals to several tracks and Klein adds dulcet banjo to others. On the haunting title track, Ford’s lovely, lilting soprano weaves itself around Foehl’s somber, twangy tenor. Deeply resonating stand up bass and ethereal violin add hallowed atmosphere to the stormy sailors lament. Jefferson Hammer’s’ rocking, churning electric guitar gives “Only in Your Arms” the feel of a lost Neil Young song. The three-part vocal chorus of “la la la la’s” are in perfect harmony on “Wolves”, which is bolstered by hand claps and percussion. Without being overly sentimental, Foehl addresses life as being temperamental on the hushed “Goodbye World”, accentuated with trumpet and gentle snare drumming. The closer “Good Company” is a leaving ballad with highlights of weepy violin and tenderly plucked banjo. The additional musicians and production of John Raham give Once an Ocean texture and tone and provide solid accompaniment to Foehl’s mellow songs.