THREEFIFTY – Gently Among the Coals

THREEFIFTY – Gently Among the Coals


THREEFIFTY founders Brett Parnell and Geremy Schulick just released their latest CD entitled “Gently Among Coals” in May of 2017. This music captures the essence of what I would call Bluegassy alt-rock and captures honest passion of gripping Americana Alt-pop perfectly or in the case of this red hot band quite effortlessly. The rhythms and slow burning vocals coupled with the heart tugging lyrics will cause you to think and comprehend life itself from a folk-rock “passionate” perspective shall we say. With a list of artistic and professional achievements as long as my arm I suspect these 2 are not new to this. In fact it’s quite clear to me these two are not only experienced, they could probably be heralded as someone to keep a watchful eye on this year. Ninety seconds into the first track “Crossing State Lines” two of the first things crossing your mind is: 1) How undeniably infectious the music sounds, and 2) why the heck haven’t I heard of THREEFIFTY before? But let’s not get to ahead of ourselves here. Track 1 “Crossing State Lines” lifts off the ground nicely. It’s a hooky prelude with a killer chorus and yes, it’s still ringing in my head. Track 2 “Allegiance” is another intriguing anthem which is probably my favorite track on the CD. “Andromeda” is an intellectual affirmation of sorts and delivers more epic-pop rock balladry and show how diverse their writing style can be. The CD as a whole does a nice job at offering a wide variety of media; some slow, some fast, some hard some poppy. All tracks are passionate, while some hit hard with a ring of truth to them. I especially like how instrumentation sort of flows with the music – never going against the grain. THREEFIFTY no doubt has a solid live show proving this is one band that believes in putting an emphasis on good playing and solid heartfelt vocals at their core. One of my favorite things about this CD is how their musical style sort of runs its natural course with pockets of bursting intensity then quickly withdraws again into melodic seclusion. I found this to be a very cool trait of this band. To go with this – I get the impression Parnell and Schulick are both kind of a master at matching this flow with passion of their playing with emotion.

In music, delivering breathless performances and challenging conventional wisdom are often deliberate efforts to establish a marketing niche, but regarding affairs of the heart for these two backed up by a great list of players it feels like a natural state of mind and being. Many of their past releases garnered rave reviews from music critics. I am going to one of them however these new songs violate the modern requirement that folk and alt-rock music provide instant gratification. Whatever the case this 12 track collection is a finely tuned balancing act that speaks volumes about these two and their message. Along the path one will find vivid songwriting and evocative emotions. Many songs are swimming in the deep end of the pool with acts such as Jason Mraz, John Mayer and Jack Johnson. “Fields” closely resembles folk-pop songs in terms of length and musical form, but this is not to say its only element. “Their Place at the Table” gently rolls out through an amazing piece of music ranging from alt rock, classical pop, and even course classic folk-rock styles.

In the pleasant malaise of sound and songs-manship this CD delivers, be prepared to be set adrift on a peaceful sea of emotions of love, life and hope. Other times awry in happy thoughts, sometimes displaying Americana sense of brilliance. Brett Parnell and Geremy Schulick along with the whole band really seals the deal for me in the end with his vocal emotions which cannot be faked, especially how high and low along the emotional spectrum he travels – like life itself.


April Denison