Jayson Fulton, Startled Arms | Album Review | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

Seven Days needs your financial support!

Jayson Fulton, Startled Arms 

Album Review

cd-jaysonfulton.jpg

(Self-released, CD)

For the better part of the past 15 years, Jayson Fulton has played in a variety of central-Vermont-based bands. Most notably, he is the lead singer and bassist for Waitsfield bluegrass outfit the Mad Mountain Scramblers. But deep in his heart, Fulton has long considered himself a songwriter. Earlier this year, he finally released his debut solo album, Startled Arms. While Scramblers fans may be somewhat surprised at Fulton’s soft-rock leanings, over 17 original tracks the veteran multi-instrumentalist proves himself a capable tunesmith and a talented vocalist.

Removed from his familiar rootsy string-band setting, Fulton reveals an interesting assortment of influences, from James Taylor to Hall and Oates. Following a brief instrumental intro track, he settles into a light acoustic-rock groove on “Nasty Pool.” It’s an adventuresome little tune with a meandering melody that winks at Steely Dan.

Throughout the remainder of the disc, Fulton shows great command of his formative inspirations, offering elements of varying styles without ever truly aping them. “War Chimes” is a limber bluegrass-tinged cut with a lean hook. “Colorado I Pretend” is a heartfelt ode that recalls Simon & Garfunkel. “Cool Breeze” is a funky acoustic-rock nugget — complete with a cheeky mouth-trumpet solo.

The album’s only real flaw is that there is too much of it. While there are more nice moments to be found than bad ones, Fulton includes a few clunkers that should have been left on the cutting-room floor. For example, “Business Day,” on which he muses over the monotony of working a day job. Unfortunately, the song is as dull and listless as one presumes the said 9-to-5 to be.

Still, there’s a lot to like about Startled Arms. Jayson Fulton may not be a cutting-edge songwriter, and his influences may seem dated or, at times, even a little schmaltzy. But his refreshing lack of pretense is undeniably appealing. Throughout the record, you get the sense that Fulton comes by his sunny, soft-rock persona honestly. Particularly as first attempts go, the record is a largely pleasant affair that suggests Fulton is a promising talent with room to grow.

Jayson Fulton plays the Purple Moon Pub in Waitsfield on Saturday, May 19.

Got something to say? Send a letter to the editor and we'll publish your feedback in print!

About The Author

Dan Bolles

Dan Bolles

Bio:
Dan Bolles is Seven Days' assistant arts editor and also edits What's Good, the annual city guide to Burlington. He has received numerous state, regional and national awards for his coverage of the arts, music, sports and culture. He loves dogs, dark beer and the Boston Red Sox... more

Comments


Comments are closed.

Since 2014, Seven Days has allowed readers to comment on all stories posted on our website. While we’ve appreciated the suggestions and insights, the time has come to shut them down — at least temporarily.

While we champion free speech, facts are a matter of life and death during the coronavirus pandemic, and right now Seven Days is prioritizing the production of responsible journalism over moderating online debates between readers.

To criticize, correct or praise our reporting, please send us a letter to the editor. Or send us a tip. We’ll check it out and report the results.

Online comments may return when we have better tech tools for managing them. Thanks for reading.

Latest in Album Review

Keep up with us Seven Days a week!

Sign up for our fun and informative
newsletters:

All content © 2020 Da Capo Publishing, Inc. 255 So. Champlain St. Ste. 5, Burlington, VT 05401  |  Contact Us
Website powered by Foundation