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'The Bell' by Tony Furtado left a ringing in my ear I didn't want to stop

There is an artist you need to know. His name is Tony Furtado, and he has just released his newest EP, “The Bell,” all on his own. He isn’t new to the game. He’s been putting out records since 1996. He has made multiple music transitions starting in bluegrass where he displayed his banjo prodigy title, which he had earned at the young age of 19, but quickly decided he would get bored if he limited himself to one genre. He picked up the slide guitar using a simple bottleneck as his slide, and eventually, added the electric guitar to his repertoire.


Initially he started with mainly instrumental pieces, but quickly picked up song writing and added meaningful lyrics, which were sung by his underwhelming yet fitting vocals. On “The Bell,” most songs that include lyrics are sung with multiple harmonies – and possibly with some bias, good harmonies make me weak, so I loved it.


Tony Furtado’s musicianship has been compared to that of Chris Thile of the Punch Brothers, who will be performing at Summerfest on June 26. The versatility of song choice has even put him at a considerably higher rank than that of Thile’s, which he displays well throughout “The Bell.”


There’s a perfect mix of songs that contain great emotional depth without the need of lyrics like in the song “Iowa,” with more rough-rocking songs that include lyrics like in the album opener “Tired Bell.” In “Tired Bell,” the fiddle, the banjo, the drone like sounding undertone, all provide a completely badass feel and sets the stage for the rest of the album. There is also a great use of textual painting as he sings the words, “You will never chain my mind,” an actual chain noise is clattered in the background. It’s a very cool effect.


My personal favorite is “The Collier’s Daughter.” I find it to be the most in depth production on the album, with the most beautiful harmonies, accompanied by an amazing instrumental construction. It makes me shiver, and I mean, that’s how you know – it’s good.


I would absolutely consider this a complete album. By that I mean I can easily sit and listen to the whole thing without wanting to skip every other song, and in fact having my foot tap along and maybe even a smile cross my face as I internally acknowledge the beauty of it.


I’m almost upset that I hadn’t heard of Tony Furtado before this came across my desk. I wonder what I have been missing in the years leading up to this discovery. Either way I am so pleased to have heard this musical display and even more pleased to be able to share it with you.  I highly recommend checking out “The Bell,” which will be released for the public on June 23.





Director of Digital | Radio Milwaukee