His full name is Kyle Stephen Fosburgh and he sent me a press release for some odd reason. I have no idea how he got my address and I don’t really care at this point. He was plugging a relatively new release titled Songs For the Road Home and I really don’t know what made me follow the link because I get a number of them and follow only a few (time just doesn’t permit), but I am glad I did. One verse into the album’s opener, “Snow Is Gently Falling”, I knew he was something special. I heard flashes of Randy Burns in the song— from Burns’ Evening of the Magician and Songs For an Uncertain Lady period during which Burns flirted with what I hear as folk/psych. I heard beauty and I heard depth. The music struck a deep chord.
What surprised me came after. Not only does Fosburgh have natural voice and songwriting talents, he is a student of the acoustic guitarists of the days of my youth— Robbie Basho and John Fahey and more than likely John Renbourn, though he makes no reference to Renbourn in his press packet. He picks. He picks with a fluid motion and a passion for the music. Not all guitarists do, you know. Playing the notes does not a good song make. One must have a feel for the notes and the song. Fosburgh has it, for sure. There is soul in his guitar.
You hear it in his voice, too. It has a texture not unlike that of James Taylor or Bill Puka but on a higher scale— smooth and with just the right amount of vibrato at just the right moments. Natural. Inborn.
Songs For the Road Home is mostly, I assume, original and self-penned. The originals are good— maybe better than good. “Snow Is Gently Falling” certainly is. Fosburgh also throws in a couple of covers— of Bob Dylan’s “I Shall Be Released” (not the best song for me because I have just plain heard it too many times to care— but to be fair, Fosburgh does a good version) and of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards’ “No Expectations” (this one smoothed to perfection with the added touch of slide guitar or dobro).
The instrumentals— “Realization”, “There Is a Way” and “Memorial March”— are acoustic guitar tone poems which glance back to the days of Fahey and Leo Kottke and Basho. Smooth, emotional, honest. Not just a man and his guitar, but a man and a guitar and a soul.
How surprised was I to find that Fosburgh had four other albums on the market? Pretty damned. I scour lists and read articles and reviews and am constantly on the lookout. I am always amazed when a musician of real worth evades my foraging. Then again, uncovering one as talented as is Forsburgh is a real treat.
During my search to find the story behind Fosburgh, I ran across this on one of his bandcamp pages: “Grass-Tops Recording is a record label dedicated to archiving/reissuing music from the past, as well as featuring news artists who are blazing trails with original innovations in sound. The label is owned by Kyle Fosburgh and Hayden Pedigo, and has a team of wonderful people behind the scenes who help us make each vision a reality!” Of course! Grass-Tops was the originator my my email! Time to do more research (Hey, I have four other Fosburgh albums to hear). In the meantime, here are three videos I dug up featuring Kyle Fosburgh— two from earlier albums and the last from Songs For the Road. For your viewing and listening pleasure. Or, should you just want to listen, click here.