Grab a cold brew and your acoustic guitar and gather around the warm fire that Sevendust has sparked with their latest burning ember, Time Travelers and Bonfires. Following up on the success of their ninth studio album, Black Out the Sun, the Atlanta-based band’s latest effort burns with all the intensity of any of their previous “electric” releases. Time Travelers and Bonfires is a self-produced acoustic album and was funded by a direct-to-fan campaign via PledgeMusic, through which they were able to raise over 235% of their needed goal.
Sevendust proved with their third studio album back in 2001, Animosity, that they are more than capable of rocking the acoustics on the hugely popular track “Angel’s Son”, a tribute to Lynn Strait, former singer of the band Snot, who died in 1998 in a car accident. They further reinforced their mastery of the acoustic format with 2004’s Southside Double Wide, a live acoustic recording. The band has now taken that experience to another level. Put simply…Time Travelers and Bonfires is hands-down one of the best acoustic albums I’ve listened to in a long time.
Time Travelers and Bonfires features six previously-released songs re-recorded in an acoustic format, plus six brand-spanking new tunes. The production is stellar, with many elements added to the mix including string sections, piano, and additional instrumentation along with some tasty electronic samples.
Lajon Witherspoon’s voice has never sounded better and Clint Lowery adds just the right amount of backing harmony. All of these ingredients come together flawlessly, creating a sound just as intense as any of their previous studio releases. The flow of the tracks is relaxed and natural, and the album has an even split between new and previously-recorded material, reaching as far back as the 1989 debut album with tracks like “Black”, and “Denial” from their sophomore album Home.
One of my favorites from the ‘previously-released’ group is “Karma,” off of Cold Day Memory (2010). The acoustic version is still just as heavy, with drummer Morgan Rose laying down the groove and Vince Hornsby’s bass adding the perfect low-end accompaniment. Witherspoon and Lowery blend effortlessly throughout the song on vocals, and together they definitely “own” this track.
One of the brightest sparks among the brand new material is “The Wait,” which is a thoughtful reflection on personal loss and the need to let go and say goodbye to loved ones who have reached the end of life’s journey. The song is a beautiful composition both lyrically and melodically, featuring strings, keyboard, and more of the sublime vocal harmonies that Sevendust has perfected. Another one of my favorites is “Bonfire” which is the acoustic equivalent of the hard-hitting, head-banging grooves that Sevendust has made famous.
Time Travelers and Bonfires shines with energy throughout the twelve tracks and shows us a band that definitely has their shit together. This is a must-have for any Sevendust fan of old and the acoustic format potentially opens their music to a wider demographic.