From Good Homes: Time and the River
In early August, From Good Homes played a special album-release show at the Waterloo Concert Field in Stanhope, N.J., returning to the same location where the Jersey-bred band performed what was then their final set back in the summer of 1999. Appropriately, Time and the River , the new record that From Good Homes celebrated at that show, is the band’s first studio effort since that same year they initially broke up. And, it also marks a return to that era, showcasing FGH’s signature brand of “Hick-Pop” Americana, led by the solid songwriting and high, earthy vocals of Todd Sheaffer (who is now probably best known for his work with the other New Jersey group he founded, Railroad Earth). Along with the singer-songwriter, From Good Homes features bassist Brady Rymer, drummer Patrick Fitzsimmons, saxophonist Dan Myers and multi-instrumentalist Jamie Coan, all of whom pick up with Time and the River where they left off in the late-’90s, without sounding like a throwback nostalgia offering. Though FGH reunited in 2009 and have played here and there in the years since, the new LP finally adds an injection of new tunes into the group’s catalog for longtime fans to enjoy. The band released a preview EP of the same name in December 2018, introducing three of the album’s tracks: “Tallahassee Trouble,” a rollicking look back on a past relationship with shimmering pedal-steel guitar; “Sweet Spot,” a playful, horn-fueled jam; and “Lady Liberty,” a pensive, album-closing ode to immigrants and the American dream. The full-length version of Time and the River adds eight additional compositions that use the group’s still-vibrant cohesion to ruminate on a variety of subjects, including the relentless passage of time (the reflective title track), the frustrating division of politics in the country (“I Throw Up My Hands”) and taking control of one’s life (“Don’t Put Off ‘Til Tomorrow”). The members of From Good Homes still have plenty to say, and their dedicated fanbase is surely glad that the band also still has the willingness to say it.