by Mike Breen
One of the best albums to come out of the Greater
Cincinnati music scene this year is the debut full-length from Terminal
Union, which began as the duo of singer/songwriters David Faul and Ian
Mathieu and is now rounded out by bassist Lynette Mathieu and drummer
Mark Becknell. The members of Terminal Union are great players (as are
the many guest artists), Faul and Mathieu have some fantastic
songwriting chops and the arrangements are top-notch, with cello,
mandolin and fiddle sprinkled on top of the band’s sturdy acoustic
Though eclectic enough to be considered “AltCountry,” Terminal Union captures the heart and soul of vintage Country on Making Arrangements.
What puts Terminal Union ahead of many of their peers — and makes these
songs so riveting — is the emotional weight the frontmen inject into
the writing and performances. Being able to make an immediate emotional
connection with listeners is not something you can learn; it's innate.
On the song "Magnificent Sounds," the group pays tribute
to another pair of artists who also came off as instinctively talented
and able to bring a soul-stirring levity to practically every note
played, seemingly effortlessly — Miles Davis and Townes Van Zandt.
Veteran local musician Michael "Mad Dog" Mavridoglou provides some bonus
passion with his warm Jazz trumpet riffs on the track, which somehow
sounds completely at home in the band's Country/Roots context.
Elsewhere, highlight tracks like “Comeback Kid” and
“Devil’s in the Details” have the power of Steve Earle in peak form,
while the piano-buoyed “One of the Ones” and “I Fell You” are
wonderfully composed ballads that defy genre classifications — they are
simply amazing, timeless songs.
Preview a pair of songs from Making Arrangements below. Visit terminalunion.com for more on the band and see them live this Saturday at Newport's York Street Cafe, where the group will be participating in the One More Girl on a Stage benefit show.
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by Mike Breen
Singer/songwriters David Faul and Ian Mathieu hit the local songwriter circuit
Rootsy local musician David Faul is no longer with the wonderfully-named duo project with fellow singer/songwriter Ian Mathieu, Terminal Union (my favorite Cincinnati-centric band name of all time … and there are a lot of good ones). The two artists are discontinuing their project, which had been recording, and pursuing the solo route for a while. That's bad news in the sense that Faul and Mathieu meshed very well together in duo form. (And that name, just sitting there, wasted!) But it's good news because each artist is really good on their own. (And you can hear some of what they've done together so far here still.)Mathieu has been impressing people in local venues since his teens. Tomorrow (Thursday) he'll be performing at and hosting the weekly Cincinnati Songwriter Round event at Tone House Music (4040 Hamilton Ave., Northside). Mathieu is filling in for usual host Andyman Hopkins. Music starts at 7 p.m. and it's a B.Y.O.B. kinda night, so bring yer own hooch. Mathieu will be joined "in the round" by singer/songwriters Mark Becknell, Doug Teets and Ben Knight. Here's a clip of Mathieu performing recently at Plain Folk Cafe shot by the great local music website Cincy Groove.Faul, oddly enough, is also hosting a songwriter's showcase/open mic/open jam this week. On Sunday, he'll perform at and run the open mic/jam at Plain Folk Cafe, the new Americana/Folk/Bluegrass hotspot in Pleasant Plain, Ohio. The jam is running from noon-4 p.m. and is quickly becoming a popular musicians' destination. Faul writes on his Facebook that the jam is open to all skill levels and those "with a flare for original, folk, acoustic, bluegrass, americana, roots music" should come on out. It's a laid-back affair and you can bring your own instrument or borrow one.Faul's great original composition "Magnificent Sounds" recently got a bunch of attention when it was posted on the Dylan fan site Expecting Rain, where it drew enough hits to be in the Top 20 of most viewed posts for several days.Faul says he wrote the song in tribute to two of his musical idols — Jazz great Miles Davis and late, brilliant singer/songwriter Townes Van Zandt. He accomplishes this by blending spine-tingling Jazz trumpet licks, performed by fantastic local multi-instrumentalist Michael Mavridoglou, with a more folksy base. The tune was intended for a Terminal Union album, but for now, it lives on in cyberspace. The track also features Mathieu on guitar, Jared Manker on bass and Brad Kelly on harmony vocals.About the song, Faul writes on SoundCloud: "With the help of Michael Mavridoglou on trumpet we tried to blend elements of jazz and folk into one song creating a sound beyond genre characterization. I'm blessed to have heard the music of the great jazz masters and folk song-writers. I believe the love of all genres of music is what shapes our musical journey in the most profound and engaging ways." What a great sentiment. And a great end result. Give it a listen below.