Steelism- an instrumental group comprised of Jeremy Fetzer on guitar and Spencer Cullum, Jr. on pedal steel- have released an exceptional debut album. All 11 songs have a robust storyline and, ironically, a substantial voice. The Trans-Atlantic duo (Fetzer is from the U.S.; Cullum from the U.K.) execute the word-free album eloquently; vocals really aren’t necessary in these compositions. “Caught in a Pickle,” utilizes a vocal track but in a melodious way, reminiscent of “A Day in the Life,” which could be a possible homage to Cullum’s roots.
The first track, “Cat’s Eye Ring” is undoubtedly the EP’s most complex, sounding like something Beethoven would compose for a John Wayne movie. This juxtaposition is consistent throughout. Fetzer and Cullum even combine twang with surf rock at times.
“We’ve always been into the idea of playing a strong melody- something you can hum- rather than soloing,” said Cullum. “Steelism allows us to write and play in a way that crosses genres to tell our own stories, rather than supporting someone else’s song as side-men.” Cullum met Fetzer in Nashville where the two identified their common fervor for instrumental pop music of various genres. Influences of country, reggae, psychedelic, jazz, funk, and soul are apparent 615 to FAME.
Steelism’s album has the power to make strings ask ‘hey, how’s it going?’ In the last track, “Greenwich Mean Time,” the guitars say ‘so long, we hope you enjoyed our music,’ and you definitely will.
– Kelsey Drain