This Grand Parade

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This Grand Parade

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REVIEWS
“Here is a collection of some well-written songs. Haring has been getting some positive recognition in the Columbus music scene, as well as with a few prominent performers. One listen to this disc, and anyone can see why. The songwriting is well thought out, yet seems to flow very smoothly. The album is produced by Dan Baird (Georgia Satellites), and features some fantastic musicianship, particularly from violinist Teresa Fyffe. She lays down some absolutely beautiful solos, as well as supplemental riffs especially on songs like “Tremont, Illinois Christmas” and “Apathy.” The guitar/violin interplay comes of great in the country-tinged “Forgive Me.” The overall production is dynamically appealing, nothing overpowering. The only flaw (if one can call it that) with the performances on this CD is Haring’s vocal qualities. His voice comes across so well with the acoustic-oriented, folish songs such as “Changing Stations” and “Habits of the Heart.” Emotions come across so well, the listener can feel how much these songs are a part of the singer’s life. However, this soft-spoken quality sometimes gets lost in the more rocking productions such as the title track and “Work in Progress.” This last cut is an absolute gem, comparable to Springsteen’s “Born to Run” or Petty’s “American Girl.” If Haring’s voice were jsut a little more grittier, this would be a classic. This CD is a definite “driving” album, especially with the first few tracks. One can slip this into the car stereo system and hit the highway. Haring’s work is a pleasure to listen to, and proves himself to be a great up-and-coming songwriter.”
Matt Merta
Great Lakes Twang

“Evan Dando was one of the first alternative rock pioneers, a purveyor of grunge pop consistently lauded by critics and listeners alike. Unfortunately, while some alt-rockers survived the last century (Pearl Jam being the most obvious example), Dando has all but disappeared from the mainstream. It was never Evan Dando’s plan to leave music. His departure had more to do with a fickle listening audience, one that expected him to reinvent music with every new release. These expectations and eventual decrease in infamy are explored on one of the best songs to come out of CCM this year, “A Prayer for Evan Dando,” off Fred Haring’s second album on Grandma Katherine, “The Grand Parade.” Haring has outdone himself. Since his first disc, he has improved as a songwriter, singer, guitarist, and arranger – plus, he has been helped by a big-name producer (Dan Baird) and some top-notch musicians (Teresa Fyffe shines the brightest on violin and viola). The song about Evan Dando is just one example among many where Haring scores points for catchy phrasing and lyricism. On “Tremont, Illinois Christmas” we learn about a couple traveling to Chicago to have a baby. Haring uses a preacher’s trick to re-tell the Christmas story. He sings about how they were “bound for Chicago, Mary with child and Joesph with fear” and about “God’s gracious gift, right here in the Midwest.” It’s an effective technique that localizes the story, helped further by a creative rhyme scheme that’s both funny and spiritually challenging. Sometimes the phrasing gets downright theological. On the upbeat rocker “Work in Progress,” Haring admits: “I’m not always sure just what I’ll do next, but Jesus got the eyes to see me out of context.” What’s cool about that is how it has some great, deep meaning hidden within a fast moving radio-rock song. Musically, the songs stray frequently into country rock territory, sometimes reminding me of artists like The Eagles and Tom Petty. There’s nothing overly alternative here, and the thumping bass and drums on at least half of the songs could fit right in on most AOR station play lists. What makes it one of the better CCM albums to come out this year is how the whole package (including great production and mixing) comes together so well. Haring proves he’s an artist to be reckoned with.”
John Brandon
ChristRock

“I first heard of obscure singer songwriter Fred Haring on a car journey across America when a friend told me I should look out for his music. Imagine my surprise when three days later I chanced upon the man himself and he gave me a copy of his excellent second album. ‘This Grand Parade’ is classic American Roots Rock mixing the pop rock of its title track with the fiddles and folk of the incredible clever personification song, “Apathy” whilst elsewhere there’s layers of vibe on rockers like “There’s A Song In My Head” and “Last Man Standing”. A way with words and a creative approach to making original music in a familiar format, Haring moves from being touching on the string filled “Changing Stations” and the gentle moodiness of “Prayer For Evan Dando” to the full intensity of my favourite track, the driving “Work In Progress”. In a world of sanitised, safe Christian music, Haring is surely one independent artist who deserves to be snapped up and given wider exposure. (10 squares)”
Mike Rimmer
CrossRhythms

“Some songwriters fret about sophomore slumps, but local tunester Fred Haring has little to worry about. His second CD, “This Grand Parade”, is easy on the ears, with talented locals popping up every so often to contribute their two cents.”
The Other Paper
SINGER MOST PROUD OF HIS SONGWRITING
“Someone has to pray for Evan Dando. Fred Haring has stepped up to the task. On Haring’s second album, This Grand Parade (Grandma Katherine’s Music), the Columbus songwriter, singer and guitarist wrote the song based on a run-in with Dando, the former Lemonheads singer. Incapacitated three years ago in Ludlow’s Bar, Dando was picking fights from the stage with audience members and was incoherent when Haring tried to talk to him backstage. Hence, the song A Prayer for Evan Dando: “Magazines, late-night talk shows / pretty girls, drugs and cameos / . . . youth ain’t the same as invincible / Ray ain’t dead just uncomfortably numb / So I’ll say a prayer for Evan Dando and all those on the run.” “That scene always stuck in my head,” Haring said. “I was tinkling around on the piano one night, and I just liked a line I had: ‘I’ll say a prayer for Evan Dando and all of those on the run.’ I was going for a Needle and the Damage Done vibe. But, if anything, it’s a general anthem for people who struggle with addiction. “I’m a huge Evan Dando fan. It’s not a slam. He had a lot of clever melodies and words in his head.” “What’s that song mean?” would be a stupid question for, say, Rob Zombie, or Dando in altered states. Lyrics for someone such as Zombie are colorful afterthoughts that complement perfectly his electro-metal. Lyrics for Haring, who with the All-Stars plays an uptown folk-rock, are the reason for his being. “I really am still a mediocre guitarist and singer. I’m not going to win male vocalist of the year,” he said. “The thing I’m most proud of is the songwriting.” Haring earned degrees in broadcast journalism and religious studies from Washington and Lee University in 1993. A Mansfield native, he moved back to central Ohio shortly after to work, not write songs. Once settled in, he gathered a band, played the local circuit and recorded Ghosttowns and Kingdoms. The dark album — whose music-that-can’t-be-pigeonholed classification was more a burden than an asset — is less consistent musically than This Grand Parade. The new album has 11 songs that range from ballads (Changing Stations) and rock (Last Man Standing) to John Mellencamp-style woodshedding (Apathy) and a Christmas tune that works all year (Tremont, Illinois Christmas). Haring gives “full credit” to ex-Georgia Satellites songwriter, guitarist and singer Dan Baird for drawing a bead on the album’s direction: “When we recorded Ghosttowns and Kingdoms, if I was listening to the Pogues the morning I came to the studio, I’d be like, ‘That’s a cool kind of Celtic mandolin thing they’ve got going on.’ I’d want to put that on. Then I’d go to bed listening to Uncle Tupelo. By the end, it just became really jumbled. Dan tightened it all.” Joining Haring tonight at Little Brother’s will be the Franklin County All-Stars, the band that played on the record (save bassist Phil Maneri): Andy Harrison (guitar), Teresa Fyffe-Quickert (violin, viola) and John Bellas (drums). (John Zuck has filled Phil Maneri’s bass slot.) Haring and the All-Stars, who’ve toured throughout the United States, will hit the road soon. A stop next month will include a Los Angeles nightclub. “We’re going to open for (actor- musician) Harry Dean Stanton,” Haring said. “I don’t know how many people we’ll draw, but I don’t care. I’ll be sticking around for that.”
Aaron Beck
The Columbus Dispatch

GLAD TO BE HERE
Columbus All-Star Releases a Modern Classic
“If there’s one thing Fred Haring would like to come across as, it’s genuine. It is exhibited in his personal mannerisms, which in turn inform the lyrics he writes. “I’d like people to be able to pop in the disc, listen to the songs, and in the end say, `Hey, I understand what that guy’s singing about.'” That sentiment seems appropriate for Haring’s new release, This Grand Parade (Grandma Katherine’s Music). The album is full of this and that emotion, ranging between determined optimism (Work in Progress) and closely introspective and personal (Habits of the Heart). This is not to say that the disc in any way bleeds over into the emotive or effusive. There is plenty of carefully worded understatement and reservation when appropriate, furthered by Haring’s talent for matching music to mood. The choices of quiet piano on A Prayer for Evan Dando and fiddle on Apathy fit the lyrical tone and refuses to overpower or overshadow the message. Haring, humble and honest, defers much credit to two related but completely different parties. One is his band, the Franklin County All-Stars. The band–Phil Maneri’s bass, Teresa Fyffe’s violin and viola, John Bellas on drums and Andy Harrison contributing guitar–backs Haring live and in the studio with precision and expertise. The second party, to whom Haring delivers much praise, is Dan Baird, guitarist and record producer. Haring credits Baird with narrowing the scope of his music and helping solidify the sound. Haring explains how his first album was more an eclectic mix of different sounds, with little in the way of direction. “If I was listening to the Pogues some morning before recording, I would go into the studio and say, `Could we add a little banjo here?'” That conspicuous diversity is absent from This Grand Parade. Present is a mindful, deliberate direction and consistency that guides each of the 11 songs. There were many more in the beginning, though, explains Haring. “I went into the studio with 30 songs, and Baird cut 15 of them right off the bat,” he said. This was the beginning of what Haring calls Baird’s “slash and burn method.” Haring subsequently wrote another slew of tunes while on a trip to Europe, and delivered the second batch to Baird. The tension carried through the recording process, which itself lasted roughly three weeks, but Haring is not bitter. He said, “If you want to kill your producer halfway through recording, he’s doing a good job.” Haring considers his album more a “classic” recording. “When we sat down to record, Baird said, `OK–we can do one of two things: reinvent the wheel, or make a classic.'” With no hint of arrogance, he lists albums he wished to emulate: Neil Young’s Harvest, the Rolling Stones’ Exile on Main Street. The link between Haring and these classics is their relative simplicity. “You’re not going to hear anything really different, like, `Wow, I’ve never heard that before,'” he explained. He finds that familiarity on This Grand Parade, with no loss of quality. The album has a very big, professional sound to it, which Haring attributes to the mastering job by Greg Calbi, who has worked on albums by U2 and R.E.M. The fancy “buff job,” as Haring calls it, was a perk financed by his recording label and employer, Horizons, a locally based multimedia company. Some fans of Haring may recall how the release party was originally slated for earlier this year. The album release was postponed because, as Haring puts it, “We weren’t happy with the sound.” The album was mastered by Calbi, and now ready for official release. Haring will perform at a CD release party on Saturday, May 6, at Little Brother’s. Haring’s ultimate desire is, as he puts it, “that people will hear it, and it’ll strike a chord.” It’s difficult to deny this honesty, considering the singer/songwriter’s own open convictions: “I’m glad to be here, glad to be alive, part of this grand parade. I know there’s no guarantees, I’m just glad to be here one more day.”
Adam Garratt
Columbus Alive

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