CD Review: Thor Platter “Long Road Ahead”

Long Road AheadSinger-songwriter Thor Platter is currently making a name for himself. Having been named to many different lists in various publications in and around the Cleveland area, many people are becoming aware of the Cleveland-based singer-songwriter. But just like singer-songwriter Mike Farley before him who moved to Cleveland from Long Island, Platter didn’t start out as a Clevelander; Platter moved here from Buffalo, New York. Since moving here, Thor Platter began creating music. Aside from making his own music, Platter had also been part of a band called The Whiskey Lock, a Bluegrass/Americana band that also included Josh Haney and Tricia Zook. But since that time, Platter is now more focused on making his own music. Currently, Platter has released one album of music called Looking for Sunshine. Having already released that one album, Thor Platter is about to add to his musical library with a new five-song release called Long Road Ahead.

To bring this new album to life, Platter called upon some of Cleveland’s most talented Country/Folk musicians. The musical line-up for this release consists of: Thor Platter – Acoustic guitar & Vocals; Matt Charboneau – Upright Bass; Tommy Hannum – Dobro on “Ride” & “Long Road Ahead”; Paul Kovac – Banjo, Mandolin on “Long Road Ahead” and Bill Lestock – Mandolin & Fiddle. Together, the players create a very strong musical ensemble that handles the music flawlessly.

Long Road Ahead from Thor Platter is a mixed bag of music as it contains both original tunes and tracks written or co-written by friends of his. The release begins with the track “Lake Erie Shore,” a track penned by Platter’s former Whiskey Lock bandmate Tricia Zook. “Lake Erie Shore” features lyrics written by Zook after she left the Cleveland area for a job that took her to North Carolina. The track features the talents of Platter on guitar and vocals, Matt Charboneau on Upright Bass, Paul Kovac on Banjo and Bill Lestock and mandolin. The heartbreaking lyrics about being away from one’s love feel very appropriate for Bluegrass music and the performance of the song by Thor Platter and the rest of the musicians on the track create one of the best modern Bluegrass tracks.

The new release from Thor Platter continues with the track “Josh’s Manifesto,” a track co-written by Thor Platter and Josh Stevens. Like the first track of “Lake Erie Shore,” “Josh’s Manifesto” features lyrics about love but from the other direction as the singer sings of being free of the spell of his “ex”. The lyrics of the song deal with the touchy subject of separation with as much humor as one can. The track has already become a staple of Thor Platter’s live set.

With the next track of “Ride,” Thor Platter and the rest of the band create possibly the most creative song on the relatively short release. While much of the new release find the musicians creating songs that fit into the Bluegrass genre, “Ride” also includes some musical elements that make the listener classify the song as more like “Americana” than straight Bluegrass. Along with the interesting playing from the band that set the track apart from the rest of the EP, the production value on the track adds a lot of character to the track. The track makes the listener feel as if they are part of some sort of film noir movie set to music. “Ride” ends up taking the music of Platter in a much “darker” (and much more interesting) direction. One of the older songs to be included on the release, “Ride” ends up being one of the strongest moments on the new EP.

After one track that breaks the mold for straight-forward Bluegrass music, Platter and the musicians return to a more straight-forward Bluegrass style. In fact, the resulting track brings a lot of “Old Timey” feel to the music. The banjo, acoustic guitar and fiddle all bring the listener back to the early days of the 20th Century. For those who are fans of Bluegrass music, this is easily the track to hear.

Long Road Ahead from Thor Platter comes to a close with the title track of the release. Like “Ride” before it, “Long Road Ahead” finds the band creating a track that feels very fresh. Along with the omnipresent Bluegrass sound, the track also features a little folk thrown in. The combination in the music works as the song feels as if it could fit onto several different radio formats. While the EP is not very long, Long Road Ahead from Thor Platter is a strong EP. The five tracks included are different enough from one track to the next that the playing time seems too short. For a musician who has previously released only one album, Platter has created a very solid EP in Long Road Ahead.

To hear just a little of Thor Platter’s music, check out the song “Ride” off of the new release of Long Road Ahead.

Thor Platter is about to release his latest release of Long Road Ahead. The release date is Friday, September 11, 2015. The concert will take place inside the Wine Bar at Brother’s Lounge at 8:00 PM. Check the venue’s website for full details.  

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