Gooding | Tiny Heart Attacks (S3)

The mainstream spotlight is something that Gooding’s Wichita, Kan.–based power-trio has avoided so far, which has been due, at least partially, to the band’s admirable DIY work ethic.

 

He has been referred to by music critics as a “prolific composer,” a “production wizard,” and “one of the most remarkable players, anywhere.” His music has been featured on both of the MTV series Road Rules and The Real World, HBO, ESPN, FSN, Discovery Channel, and in The Matrix: Revisited. Given these facts, it’s perplexing, to say the very least, why Gooding (his surname, and the only name by which he identifies himself) isn’t already a household name, ripping up the charts and filling large concert venues. The mainstream spotlight is something that Gooding’s Wichita, Kan.–based power-trio has avoided so far, which has been due, at least partially, to the band’s admirable DIY work ethic. All eight of Gooding’s previous releases (which includes a live disc and a DVD) have been both self-produced and self-released, and their latest CD, Tiny Heart Attacks, is no exception.

Since 1995, Gooding has been writing songs and playing guitar for his band, which includes drummer Jesse Reichenberger, who has played with Gooding since they were both in the seventh grade, and bassist Billy Driver, who came on board during their college years. These band members and longtime friends are true road warriors, performing well over 100 shows each year across the country and constantly expanding their long list of fans by infusing every bit of their collective energy into each and every crowd-pleasing, awe-inspiring show.

However, unlike other bands who perform very well live and release studio material that is less than great, Gooding knows the importance of fine-tuning their recorded music into the highest quality final product possible. That attention to detail shows through on Tiny Heart Attacks, which, like the band’s live shows, weaves its way throughout several genres, never settling into one long enough to create a feeling of stagnation.

The disc’s 11 tracks are examples of Gooding’s many musical influences, which range in diversity from Clapton to Sting to Radiohead, just to name a few. There’s blues-infused rockers like “Junkie Weight,” “Jesus Comin,” and the standout “Cloud Cover,” which should definitely appeal to fans of Jeff Buckley. Gooding’s knack for writing superb down-tempo, pretty ballads is evident in the bittersweet love song “Makes Me Want You More,” “New Clothes,” and the simplistic yet haunting “Roadsong.” “Starting in Again” is another standout song, featuring some stellar guitar playing, and “Gleam” has one of the darker pop melodies found on the disc, featuring a Middle Eastern–styled instrumental ending that fades out a bit before its time. The longest of all the songs, at just over four and a half minutes, “Take It Slow” strongly showcases Gooding’s wide and proficient vocal range.

Tiny Heart Attack’s songs, like most of Gooding’s uniquely crafted material, may be a bit difficult to describe and categorize, but they are very easy to love, which is obvious after playing the disc just a few times. It is one of those CDs that seems to sound better after each listen, and will likely end up being considered a classic and timeless collection of genre-defying music by all who are wise enough to own it.


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