A trip inside the spinning mind of Funkyhairman
The art of home recording typically conjures up the image of a sensitive songwriter holed up in the bedroom with a thrift store guitar and a 4-track cassette recorder. If that’s the norm, consider Titus Etheridge (aka Funkyhairman) a rebel. While other basement and bedroom troubadours seek solace in simplicity, Funkyhairman opts to unleash sprawling sonic walls and ambient landscapes dressed up in more layers than a nature-lover addicted to performance fleece.
Funkyhairman’s latest release, Tito Sunshine, spills nearly 120 minutes of woozy, guitar-fueled rock across two compact discs. How best to describe the sound? It all begins with a bed of acoustic guitar, accompanied by a full, one-man rhythm section, swirling clouds of electric guitar tone, and occasional flourishes of nimble piano work. There’s also something that resembles a flute somewhere along the way, plus a few appearances by the smoky-voiced Shannon Singleton. At times it is somber, other times abrasive, and when those piano keys hit just the right notes midway through disc 2, it can be beautiful in a way that stirs up mysterious emotions and distant memories from deep within the listener’s fragile psyche.
While the instrumentation is complex and all over the map, Funkyhairman’s expressive vocal stylings harken back to Axl Rose and an era of hard rock once loved by many, now loved primarily by those who don’t turn their back when trends change. In this sense, Funkyhairman should be admired for sticking to his guns, never bending to what the kids might be listening to these days. You’ll find no bleeps or blips here, no hushed vocals or whisper-soft drum beats. Funkyhairman does things his way, and the results are wholly unique. Tito Sunshine may or may not be your cup of tea, but it demands your attention, and the meticulous craftsmanship put into these 22 tracks is most certainly worthy of respect.