The Goodbye Letter had everything to lose when starting a band. First and foremost they were a "Spiritual" band, whereas earlier bands of the namesake have succeeded in only adding cheese to the genre. Add to the fact that melodic, emotional rock wasn't even a thought to anyone other than the indiest of music fans. Don't forget to take into account that they signed to a label, Theory 8 Records of Nashville; that had just recently opened its doors. But they decided to try it out anyway. The band began when two friends, Chad Waldrup (vocals, guitar) and Shawn Skipper (drums) met in college in 1996. Three years later, they decided to form a band. Soon after, to smooth out the edges, they picked up Robin Moore to add a bass line and another layer of vocals as well as Chris Susi as another guitarist. I guess they just didn't have failing in mind.
I'm going to try to put into words this album. I'm amazed by the simplicity of the lyrics that make you feel, the music that makes you bob your head, and the production where you forget you're not dealing with a mega mainstream label. The CD begins with "Rhapsody of the Uneasy Sea." This song is just a great melodic heavy tune, no questions asked. Nice vocals and guitar give you a sense that good things are coming our way. Another highlight is "All These Years" with music that punk and hardcore fans can join hands and rock out to till the sun comes up. "Midnight and Chasing Stars" puts, in a nutshell, what they're all about. "There is nothing I could do or say, to make you understand, How His love abounds. Because you have to see His glory and feel His grace. Rejoice my soul. Jesus. Hallelujah." "Long Harsh Winter" is another highlight for me. It is very catchy and hard to pull that finger off the repeat button. The album was recorded in three days so I was beginning to look for maybe just one song that broke away from the path. My wish was their command with "Rue Anemone." Some acoustic guitar picking with a little orchestral keyboard thrown in for good measure puts a mellow end to this amazing record.
The Goodbye Letter sounds very much like My Hotel Year, or should I say My Hotel Year sounds like GBL. There is a Rival Schools/ Quicksand feel with some Mineral thrown in especially seeing as they list them as influences. Dear Ephesus comes to mind, as well as Jeremiah's Grotto; maybe even some Thursday. But don't get me wrong; GBL has their own amazing thing going for them. There's only one problem; they recently broke up. But please don't let that stop you, run to your local computer and buy this album from their label or look closely in some independent stores. This band had everything to lose but didn't lose a thing in the end.- Review date: 12/23/01, written by Blake Garris
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