Review: Ethan Tucker – Misunderstood

Review: Ethan Tucker – Misunderstood

Ethan Tucker – Misunderstood
LWTrack Listing:
1.) Cool Kids
2.) Crazy Tonight (featuring Michael Franti)
3.) Crazy
4.) High Time
5.) Coming Home
6.) Never Be
7.) Tease Me
8.) All I Need
9.) Misunderstood
10.) This Has All Been a Dream
11.) Little Wing

The Pier Album Rating:

Release Date: May 5th, 2015
Record Label: Stoopid Records
Official Website: Ethan Tucker Website

Artist Background:
Ethan Tucker is a singer songwriter from Olympia, Washington. He is increasingly known for his unique mix of folk, blues, reggae and soul. In 2007, at age 17, Tucker released his first album, Take Me to the Mountains, followed by 2010’s Lost Between. While both of these albums were self-produced and stripped down, Tucker’s most recent release, Misunderstood, stands as his first fully produced record. Tucker collaborated with producer Mario C (Beastie Boys, Slightly Stoopid), mentor Michael Franti and Stoopid Records to bring Misunderstood to life.

Album Review:
Misunderstood is an impressive collection of diverse and accessible songs. Tucker’s mix of folk, blues, reggae, soul and pop sounds, combined with his relatable lyrics and smooth, yet gritty, vocals make Tucker a unique talent with big time breakout potential. You can hear influences of Jack Johnson, Ben Harper, John Mayer, Donavon Frankenreiter, Michael Franti and other notable singer songwriters—but, you never get the sense that Tucker is attempting to be anyone other than himself.

Misunderstood is a showcase of Tucker’s diverse influences and approaches. The album starts strong with the radio friendly tracks “Cool Kids” (not to be confused with Echosmith’s hit song of the same name) and “Crazy Tonight,” featuring Michael Franti. Tucker then moves effortlessly from country sounds on “High Time,” to the Jack Johnson-feeling “Coming Home,” to grind-it-out-Gary Clark Jr-rock on “Never Be,” to smooth grooves on the title track “Misunderstood.”

The album continues onto the beautifully arranged “This Has All Been a Dream.” This is Tucker at his best; a simply approached arrangement that focuses on his vocals and storytelling. This heart-breaker of a tune is lyrically the strongest on the album—and the dynamics created by the piano and cello come together to create a sound that almost mesmerizes the listener. For good measure, Tucker closes out the album with reggae-remix version of Jimi Hendrix’s “Little Wing.”

Misunderstood is an impressive showing for Tucker. The album is diverse, youthful and accessible. If you are looking for overused, warn out and increasingly unconvincing rock-reggae sounds, then this is not your album. Likewise, if you are a listener that needs musical cohesive or an album that “stays true” to a particular sound, then this is not your album. But, if you are listener who appreciates a musician who unapologetically explores their influences and doesn’t shy away from diversity (ala Ben Harper and G-Love), then Misunderstood is your album and Ethan Tucker is your guy.

Written & Reviewed By: Kit Chalberg

[Editors Note: All reviews are reflective of the album in it’s entirety, from start to finish. These reviews are the honest opinion of each writer/reviewer expressing their feedback as a genuine fan of the music. Each star rating reflects their review of the album, NOT the band. Music is subjective. Regardless of the review or star rating, we encourage you to listen to the music yourself & form your own opinion. Spread the awareness of all music in its art & contribution]

Watch: Ethan Tucker – “Crazy Tonight” (ft Michael Franti)