By Bruce Greenberg
The Promise Live
Walt Cronin & Martin Beal - Gone So Long
In an era where besting your earlier releases is rare, Walt Cronin just keeps getting better and better. He still has that plain voice that reminds you of a smoother Kris Kristofferson, but his songwriting continues to improve. Joined by Martin Beal on this album, the production is solid, the melodies are wonderful and the the lyrics ring true. This is the best Walt Cronin CD yet and highly recommended if you love Americana/Folk. You can find him on Facebook.
By Jerry Farrell, St. Paul, MN
"Your music and song writing is fantastic. I really enjoy listening to it. You have a rich voice and wonderful lyrics that tease the imagination. The visuals created by your music & lyrics remind me of all the things we love and the obstacles we struggle to overcome on our life's journey. Singing of family and of friendships that we developed so long ago make us rich and strong. It is refreshing and most of all comforting to hear you sing about them. Five months before my brother Kevin died we stood together in an Illinois cornfield. The memories of that day are special to me..and now so is your song: Gone So Long." --Jerry Farrell St. Paul, MN
A few years back, I wrote a review for Indie-Music.com of an album called The Gousters by folk/Americana artist Walt Cronin. I appreciated his genuine approach to songwriting and have enjoyed hearing updates on his new projects since then. Earlier this year, Walt released a collaborative album with friend Martin Beal titled Gone So Long. I was pleased to receive a copy in the mail and was eager to hear what he’s been up to.
This album is a fun slice of Americana country, with a touch of inspiration from classic blues and rock. As the title suggests, the album muses on experiences lived and times past. Cuts like the title track, “Gone So Long” and “Hear That Train” are a folksy, nostalgic ode to small town country life – “Train” even has a bit of a CCR vibe to it – while “Younger In Your Mind” eloquently expresses the feeling of how quickly time passes. The feeling of this album is a little bittersweet, but optimistic – I think it really captures the feeling that we all have about the passage of years, whether you’re a college student feeling homesick, a mother watching her baby grow or a person celebrating their 80th birthday. Walt has a knack for relatable and touching songwriting, so if you’re in the mood for some classic country roots rock, check out this album.
Past Reviews On All Three CDs---------------------------------------
Review By: Bruce Greenberg
The Promise Live
Walt Cronin – California I Gotta Run © 2010
On his third release Walt continues his folk/Americana singing /songwriting. A storyteller like Kris Kristoffersen, this is an album about being on the road and pursuing dreams. Nice job.
On his own this time (as far as songwriting goes), Walt generates another strong piece of Americana/folk for us to listen to. His deep plain voice doesn't grab you right away, but as the CD goes on you find yourself enjoying it a lot. There are several really nice songs here.
By Beeb Ashcroft
"Tender and introspective songs with the kind of realness and authenticity that is becoming quite rare."
Walt Cronin – The Gousters © 2008
An engaging collection of folk rock tunes, Walt Cronin's The Gousters is a homespun and charming effort. Warm, earthy sounds envelope the listener as Cronin delivers work that is solidly written with a compelling sincerity. Many of these songs are about war, often sounding like the contemporary answer to the folk protest songs of 1960s artists like Pete Seeger.
Penned by Vietnam veteran Cronin in relation to his personal experiences, the themes of his music still resonate in today's world. "Flowers In Her Hand" is the story of a young war widow, while "The Rift" narrates Cronin's own inner struggles dealing with his experiences as a Navy Corpsman. Regardless of the listener's personal views, we all acknowledge the human sacrifice that war entails. While there are obviously political themes on here, for the most part these are intimate, personal recollections based on his own life.
The sweet, almost naive sensibilities of the music is juxtaposed to the stories Cronin tells about the aftermath of war; this sad contrast evokes a feeling of innocence lost. But Cronin's underlying optimism and hope is a thread throughout the album – and this is ultimately a story of healing, and of love prevailing. And love does prevail: "You Are The Light" is a gentle, romantic ballad that ends the album on an uplifting note.
These are tender and introspective songs with the kind of realness and authenticity that is becoming quite rare. Cronin shows his craftsmanship for twangy, down-home rock on cuts such as "Like A Day Like Today" and "The Rift," my two favorite cuts from this record. Cronin has a lot of stories to tell, and I will look forward to hearing more of them in the future.
Sharon Lunsford, Editor,
The Back Porch News
Walt Cronin – The Gousters © 2008
When you listen to Walt Cronin, don't expect fancy language or complicated musical structure. Listen to the words, though, because simple words can carry a great impact. On his recent solo release, Walt Cronin~The Gousters, Walt sings of love, war and everyday things, and brings you into the experience. These are songs from the heart----the essence of true folk music. Of a war widow. "It's the hurt that's in us all as we watch those young men fall...." (Flowers In Her Hand). Of a veteran's life." I was a soldier, led to the places that left me bereaved...."Came home a stranger...." (The Rift) Of a homeless girl: " How can this be, in the land of the free...no one is listening...." (She's On Her Own). The Gousters derives it's name from a term Walt and his former co-musician Zander Schloss used to describe themselves, based on urban Chicago street slang. The CD is similar in style to one issued by Walt and Zander in 2005, but the two are not to be confused. As far as musical style the instrumental accompaniment reminds me of a time when folk, rock and country were more closely related and were played interchangeably on pop radio. A little reminiscent of The Outlaws. There is even a touch of Celtic sound in " Ageless Dreams. " The album finishes up with a with a very sweet tribute to a loved one ( You Are The Light). You can listen to clips from the new CD on Folk Alley, MySpace or CDBaby. Spend a little time with Walt Cronin and his music. It will be time well spent.
By Bill McDonald
President of the MWSA
The Gousters © 2005
Vietnam - PTSD - Hillbilly - Folk - Grunge Rock at its BEST!
There is no way to place or fit this musical CD into some neat fitting musical genre box—so I have described it as Vietnam-PTSD-Hillbilly-Folk-Grunge Rock! It will knock you in butt with its themed songs that related to Walt Cronin’s life as a Vietnam veteran. We are now playing it on our web radio station: K-Dade Radio to great reviews from listeners who can identify with this creative voice from a fellow veteran.
Hearing is the only way one can share what this experience is like. It is edgy poetry with shades of emotional trauma and memories of things past.
This touchstone of emotions is from the creative partnership of Walt Cronin (who is a former Navy Corpsman with a Marine platoon in Vietnam in 1970) and his friend Zander Schloss. There are many others who contributed time and creative juices to this CD; however, this still remains an undiscovered gem of musical enlightenment. WARNING: Their music will hook you and entrance you—so caution must be voiced if you listen to this CD.
Hillbilly, mystical, grunge rhythms mixed with spiritual folk lyrics—what more can I say. I LOVE IT! Go out and buy it and listen to it. Your life will be touched and changed. A FIVE STAR REVIEW!!
Roots Music Report Review: 5 Stars
By Brenda Barbee
RMR Staff Reviewer
Link To Review On Roots Music Report
The Gousters © 2005
While you would probably describe The Gousters CD as alt-country/Folk, these guys actually run the gamut of alternative variety and do it all extremely well. They play their own unique and distinctive brand of music ranging from hillbilly to folk to grunge rock and you are bound to enjoy it all.
Walt Cronin’s & Zander Schloss’ strong vocals and excellent harmony make the music very entertaining and easy to listen to. But there is a great deal more to their music than just great sound. Listen closely to the lyrics, for they reveal extraordinary songwriting talent. Within those lyrics is a rich experiential content that could only be produced by one who has strong emotional ties to the theme. Those lyrics coupled with this talented duo’s delivery will leave you wanting more.
What Is Roots Music Report?
Roots Music Report is the number one independent music chart ezine in the world. They compile radio airplay data reported online from radio station DJ's around the globe that play all forms of roots music, so that each week you can see which independent artists are being played the most, by what stations and where the artists call home. www.rootsmusicreport.com
By Jerry Jodice
Great American Music
Customer Review on ITunes.
I do a weekly independent music podcast called Great American Music Hour (available on ITunes) and have recently discovered to my delight, the music of The Gousters. These guys do a great brand of Americana music that has to be heard to be appreciated. From instrumentation and production to the performance and lyrics, these songs are Great American Music personified. Check it out; you won't be disappointed. http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/the-gousters/id165101462
By Dave Terpeny
Walt Cronin, half of the duo named The Gousters and the principle lyricist, displays an infectious enthusiasm about his music. Scattered across the web are numerous postings, blogs, notes and comments from him that celebrate, in a surpised kind of joy, the independent success of his self-released album. He seems thrilled that anyone even noticed The Gousters. But then again, how could you not notice them?
The energy of Walt, the perfectly loose composition of the songs, the stark poeticism of the lyrics and the fact that the other half of the duo is Zander Schloss, made famous by his founding of the seminal punk band The Circle Jerks and less famous by his role in the cult film Repo Man, would seem to make this point moot. And, in the interest of coming full circle, their rapid climbing of the music charts without a label, promoter, publicist or manager seems to prove the point.
As for the music itself, Walt loosely defines it as alt-country, with the caveat that the term has become a catch-all description, like jam or indie rock. Listening to it at a distance, it reminds me of the gritty folk of Neil Young (“Trickle Past”), the deadpan somberness of Leonard Cohen (“Only Eighteen”) and the tumbling melodies of the classic 60’s folk groups (“If It All Goes Well”).
Listening to it up close and personal still reminds me of those artists but also helps give a sense of, mainly, who Walt Cronin is. His experience as a combat medic in Vietnam, love, lost friends and the realities of living a rough life permeate the songs that are strummed on an acoustic guitar, frantically picked on a mandolin and tapped out on a small basement drum kit.
From the beautifully rough and tumble rockabilly-tinged “Make Me A Kinder Man” with it’s straightforward tribute to a loved one, the down home picking of “Bottlenecked Confusion” and its yearning for a simpler life to the melodic folk of “Showered in Blue” with it’s CSNY-esque vocal harmonies and the Civil War tale built into the rollicking country rock of “Wheatfield” Walt and Zander create music that sounds like wood, dead leaves, oil, dirt, tears and a just a bit punk.
It is an album that deserves the notice it is receiving and worthy of many more accolades. So let’s all keep surprising Walt Cronin and spread the word about The Gousters around the scene.
By Gary Whitehouse
The Gousters music is rough-hewn, and much of it resembles early 1970s country-rock made by groups like the New Riders and Pure Prairie League, crossed with Zuma-era Neil Young... The centerpiece is the emotionally charged "Only Eighteen," which sounds like an autobiiographical tale of a young man given the choice of jail or Vietnam. "I've nurtured an illness / as deep as the stillness / that lives in my dreams...the loss and the horror / of what I have seen." he drawls as a blues-harp wails in the distance....it's honest and heart-felt, and it has moments when it soars.
After serving in the CAP unit in Viet Nam, Walt Cronin moved from Chicago to Los Angeles and met Zander Schloss during the filming of "Repo Man". Eventually Zander moved into the apartment over Walt's garage and the two began recording hours and hours of music.
The singing duo, "The Gousters" was formed. Their musical style is best described as “alt-country” which means they perform music by their rules, not Nashville's. Their music is unfettered by the constraints of adapting to the razzle-dazzle used by many of today's music "stars".
Preying Lizard Music
The Gousters music is original, creative, and in my opinion a must hear for anyone who loves Wilco, Golden Smog, Jayhawks, Son Volt and other American Roots Rock.
Robert J. Callahan
School of Media and Public Affairs
"Walt: I got the CD yesterday and have listened to it twice. Stunning, really extraordinary. It has hints of everything -- bluegrass and country, blues and folk, music and lyrics that could have come from Neil Young, CSN, and the Byrds. The rhyme and cadence and massaging of the words, the pauses and emphases, are pitch perfect. I also want to make special mention of the song, "Only Eighteen." It was beautiful and should become the anthem of all of you who served in Vietnam and the horrors that the experience still visits upon you.
God bless you, buddy."