REVIEW BY FRANK GUTCH JR.
Meet Sid Hagan
You would think he was the second coming of Lost Leaders. When he tracked me down, it was at the suggestion of Keith Morris of The Crooked Numbers fame. Paul Curreri co-produced and played on his new album, SERE, and Devon Sproule sang on it. I evidently am the only one not from Charlottesville in this story. But, in a way, I am not. Years ago I discovered Charlottesville and its vibrant and important music scene and have followed it closely since. It brought me to Hagan, just as it should have. This is my kind of music from my kind of place.
The connection to Lost Leaders should be an automatic for my friends. Byron Isaacs and Peter Cole have picked up on a lot of the values that made early seventies rock so good, though most are just finding that out now, and have produced an album (Lost Leaders) and an EP (Heavy Lifting) that takes me back to the days of Dave Mason‘s Alone Together and Steely Dan‘s Can’t Buy a Thrill and a large number of lesser known albums of the day which waylaid me on my journey to the rest of my life. The seventies were incredible. The seventies were magic. The seventies were, for me, the best rock music period I had ever experienced. Actually, I say that about most periods, but I mean it this time.
Lost Leaders know it. Sid Hagan should too. I can tell. They have the feel and the sound and the emotion I heard over and over again back then. The same sense of creativity and purpose.
As we passed messages back and forth he slowly loosened up and revealed himself. There is a lot to know about Sid. This is his first solo project, though he has played on a lot of projects. He began his music journey back in the days of which I speak, running into walls on a fairly constant basis. He has struggled with the music and gotten lost in it. Things could have been better at times though he doesn’t really complain, only makes the statement. He credits Devon Sproule for being instrumental in getting him back to writing, Paul Curreri for his work, especially in the studio. He credits the musicians, some of whom laid down the tracks years ago. He is humble and says he didn’t put this album together for accolades or fortune. He says he just wanted it out there and I have a feeling he is not lying, but I have yet to meet a musician who doesn’t care what people think of his or her music.
I have listened to Sere numerous times over the past just-less-than-a-week. It is beautifully recorded and a treat for the ears. It strikes notes I had thought might not be struck again. It struck hard on the last track, just as it should have. You never want to put your strongest track first, an engineer once told me. It is better left for the last unless it finds its own place. I don’t know. Maybe Sere is not the strongest track. Maybe the rest of the album makes me think it is. Maybe I needed to hear the rest before I was ready.
I will be reviewing the album soon. It is not an easy task, reviewing albums like this. There is always so much to explain or maybe nothing at all. I never know. If I know anything at all, I know how very important these songs are to Sid Hagan. I can tell by the obvious care put into the songs and the recordings. I can tell by the way Curreri handled it and by the superb vocals Sproule added.
Albums like this makes me wish I could be the Maxell Man, ensconced in that overstuffed armchair, the sound from the speakers blowing my hair back. I don’t have long hair anymore (though I do have hair, thank the gods) but I would grow it for that experience and this album.
*FRANK PASSED AWAY 3 WEEKS AFTER WRITING THIS INTRODUCTION TO MY ALBUM. IN THE FIRST MESSAGES HE SENT TO ME HE CALLED SERE "AN UNDERGROUND CLASSIC". FRANK'S REVIEWS WERE REGULARLY FEATURED IN NO DEPRESSION. HE TOTALLY GOT WHAT I WAS DOING AND TOUCHED MY HEART WITH HIS KINDNESS AND SUPPORT.
HUNDREDS OF MUSICIANS POSTED ON HIS FACEBOOK PAGE AFTER HIS PASSING EXPRESSING LOVE AND GRIEF THAT HE WAS GONE.
RIP FRANK AND BIG LOVE FOREVER....
HE'S a singer/songwriter, producer, and recording engineer, haVING over 50 years in the music business.
HIS performances have been described as "lyrical" and filled with stories..
HE'S shared the stage with many artists including David Crosby, Doc Watson, Bill Staines, R.L. Burnside, Indigenous, The Radiators, Kelly Joe Phelps, Dave Zollo, Jimmy Thackery.....