Theres something special about anything that’s handmade. While automation and robots and all that jazz are incredibly useful and have helped the modern world, you still can’t beat the loving work of a true craftsman. This is true of physical objects, and it’s true of art. In the case of 21-year-old Middle Tennessee State University student Ethan Fortenberry, his craft is music. Writing and performing under the moniker of ethansroom, Fortenberry writes, plays, and produces every single part of his music himself. That level of dedication and care is immideatly evident on his new 7-song album To, From, and I am absolutely thrilled to share an advance stream of the album ahead of its release date this Friday, May 4.
To, From opens on the cozy track “From New York,” which establishes the guitar-driven, softly song aesthetic that permeates the runtime of the album. Fortenberry has clearly thought about each part of the songs in great detail, as every piece of the puzzle fits exactly where it should. His voice rises in intensity and volume at just the right emotional beats, his guitar envelops the listener in a wonderful warmth and comfort, and the production knows when to push and when to let a particular note or turn of phrase breathe. It’s amazing discovering all of the little thematic elements and musical motifs that run through To, From. “To Nothing” is a highlight, and it’s reprise serves as a lovely companion to “To Nothing” and as a wrap-up of the album as a whole.
Asked about the album and the inspiration behind it, Fortenberry says, “I was really nervous about this record. When I’d written songs in the past, I would just show people some ideas every step of the way until things were finished, but I realized that kind of kept me from doing what I really wanted. So I didn’t show anyone this project. I kept it to myself for the most part and really got to know these tracks at their core. To know every fiber of the things you create is something really, really special. That being said, these songs are about being aware and ok with the tendencies we all have as humans… to be attached, anxious, in love, or angry… all of those things. Too many times have I seen people try to ignore who and why they are, including myself, and I just became done with it. These songs are about taking ownership of who and what you are. The to’s, the from’s, and everything in between.”
You can listen to the advance stream stream of ethansroom’s To, From below. The album is set for release this Friday, May 4. With this level of dedication poured into his music, I have a feeling this will not be the last time you hear from Ethan Fortenberry.