The Bittersweets “The Life You Always Wanted”

Posted: June 8, 2012 in Classic Review
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One again, I am posting an updated review on a release I wrote about a few years ago. This review is on The Life you Always Wanted, an album from The Bittersweets. Back in 2008, the original article I wrote had double purpose: One purpose was to give some exposure to the band’s new release; the other purpose was to give exposure to the band’s then-upcoming performance in the Cleveland area. Today, I have expanded the original review to cover the entire album. Here is the 2012 version of the review on The Bittersweet’s album, The Life You Always Wanted.

ImageSinger/Songwriter Chris Meyers never really liked country music until he discovered a love for it while attending college in rural Ohio. While in college, Chris set up a national tour out of his dorm room.
After college, Chris moved to California and met up with singer-songwriter Hannah Prater, a jazz vocalist who toured Europe. The two hit it off and started performing together in a duo that was a country based duo and soon released a self-released EP in 2005 under the moniker of The Bittersweets. With the release of the EP, they started gaining attention in the Bay Area.
With the new found popularity the band was getting, the time was right to expand from just a duo to a full-fledged band. Along with Chris and Hannah on vocals and guitars, the group soon included bassist Daniel Schacht and multi-instrumentalist Jerry Becker.
With the group getting their name out there in the Bay area, they ended up getting an ex-drummer for a couple well-known bands interested in them. A certain Steve Bowman from Third Eye Blind and Counting Crows became the last piece to the puzzle to fill out the band.
When the band was finally put together, Chris, Hannah and the rest started opening for big name acts like Rosanne Cash and Train even before they had an album out to help promote themselves. Soon afterward, they went about putting together The Life You Always Wanted, their first album that they recorded for Virt Records.

The Life You Always Wanted from The Bittersweets begins with the song “When the World Ends”. The slow, steady beat of Steve Bowman’s drums starts the song off. It is Hannah Prater who handles the vocal for this track and the power in her voice really gives the song a lot of feeling. When the entire band gets together, the resulting folk-rock song that is produced gives only the slight indication of what The Bittersweets are capable of.

On the song “Bag of Bones,” Prater and Chris Meyers create a duet-like vocal to a song that sounds like it would have been produced in Nashville and NOT California. The commercial quality of the song would sound as much at home on country stations as it would on Top 40 stations. Once again, it is Prater’s vocals that help make the song as her beautiful, clear voice brings home the true meaning of the lyrics of the song.

Long Day” is the first song on The Life You Always Wanted that feels like a hit single. The song features a rock vibe but it’s the mandolin from Jerry Becker that really gives the track some depth. And with the melodica that Becker also adds to the song along with the cello from David Henry (the same person who helped mix the album), “Long Day” is the song that seems to stick out on the album because of its beauty.

While Hannah Prater handles most of the lead vocals on the release, there are times when composer Chris Meyers takes a turn on vocals. One particular song that features Meyers is the track “Houston”. The driving beat of the song gives the track a bouncy, happy quality that will put a smile on the face of anyone who listens. “Houston” is another song The Life You Always Wanted that has the most mass appeal and it’s that mass appeal that makes the song feel very much like a single.

“Mostly Happy People” begins with Hannah Prater singing the lyrics over a music bed of organ and drum loops, but the sound slowly fills in when the rest of the band help create a track that has a slow, steady beat. Eventually, Chris Meyers joins Prater and they once again create a duet-like track. While the title of the song seems to suggest a somewhat upbeat take on life, the lyrics to the song tell a different story.

Meyers and Prater once again come together on the track “Shooting out the Sky”. The pop-rock track finds the entire band creating a strong track with everyone in the group creating some passionate music.

The Life You Always Wanted by The Bittersweets not only shows off singer/songwriter Chris Meyers as the talented composer that he is, it also showcases Hannah Prater and everyone else that help make up the band for this release; the resulting tracks that make up the release end up being full-bodied and fun to listen to.

Click HERE to see a live performance of “Long Day” by Hannah Prater and Chris Meyers.

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