'Positive Numbers' Album By Clay Fulton & The Lost Forty
Many times, when it comes to evaluating music, it’s all in the ingredients. Not always, of course, but in Clay Fulton & The Lost Forty’s instance, all the best sonic elements are in their rightful place. The Minnesota band creates roots rock, with just a touch of alt.country thrown in. Most of these seven songs incorporate good, honest singing, soulful organ and plenty of guitar. It’s possible for a group to have all these good things going for it, yet still mess it up. Fulton and his team don’t blow it, though. Positive Numbers is a bright, enjoyable album.
The album’s title track is also one of its quietest. With its tip-tapping drum pattern, matched to sharp electric guitar fills, Fulton sings about how happy living just seems to add up at times. Fulton
sings, “Haven’t felt this good/Since I was nineteen,” early on in the song. Sadly, when we’re at our very best, which oftentimes is also when we’re still in our teens, we may not fully appreciate such good favor. It’s been said youth is wasted on the young, and that’s all too often true. Nevertheless, Fulton remarks how in later life, he feels really good – just as good as he did when he was young. This one ends with a
spot-on electric guitar outro, and before the song comes to its final conclusion, a faint female vocal can also be heard in the mix.
Speaking of age, the very next song is titled “Time Thief.” This track sounds almost jazzy, especially due to its electric keyboard part. Sonically, this inclusion goes into a more anthemic mode, where acoustic
guitar and organ parts spar with each other. It’s funny how we sometimes think our time’s being stolen. Everybody has the same amount of time each day, twenty-four hours. It’s entirely up to us how we choose to spend these. Sometimes, what’s viewed as stolen time is actually wasted
time. Yet we don’t usually want to admit that.
The album ends with “For The Road,” which is introduced with weird, spacy sounds that then give way to a more traditional, mostly acoustic song. It finds Fulton singing honestly about his past and his place in life. The road is the life of a traveling musician. It can be a grind, just as it can be an adventure. However, it involves some sacrifice. In order to live to road life, musicians sometimes give up many of the more normal activities of living. “I’ve got other hills to climb,” Fulton sings. Yes, he can look back at the past with sadness and some measure of regret, but he can’t keep his eyes off the future. This one also includes a female harmony vocal. It’s a quiet, reflective way to close out the album. The group raises quite a musical ruckus during songs that precede it, but this last song ties things up on a contemplative note.
If you love all the elements that go into creating Clay Fulton & The Lost Forty’s music, you’ll warm up to Positive Numbers. Yes, these musicians cook with the tastiest foods, but the key is in how they put them all together, which is accomplished extremely skillfully throughout.