Thirty Steps To Forward – Hinterland (2013)

Siblings Seth and Gretchen Powers, who hail from the state of Michigan, are actually the engineers behind Thirty Steps To Forward. A multi-instrumental act, Seth handles vocals, guitar, banjo, ukulele, harmonica and drums, while Gretchen takes on vocals, guitar, banjo, cello and piano.

Here on the duo’s second album, Hinterland, we’re serenaded to a stream of lovely and lilting lullaby-like songs, expressed by Gretchen’s folky vocals which glide and soar in and around waves of hypnotic rhythms and sparse but captivating arrangements. Not ones to follow fads, Thirty Steps To Forward could have existed well over a hundred years ago, in an era before records and phonographs were invented and people relied on their friends and family to entertain them.

Tracks such as “Fool’s Gold,” “The World’s On Fire,” “Columbine Eyes” and “Feathers Of Your Mind” especially tap into Thirty Steps To Forward’s strength at dipping subtle variations into their largely repetitious yet warmly hooky songs. The interplay between the instruments is simply astounding. How easy it is to detect the telepathic relationship the brother and sister possess, as they are constantly attuned to each other’s emotions and movements. Ideas ricochet to and fro, coming together in harmonious unity.

Prompting images of the horse and buggy days, Hinterland is soothing and quaint. Threaded of mellow and meditative musings, the disc serves to be a breath of fresh air amidst our contemporary world of technical complexity. Thirty Steps To Forward may pedal backwards in time as far as their music is concerned, but their hearts and souls are definitely marching forward and in the right direction. Old school sounds never go out of style!

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Beverly Paterson

Beverly Paterson was born the day Ben E. King hit No. 4 on the national charts with "Stand By Me" - which is ironically one of her favorite songs, especially the version by John Lennon. She has also contributed to Lance Monthly and Amplifier, and served as associate editor of Rock Beat International. Paterson's own publications have included Inside Out, and Twist And Shake. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.