12 Songs, 44 Minutes

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Ratings and Reviews

Roots Music Report reviews R.X. Bertoldi

Rootsmusicreport

R.X. Bertoldi has just released 11 original songs he wrote that are a winning blend of folk, pop, with a smidge of roots rock thrown in. A true roots album that features splendid songwriting and unblemished vocal performances by R.X.; the kind of music that makes one want to play it over and over.
The disc also includes one cover song, Bertoldi's tasteful rendition of the Faces' classic "Ooh La La", which blends just right with his originals. The mix is superb, and yes this album “Step Up To The Present” has that unique realness that is sought by so many other artists over the years but only the most talented seem to achieve. “Step Up To The Present” is on the rise and soon will have music fans globally singing along with the lyrics.
A Triumphant project from Mr. R.X. Bertoldi.

R.X. steps it up with new album!

keasbey

Hailing from Everett, Washington, veteran singer-songwriter R.X. Bertoldi
just self-released his long-awaited sophomore studio album, Step Up To The
Present on November 25. His rootsy style of country and folk inspired
Americana is influenced by the off-kilter folk narratives of Tom Waits and
Bob Dylan along with original blues legends such as Robert Johnson and
Lightnin’ Hopkins. Where his debut album, Stronger Not Bitter – released
in 2005 – was a purely solo effort recorded on a four-track recorder,
Bertoldi steps it up on this new album with the aid of a full studio
production and a host of expert Seattle-area studio musicians that helped
to shape his musical vision.

“Miracle To Me” opens the album with a sweet and touching love song that
references Jesus’s miracles and is set to swells of church-worthy organ
and a laid back acoustic guitar-driven groove to start the album off on a
high note. That love doesn’t seem to last though as, Bertoldi asks to get
off of the “Broke Down Carousel” on the next song, which follows with
cascading acoustic guitars, close-knit vocal harmonies and a harmonica
solo. Bertoldi’s introspective and honest lyrics about love and life are
universally relatable and the memorable melodies he ties them to will
stick in your head well after you have finished listening. Switching it
up a bit, “Step Out Of The Way” is a rollicking and fun blues rock tune
that comes complete with a melodic guitar solo. “My Closest Friend”
stands out with some classic country & western ornamentation like a
shuffling drum beat and aching pedal steel melodies that set the scene as
Bertoldi’s smooth vocals are matched up with a female vocalist whose
honeyed voice complements his quite well.

Also included on the album is a pretty faithful cover of the Faces’ easy
going classic rock song, “Ooh La La”, though to make it his own, Bertoldi
replaces the original’s honky tonk piano riff and rousing beat for
harmonica and a gentler, loping beat to great effect. The
nostalgia-inducing “Feeling So Fine” is an upbeat yet bittersweet tribute
to a long lost loved one that pulls on the heartstrings alongside
accordion and flickering mandolin figures for another standout moment.
Once again Bertoldi breaks out his old school country croon on “Dark
Shadow (On The Cold Hard Ground)” which is a saloon-worthy Hank
Williams-like, “tear-in-my-beer” sing-along that could be a radio hit
anytime in the last forty or fifty years.

Another standout track, “Heaven Bound” is propelled by a driving acoustic
guitar rhythm with a confident blues rock swagger. Next, R.X. Bertoldi
best showcases his lyrical prowess with the stories of faith he weaves on
the uplifting “Till The Morning Light” with such poignant and
thought-provoking lines like, “Don’t ya think you put too much distance
between Heaven and earth”. “Playing Games” features cyclical acoustic
guitars that mingle with swampy slide guitar melodies and harmonica as he
cleverly calls out someone who is unaware of their deceptive ways. As the
epitome of “roots rock”, “Repaired And Found” finds Bertoldi tracing back
his ancestral roots with a thankful heart set to a soundtrack of old world
style instrumentation and the catchy, repeated refrain of “I can feel the
traces…”. The twelve-song album closes out with “Bridge To Everything
Good” and its feel good message and foot-tapping rhythm that will leave
the listener wanting more.

The professional recording and full band treatment that R.X. Bertoldi gave
to his new album, Step Up To The Present brought out the best in his
songwriting for his strongest and most cohesive album yet.

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