The Foreword Debuts Their Bold Blend of Folk-Pop On "Coffee Cups and Second Shots"
Fall has begun, and eagerly awaited autumn breezes and cooler temperatures are slowly returning to Georgia. Much like those of us who pull out our hoodies as soon as the thermometer drops beneath 80, I find myself looking for music with mellow melodies that set the tone for the return of the beloved season. With that on my mind, I was thrilled to hear the gorgeous harmonies and accomplished songwriting of The Foreword on their debut EP Coffee Cups and Second Shots.
For those who don’t know, The Foreword is a duo composed of local pop-rocker Maggie Schneider and guitarist/songwriter Alex Crain. Fans of Maggie’s solo act will realize that Schneider and Crain’s collaboration is not new - in fact, the two have been working together on Maggie’s solo material for quite some time. However, the Foreword is an evolution of the collaboration between these skilled musicians - not only a more evenly represented partnership of their talents, but also a foray into more folk-sounding pop territory.
Coffee Cups and Second Shots is a great example of what I find to be beautifully balanced instrumentation. It builds on the more known strengths of these musicians, while also highlighting talents that weren’t as prominent in their previous work together. At the forefront, both Schneider and Crain showcase their tremendous vocal talent. They share the spotlight impeccably, each having the ability to sing leads on their own, or fill out the phrase with rich, precise harmony. Supporting their vocal leads is a blend of organic instruments that come together seamlessly. Schneider’s piano playing is employed much more in this project than in her solo act, and mixes well with Crain’s crisp acoustic guitar work. No one instrument demands too much attention; they all support the vocals and the general feeling of the songs.
True to form with folk-inspired music, you can tell this duo puts a great deal of effort into their songwriting. Every phrase seems carefully considered, which provides a noticeable sense of craftsmanship to the lyrics. Paired with the music, one of the best aspects about the songs on this EP comes to light: the ability to convey emotion. The liquid optimism of “Made Up Misery” softens the heart of even a cynical punk like me, and you can taste the regret in the more somber track “Roses”. Making music with feeling is a mark of a truly talented artist, and The Foreword have undeniably achieved that with this EP.