Pete Kartsounes – The Only Way I Know

By Conor Hooley
There’s a lot to like here, whether or not you’re a fan of bluegrass. With The Only Way I Know, Pete Kartsounes has created an endearing, workmanlike album with a tight structure and lots of pleasant instrumentation. Much thought and planning went into this piece, as it really does come off as a well-sequenced, properly arranged album – the structure is great.
Kartsounes’ own performance certainly does his album no harm. The songwriter has an excellent voice that has just enough polish and ruggedness. He sounds equally at home in both the album’s quieter, more introspective moments, as well as the more energetic, up-front jams. His singing on “Sweet Surrender” and “Takin’ Steps” is somewhat reminiscent of Springsteen, in fact.
“Moonlight Romance” is probably the pick of the bunch here: It’s a bare-bones-but-quite-catchy number that sounds like a bluegrass companion to Van Morrison’s similarly-titled “Moondance.” Girls could get away with calling it cute. Guys probably couldn’t.
With all that being written, another thing must be said: This stuff is pretty hokey. Take the chorus of “Takin’ Steps” for example: “Live your life, take your steps, use what you need and give all the rest! Yeah!”
Kartsounes’ lyrics, centered on his extensive travels, his hopeless romanticism and humanist philosophies, endlessly strain for big, transcendent musical moments, but fall well short. Listeners with a relentlessly positive outlook on life will eat this stuff up and wash it down with a glass of sunshine. The rest will probably find it a bit corny.

Support Northern Colorado Journalism

Show your support for North Forty News by helping us produce more content. It's a kind and simple gesture that will help us continue to bring more content to you.

BONUS - Donors get a link in their receipt to sign up for our once-per-week instant text messaging alert. Get your e-copy of North Forty News the moment it is released!

Click to Donate