JOHN FARNHAM – The Acoustic Chapel Sessions

JOHN FARNHAM - The Acoustic Chapel Sessions full

Featured here on the blog when released some years ago, it was requested again several times and worth a refresh: “The Acoustic Chapel Sessions” by Australian AOR legend JOHN FARNHAM. Recorded in Melbourne at Chapel Off Chapel, the CD consists of 11 Farnham’s classic songs from 1984 to 1996, redone in acoustic mode but with some little electrics as well.

At 60+ year old, most musical careers don’t blossom, they fade. Not Farnham’s voice though. This man could out-sing any 20 year old you put in front of him. His power still is just phenomenal.
This acoustic album sees John retread 11 classic hits, so at least the song quality missing over his last few albums is guaranteed.
The first highlight off the CD for me is opener “Pressure Down”, in a version even better (or at least equal in quality) than the original version. Then “Chain Reaction” kicks the album into high gear, followed by killer takes of “That’s Freedom” and “Talk Of The Town” sparkled with energy and refreshed enthusiasm.

JOHN FARNHAM - The Acoustic Chapel Sessions cd photo

Of course the stainless classic “You’re The Voice” is featured here, performed with class and elegance.
I also love “Two Strong Hearts”, where the backing vocals go so well with John’s voice. The acoustic version of “A Simple Life” also sounds terrific, whilst “Hearts On Fire” has a charming new approach.
Throw in a couple of sultry tunes like the timeless brilliance of “Age Of Reason” and the soulful “Simple Life” and the balance between acoustic ambiance and electricity was reached.

All versions are truly great, but the real surprise for me, and definitively one of the most fantastic tracks here is the acoustic version of “Playing To Win”. This classic keyboard-driven AOR tune originally recorded with Little River Band in 1984 sounds marvelous without its synth and electric guitars, very well arranged for this stripped version.
A great song is always a great song…

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On “The Acoustic Chapel Sessions”, John Farnham sounds amazing.
The simple, stripped back format allows his voice to shine and blaze through these great, terrific classic songs. Amazing voice still to this day. Farnham is helped by a bunch of talented musicians, including terrific guitar player Brett Garsed (Nelson, John Farnham ’80s albums, etc.).
This is more than a worthy addition to any John Farnham fans’ collections, and for those that enjoy high quality music. Newbies might even be impressed enough to delve back into Farnham’s career for some classy AOR gems.
Highly Recommended.

01 – Pressure Down
02 – Reasons
03 – Chain Reaction
04 – Playing to Win
05 – You’re the Voice
06 – That’s Freedom
07 – Two Strong Hearts
08 – Age of Reason
09 – Talk of the Town
10 – A Simple Life
11 – Hearts on Fire

Vocals – John Farnham
Acoustic Guitar – Brett Garsed, Stuart Fraser
Acoustic Bass – Craig Newman
Piano – Chong Lim
Drums – Angus Burchall
Electric Bass – Craig Newman
Electric Piano – Chong Lim
Backing Vocals – Lindsay Field, Lisa Edwards, Rod Davies, Susie Ahern


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