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The Gracious Few

The Gracious Few

Review by Mark Johnson

This was one of the most anticipated albums of the year for me. I heard about this collaboration between some of the members of Live and Candlebox shortly after Live broke up last year. I watched their progress in the studio on Facebook and patiently waited for this album to make it to the record stores. I really wish the disc would have made it to the stores this summer. This is a warm weather album that should be played loud at summertime parties, but it will still go well with fall’s events. Besides, summer will come again.

This is a great band introduction and it is full of songs which will resonate well with many fans of both Live and Candlebox. It takes the best of both bands and combines their power. At its high points, (“Appetite,” “Honest Man” and “Tredecim”) it supplies a whole new arsenal of power songs, living up to the best of both bands. However, in between it does sound like many of these songs were bound for the new Candlebox album which was supposed to come out this year. You can’t go wrong with the talent that fills this album. Be gracious and join with the many that will enjoy listening to this disc now and throughout the year.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2010  Volume 5 at

Track by Track Review

A very cool guitar riff slowly, but calmly opens this one before the action begins. After nearly a year of waiting for this album it’s here and I’m ready to let it rip. The wait is over. The percussion sounds softly surround the tentative opening right before the lid is ripped off and the sound explodes. Power leads and slamming drums prepare for Kevin Martin’s first vocal delivery. He hasn’t lost a bit of that spiteful scream. This has all the power and majesty I had hoped for and is one of the best songs on the album. The album has opened large and introduced the band as a firestorm of rock that is launching full force into ears. Welcome to the world, Gracious Few. This is the birth of a new band.

Honest Man

The first single off the album, this is one that will stick with you for a long time. It features a grinding guitar riff and bass rhythm along with cadenced drums just setting a perfect tempo to fit the economic slowdown that has been upon us for the last year. It’s the perfect song to scream and let out that frustration for all of the time lost during this economic crisis. Martin’s vocals bring out that pain and frustration most of us have been feeling. Let it all out with Chad Taylor and Sean Hennesy’s ripping guitar solos. This one breaks all barriers and fills the room with electricity.

Guilty Fever

This one will bring back memories of Led Zeppelin in their heyday. I remember reading some of the posts Chad Taylor made during the recording process of this album, and I think he was talking about this song when he compared some of the vocals coming from Martin and matching them with Robert Plant. This is one of those cool raunchy rock songs like “The Lemon Song” or “Whole Lotta Love,” but much faster and up to date with 90s enthusiasm. Mix Pearl Jam/Candlebox with Led Zeppelin and it might sound something like this.

The Few
The band’s anthem eh? Every band should have one, right? There’s cool bluesy bass before that ripping lead electric slips through the soundscape, quickly followed by the entire drum kit with power. The lead and bass guitars buzz with electricity. Martin’s back in full glory, like his Candlebox heyday, “I want blood and I want it now, yes.” It might be a response to the Live band breakup but I’m not even going to get into the middle of that discussion. This is just great rock. This will be a very cool song to hear live. Martin really reaches for the stars on some of these high notes and screams. “We gonna raise it”…and yes they do.
The Rest of You

Drums and softer guitar open this ballad/love song. It has some of the power of “Breathe Me In” from Candlebox’ last one without the cool guitar intro, but you can’t go back. This one stands on its own. There’s a nice slow down after the tornado pace that the first four tracks had produced.

Crying Time

We get cool percussion sound effects and trickling guitar notes as Martin sets up the storyline. “How could you let this life get the best of you?” It’s the reflection of the void left after the end of something big. Maybe love, maybe a famous band. The dual meaning allows the listener to make the choice…and the also make song his or her own. The guitar solos are excellent.

Silly Thing

We are treated to a launching guitar and blasting drums as the tempo and pace speed up again. Then it slows down and we get a very Candlebox sounding song. This is a good solid rock song.


Another of the best songs on the album, this opens with cool guitars and Martin almost whispering like he has done on some of Candlebox’ albums. This is very much like Pearl Jam, Candlebox or Live in their fiery heyday. It’s all guns roaring with power, “unbridled and restless…reminded,” yes that’s it. Martin’s screams bring back the power of the 90s Seattle.

What’s Wrong

A slow bass and wavering guitar launch this with soft drums. This song again sounds like some of Candlebox’ slow ballads and love songs, like “Lover Come Back to Me.” This is he best of the slow songs off this album.


The first song I heard, this was available months before the release as a free download. It is still probably my favorite with “Appetite” and “Honest Man” a close tie for second and third. There is power in every note. The power chords and drums on this one brought me along for the ride. It is one of those signature songs every band would like to call their own. Martin describes powerful fall imagery with his vocals and the lyrics that open the song. The crashing guitars and drums are dark and looming just perfect for the season.

Nothing But Love

 Cool bass and lead electric chords are combined with that building power of drums as Martin sings, “listen to your pulse racing baby.” Then he unleashes another of those screams, “you’ve got nothin’ but love!” This is another good rock song. It includes the rapping kind of lyrics and vocal he has made popular throughout his days with Candlebox. The lead electric solos are fine and full of new signatures. The clapping adds to the flavor of the song.


This is the longest song on the album, by ten seconds. It features a cool 50s kind of sliding back slow guitar with Martin running down his travel destinations of the past. “I wanna sing my song / Waited so long.” Yes, this a great song filled with lyrics and vocals supported so well with bass, lead and drums setting a good cadence.

All I Hear

The closer, it has power drums and chords before a reggae/ska–like beat takes over. Then the pace quickens for the refrain. This is a fun song to end the album and maybe show us the direction of the future. “A coup de tat by the few / Yes the gracious / The gracious the bold.” It’s a nice twist on the band name. This is a great closer leaving us longing for the follow up. “I don’t wanna change for the sake of change / I don’t wanna bring back yesterdays.” And so it goes…

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