REVIEWS FOR BUILDING A ROAD

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Paste Magazine, Jason Killingsworth
“Touched with a sort of holy fire...filled with drunk-on-the spirit horn solos, pew-rattling guitar sound, and heaven- ward-climbing background vocals!”

CMJ MAgazine, Glen Sarvady
“From the title track’s Muscle Shoals R&B to the mariachi flavorings of Youngest Child...Building A Road weaves a narrative of sybaritic living, a botched relationship and ultimately redemption, with Spottiswoode imparting his tales of hedonism and spirituality in a conversational baritone that recalls Leonard Cohen. Spottiswoode can be hilarious in the role of cad. His backhanded mea culpa in I Didn’t Hurt You Intentionally offers ‘She’s not your equal I’ve heard it said/ But at least she forgives me when I mess with her head,’ and the slinky come-on Play Me In Your Bedroom asks that final favor of his estranged lover if she won’t take him back. Spottiswoode’s call-and-response with a smoldering gospel choir is among the disc’s greatest charms. More focused than his self-titled debut, Building A Road finds Spottiswoode still aiming for the grand gesture and increasingly hitting his mark.”

All Music Guide, Hal Horowitz
4 STARS! “Spottiswoode establishes himself as a creative, mature, unique, and challenging artist. Each track is a mi- ni-movie, splashed with oblique wit, offbeat wordplay, and an artistic integrity that never panders to commercial consid- erations...A refreshingly unpredictable winding road.”

Baltimore Sun, Rashod D. Ollison
“The group takes disparate styles - gospel, country, blues, mariachi, David Bowie-inspired rock, Burt Bacharach-like pop - and throws them altogether, sometimes in one song. But because the musicianship is so tight, the performances so inspired, the vibrant mash-up never feels disorienting or pretentious. It’s mostly strange, good-time music that goes down easy.”

Big Takeover Magazine, Jack Rabid
“Captures the seemingly effortless genius and emotional outpouring of Spottiswoode, who holds his own on the shelf between Waits, Cave and the half empty, green tinted bottles”

Chicago Sun Times, Mary Houlihan
“A captivating jumble of atmospheric tunes laced with hipster swing, fiery rock and velvety R&B.”

Minneapolis Star Tribune, Jon Bream
“Delightful.”

Honest Tune Magazine
“Every now and then a recoding comes along that leaves one speechless. Figure the new Spottiswoode and His Enemies release, Building a Road, into that category.”

Askew Reviews, Brian Mosher
“One of the best cds I have heard in a long time, of any genre..”

 Photos by Samantha Moranville

Photos by Samantha Moranville

Daily Hampshire Gazette, Johnny Memphis
“TOP TWELVE ALBUM OF 2005”
“Style, vision and wit to burn...one terrific song follows another...I can’t seem to keep it off my CD player.”

Athens Flagpole
PICK
“The epic sermons on this year’s Building a Road are simultaneously some of the most uplifting and moody messages delivered from a songwriter’s pulpit in recent memory...The bizarre mix of pompous presumptuousness (“Play Me In Your Bedroom”), spaghetti Western (“No One Has A Clue”) and evangelical bravado (“You Will Rise Again”) make for an interesting listen, especially considering that Spottiswoode’s homilies are augmented by lush musical arrangements featuring accordion, violin, lap steel and an angelic choir.” 

Austin Chronicle, Raoul Hernandez_
“SLEEPER PICK” for 2005 SXSW Festival
“Has Tom Petty gone cabaret? According to Englishman-cum-New Yorker Jonathan Spottiswoode and the rockin’ soul of his heady Building A Road, you can guess the answer.”

Nashville Scene, Jack Silverman 
CRITIC’S PICK
“Though histrionics and self-obsession are usually liabilities, they work for Spottiswoode, due largely to his breathy baritone and mannish charisma, not to mention his accomplished Enemies, who sound alternately like an Ennio Mor- ricone soundtrack or the Velvet Underground after a year at Juilliard..”

Berkshire Eagle, Dave Madeloni
“Vibrant, unpredictable...can make a listener laugh and cry, sometimes in the course of one line .”

Birmingham Weekly, Glenny Brock
“An easy album to sink into...almost orchestral in its complexity, but also a rough-and-tumble rock quality...with fe- male backing vocals and piano and organ accompaniment straight out of a Sunday morning service. “

Time Out NYC
“We’re impressed... Throws odd bits of gospel and Dixieland into Spottiswoode’s cool pop.”

Washington Post, Mark Jenkins
"A master of the late night vibe.”

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AdultPop.Com, Larry White
“Let’s be unequivocal here. We love this album. Once again Spottiswoode and His Enemies have created a work of breadth, originality and distinction. Spottiswoode does not shrink from excess, he embraces it...he gives such free reign to these marvelous musicians, their exuberance sometimes boils over into sheer, ecstatic cacophony. There are 17 tracks, nearly 70 minutes of music. These are songs of big ideas and little moments, of keen wit, of philosophy, psychology, human relationships, and religion - in fact, there is a joyful gospel feel to the cd. Shaped like a great rock concert, the album builds momentum from the opening track, peaks (on tracks #10 and #11), pauses, then returns with a tasty 6 track encore which reaches its own crescendo... Simply some of the most imaginative and invigorating music we have heard in a long time”

Ohio Tribune Chronicle, Andy Gray
“The CD kicked around my car for a couple weeks unplayed, but when I finally put it in I was entranced. His music seems to exist in a time and place all its own.”

Niagara Tribune, Joshua Maloni
“A mutli-faceted musical masterpiece.”

Centre Daily Times, Dennis Fallon
“One of the most original and interesting albums of the year.”

Daily Freeman, Peter Aaron
“One of the most refreshing records we’ve heard this year, an alchemical melange of Van Morrison, Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, gospel blues, The Pogues, Eastern European folk, punk rock and the music hall obsessions of The Kinks. But somehow, when filtered through it’s leaders distinctly cracked bohemian muse, the results are uniquely and definitely Spottiswoode - and shoulders above what other artists who share his influences and poetic gypsy aestheitc might be up to.”

KUT Radio, Austin TX
“Sparkles with Tom Waits-like originality. “

KMTT Seattle The Mountain, Drew Dundon
“Several years ago I found a copy of Building a Road in a used cd store and thought it might be a good gamble to pick it up based on nothing more than curiosity. I was hooked on the first listen and I’ll be a fan for as long as you plan on working.”

NPR’s World Cafe, David Dye
“A fun and lightheartedly eclectic set of blues, folk, and rock that incorporates elements normally associated with jazz and big-band music.”

Creative Loafing, Charlotte NC, Tim Davis
“Jonathan Spottiswoode is a songwriter and indie filmmaker, replete with scruffy beard, angular face, and stringy long hair. You’d be forgiven for blurting out “Dear God, not another **##%$# Vincent Gallo” right about now, but Spottis- woode (as well as his Enemies) have a lot more going on in the songwriting department: equal parts Waitsian found percussion, Langhorne Slim-style gut poetry, and Nick Cave-like gothic yawp”

Aiding And Abetting
“Spottiswoode has a pleasant rasp that is moderately reminiscent of Tom Waits. He’s also got a way of traversing genres (with truly twisted results) that might remind a listener of Mr. Waits. Of course, if you listen to just one song, you’ll realize that Spottiswoode is completely and utterly his own man...The most astonishing thing about these songs is their delicate nature. Even when steeped in the blues and backed by a gospel-style choir, the writing is precise and direct, with each song progressing at its own pace until fully unfurled. The sort of music that is immediately unforget- table.”