Not Afraid of Nothing
REVIEW OF RECORD By Neil Pearson, Fish Records UK, Sept. 2009 'Not Afraid of Nothing' is the third of Anthony's albums that we'll have carried in around 18 months, and he's as versatile as he is prolific as this disc expands his sound into new areas. In 2007, at only 16 he became the youngest ever winner at Kerville & Falcon Ridge, and since then he's gone on to play significant festivals and open for some big artists. Now, still aged only 18, he's keeping his acoustic folk roots, but bringing in new influences on this new album; & it's an exciting mix where folk meets, Americana, indie & rock creating a sound that shares much with contemporary artists such as Josh Ritter, but also nods to classic Neil Young. As if to underline his versatility, the songwriting has also shifted a little for this disc and the fourteen songs document his last year of high school and all the associated trappings that go with being a young man. There's confusion and honesty, love and loneliness, and an obvious air of change across the songs. What separates Anthony from almost all of his contemporaries is his songwriting maturity, and instead of being a clumsy analysis of teenage life, his songwriting skill turns this into a well crafted album that every older listener will immediately be able to relate to. He has a turn of phrase and ear for a melody that marks him out; he may be a young man but he's already a few albums down the line and comfortable in developing his style. Recorded mostly around his hometown of Pleasantville, NY, 'Not Afraid of Nothing' has a bigger sound than his earlier albums with more depth and colour, he provides the lion's share of all the instrumentation, and he's joined by Abbie Gardner on 4 tracks, other backing comes from violin, cello, piano and some subtle brass in places. The Ritter and Young influences are easy to spot across the album, from the guitar sound through to melodic and vocal phrasing, and he's created a disc with a sound that feels somewhat familiar, but with a fresh and relevant edge. Anthony Da Costa is an artist going from strength to strength, he's proved his songwriting skills over the past few years, and this album shows him growing as a maturing artist. Very highly recommended. ABOUT THE RECORD Anthony Da Costa IS not afraid of nothing. A public statement, a self-realization, an album title, a cool chance to use a double negative...or all of the above. Not sure. But one thing is certain: Anthony's new record is anything but careful. In 2007, at 16, he became the youngest winner ever at the Falcon Ridge and Kerrville Folk Festivals. In 2008, at 17, he released two, critically- acclaimed albums. He also played prestigious folk festivals, including the Philadelphia Folk Festival and Tonder Festival in Denmark, and opened for music icons, like Loretta Lynn and Dan Bern. Now, in 2009, at 18, and before heading off to Columbia University this fall, he's released a new record, 'Not Afraid of Nothing.' But, in this album, his eighth, Anthony ventures into new musical territory. While one foot's in folk, the other foot's loose and wandering into various genres, influenced by the work of Elliott Smith, Ryan Adams and some other, less-obvious artists, like The Smiths and Jay-Z. 'I needed to get to someplace else with this record - someplace with a little groove.' 'Not Afraid of Nothing' is a homegrown record, recorded mostly on a Macbook Pro with an MBox in living rooms and basements throughout Anthony's hometown of Pleasantville, NY. As for the songs, they document his last year in high school - a year of clarity and confusion, love and loneliness, change and nostalgia and, ultimately, renewal. 'This album is definitely the most of me that I've put out there, but I hope it can be about all of us in a way. If it's not, than I'm not doing my job.' ABOUT ANTHONY Anthony Da Costa, a 'WFUV 2009 New Artist to Watch' and an 'MSNBC.com 2009 Top Five Up-&-Coming Young Singer,' has released a new record, 'Not Afraid of Nothing.' His music combines indie, alt, folk, rock, Americana and pop, plus what it's like to be 'a very, very young man, with a very, very old soul' (Pete Fornatale, WFUV).