Recording artist Fred Hostetler has just released his third album. It is titled Fortuna Redux. But first, for those not yet familiar with the artist in question, a bit o’ background.
Fred Hostetler is an American author, singer-songwriter, and musician. His resume also includes co-founding the popular blues-rock band Blue By Nature with Karen Lawrence and ex-Aerosmith guitarist Rick Dufay. Blue By Nature’s albums are reported to be “genre-jumping Americana romp[s] through…blues-rock.”
Their nigh-legendary live gigs were known for vocalist Lawrence’s individualistic, “raspy vocal style.” They even worked with famous producer Jack Douglas (John Lennon, Aerosmith, Cheap Trick, and Patti Smith). More recently, Hostetler was awarded 2019 Best Singer-Songwriter by LA Music Critic.
Fred Hostetler’s signature sound is a musical mélange of multiple genres including (but not limited to) Americana, blues, blues rock, and rock ‘n’ roll.
Fortuna Redux includes seven songs. It is a compilation of his previously-released singles all on one convenient CD. According to a recent communique, they have all “been either remixed with additional recording or given a fresh arrangement.” More importantly, there is a new song here as well.
Track by Track
The album opens on “Taming The Wolf 2.” As previously reported on a review of Hostetler’s previous release, Fred’s Blue Chair Blues, this biographical song is a distinct departure from the original raw solo performance. It is a more polished presentation of the tuneful tale complete with a “more band-like” sound.
Not to be confused with the 1975 Bob Dylan classic, “Shelter from the Storm” is an intense original audio offering. This one is about climate change and is presented much like a folk artist traditionally tells tuneful tales.
The next number is “Rain on my Window Pane 2.” This one, co-written with Lawrence, is a new take on another audio offering off of Fred’s Blue Chair Blues. It features memorable guitar work and “expanded instrumentation” that gives it a refreshing new identity.
It is followed by a great blues-tinged take on Bill Withers’ classic, “Ain’t No Sunshine.” Hostetler says it was inspired by “Bill Withers’ passing” and he hopes “it honors his legacy and continues to bring soulful and heartfelt feelings across genres.” It features an effective “expansion of lyrical content” by Robbie Cribbs.
The titular “Lady Luck Fortuna Redux” is the noteworthy new number here. The added instrumentation gives it an almost reverent feeling. This slower somber song sounds as if it required a significant amount of thought and perhaps even passion to compose the cut. Indeed, Hostetler confirms that he began writing the song “many years ago, but could not finish it until now.” He added: “It is not easy to get to know her and her ways, her means, and her purposes.”
Hostetler picks it up again on “He’s Gone Rogue.” It’s an early favorite of both fans and critics. The song is both political and satirical with dramatically-tinged music and a unique arrangement as well.
The energetic closing cut is the rockin’ song “I’m a New Man.” It was originally written as a follow-up single to his 2017 Heart Radio album. The guitar work on this new version sounds nigh inspired. In fact, Hostetler admits the work was “inspired by the great contemporary blues guitarist and artist Walter Trout. I admired his authentic singing and playing.”
Overall, while the brief disc is a compilation of his previously released songs, they are all presented differently. Furthermore, it demonstrates his ability to work with others in a studio approach. Indeed, it is the new arrangements and additional recording work that takes something old and makes them something new and even more entertaining. So check out Fred Hostetler’s Fortuna Redux, because there “Ain’t No Sunshine” without him.