POZ Review: The Songs Of Tony Sly: A Tribute
by Zac Lomas, edited by Erik van Rheenen
I never met Tony Sly. In fact, I will never meet Tony Sly and as such, I am not entitled to give him a eulogy. Thankfully, Fat Wreck Chords has assembled a cast of more than thirty musicians who either knew Sly personally, or knew him through the songs of No Use for a Name, and their interpretations of his music serve as a fitting tribute to one of the most iconic Fat Wreck faces of the ‘90s and 2000s. The Songs of Tony Sly: A Tribute runs the gamut of influential and up-and-coming punk bands: from The Gaslight Anthem to The Swellers, from Lagwagon to The Flatliners, from Bad Religion to Yellowcard, this album has everything a final farewell to Sly could need.
While this album certainly stands on its own, not requiring listeners be fans of No Use for a Name to enjoy the impeccable craftsmanship put into each track, the tribute to Tony Sly gains its true resonance in the greater context of No Use and the bonds many fans hold with the band’s immense back catalogue. Furthermore, the true gravity of this album comes forth when one realizes that the entirety of the proceeds from this album go to the Tony Sly Memorial Fund, which supports Sly’s daughters, Fiona and Keira. So, before delving into this tribute album, I suggest grabbing a box of tissues, ‘cause it’s going to be a tearjerker.
However, when you finally muster up the emotional stamina to tackle these 33 tracks that truly define what a tribute album is, I encourage you to find the songs that resonate deepest with you. Listening to this tribute album is an incredibly personal experiment, and while a somber note hangs over each song, each track is unique and I encourage all listeners to find the tracks that resonant most with them.
With that said, I’m not going to even attempt to tackle the entirety of this vast collection, but rather focus on the tracks that speak to me. Three songs in, Strung Out grabbed me by the throat with their rousing rendition of “Soulmate,” reminding myself and fellow listeners of the passion that No Use for a Name exuded in every record and every performance.