As its title so handily points out, Face To Face's Hold Fast: Acoustic Sessions is an acoustic record – the first of the melodic punk band's career – but it has more than a few sonic twists and turns, with a career-spanning tracklisting, jumping from 1992's genre classic Don't Turn Away to their most recent effort, 2016's return-to-form Protection. As frontman Trever Keith explains, "During last year's Econo-Live tour, we included a VIP package for the first time ever. I wanted to do something more than just signing autographs or taking pictures, so we added an acoustic set every night before the show. What came out of that experience was this realization that our songs, when stripped down, had a really cool identity that didn't exist the way that we play them as a full band, punk-rock style. We started to notice this connection with the people who were watching, and we started thinking, ‘Maybe we should record this.'"
So Keith and his band – longtime bassist Scott Shiflett, drummer Danny Thompson and guitarist Dennis Hill – did just that, booking a studio during an off-day on tour to capture this raw, stripped-down snapshot of their catalog. From there, the band approached Fat Wreck Chords about releasing the album, but even though the label was supportive of the project, Keith himself wasn't happy with the result. He decided to scrap the original sessions and have the band hit the studio once more, this time with more songs and refined arrangements that include guest musicians (including accomplished pedal-steel player Gary Brandin and Dirty Heads percussionist Jon Olazabal) and unique instrumentation such as mandolin, piano and harmonium.
While some of Face To Face's most popular tracks are on Hold Fast, the band's signature song, "Disconnected," was actually not a part of the original acoustic sessions. "The first version of the acoustic record was only eight songs and we needed more material for a full-length record, so we put it to a vote with our fans on Facebook," Keith says. "As a result of that poll, we added ‘Disconnected' and ‘Ordinary,' and they turned out to be some of my favorite arrangements on the record."