Monday, August 17, 2009

Reviews:: Bradleyboy Rock/Wood

A few weeks ago I talked briefly about Orono’s resident bluegrass badass, Bradleyboy. The swampy blues and Cash like influence was evident, but now that I’ve spent some quality time with his latest release, Rock/Wood, I’m even more impressed. He’s more than a growlin’ beast with a flair for catchy, picked riffs. No, this Orono man is a born story teller, one that offers up a modern take on one of the most tried and true styles of music.

The record starts with the steady as a freight train chug of 40 Days, but the next twelve songs offer up emotion and surprises. Sure, you expect the suitcase bass drum kick and bluesy swagger of tracks like If You Left Here, Montagné and Knock On The Door, but the it’s the little things like the tenderness of the intro to Workin’ or how the picked banjo mixes with the fuzz of Carpenter’s Daughter to cloud the song with tension and darkness that really grab you.

Unlike a lot of howling, harmonica heavy pickers, Bradleyboy put together an album that fits whatever emotion you are feeling. He isn't just foot stomps and tear in your beer regrets. He infuses the classic picking and energy we all love with more modern elements, experiments with song structure and changes tempo constantly. He never lets the listener completely settle into the listen, opting to push his boundaries and challenge us to expand ours.

The banjo on Diving Bell takes a supporting role to the fuzz that covers the track like a dense fog, and they way he softens his vocals completely transforms the feel of his music. Don’t You Cry is a straight ahead acoustic rocker with some nice backing guitar and bass and while these moments might seem trivial, they completely refocus the listen. Diversity is not something you expect (and even when it's promised, it's rarely delivered) from an artist like Bradleyboy, but its exactly what makes Rock/Wood demands multiple listens.

MP3:: Bradleyboy – If You Left Here

MP3:: Bradleyboy – Livin Between The Lines


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Posted at 8:47 AM by ack :: 1 comments

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At 9:26 AM, Anonymous Jon J did sayeth:

I remember when The Kent Boys first came to town and I met Bradleyboy. Good to see he's still at it!


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