Sunday, October 21, 2012

A Great New CD By Brody & The Busch Rd Trio

Brody & the Busch Road Trio

We’re Just Visiting

Brody and his band are maturing artists with a definite vision for their evolving craft. They are flexing their musical muscle like a tri-athlete looking for the gold. They are full of energy and ideas and are testing the outer limits of their endurance. They are pushing back at a tawdry scene that’s teetering at the abyss, throwing a lifeline to music and art and reeling it all back in to the mother ship. This is an incredible body of work, honest and bold. Brody and the Busch Rd Trio are not hesitant to sing about truth and live with the consequences. This  is a pure triumph,  one of the best discs of the year. Take a listen

Stay is an introspective piece that recalls Michael Stipe in his early days with REM. Brody has a mic friendly voice with just enough quiver and nuance to show his vulnerability and make it his own. The basic premise is love and loneliness and the musical backdrop supports the breadth of emotional expression. The music segues from quiet to loud to match the emotions expressed by the singer.  Brody’s voice rises and the tempo picks up. A fuzz-tone slide adds a little punch to the despair in the lyric. The guitar work is incredible. Burk plays it like ringing a bell, loud yet melodic.

She left me in the sad mid-morning 
With nothing but the cup of coffee I was holding 
Said she’d get back to me someday 
The fog lifted slowly I prayed for rain 
Dark cloudy skies to conceal my pain 
But the rain washed them all away 
What to do now but go back inside 
Curse the bed where we lied and cry 
Babe why don’t you stay

Murphy Lake Road Interlude

Opens with Jangly guitar and a marching beat right outta Sousa. The guitarist plays some big fat notes and gives the song a great hook. Brody spits out the words like venom from a snake bite. His rapid fire gunshot vocals have a husky Jack Daniels on a Friday night when you stay just a little too long and you wake up with a headache and your underwear down at your ankles and you wonder when she left and what you did to her. At this point Burk heats up the guitar until it gets louder and louder until the distortion and feedback almost hurts. The discordance is a statement . The song ends with the guitarist striking a loud sustained open chord .

Me and Marie used to ride down Murphy Lk. Rd. in my old Caprice
Cooler in the back Seger and Springsteen in the summertime
She’d smile and take the wheel while I lit my cigarette
When the stars came out we’d lie on the hood and plan out our lives

She used to sing to me I’d write poetry
She’d smile and say hey that’s beautiful
I’d say hey babe it’s all about you
You don’t know what I go through
Every time you walk into a room

Juliet’s Got the Blues

This is a stoned rootsy earth anthem with a flavor of dylanesque harp and a slurry laconic vocal perfect for the sedative/hypnotic crowd. The drummer has a strong backbeat and provides some neat syncopation to breaks through the bluesy self-absorption of the protagonist. This title would fit neatly into the Mumford & Sons catalog if Brody would only curse more often and portray the confidence and sensibility of a drunkard or longshoreman. Still, all-in-all this is a love song that didn’t work out too well. She didn’t buy it and he felt the sting. The echoed guitar riff comes in to the mix like a choir of bagpipes. It’s like a banshee howl, a cry of despair - great song!

I finally gone and lost her for good this time
I write a letter everyday, but she won’t change her mind
Can’t recall what I did wrong Lord send me a sign
I finally gone and lost her for good this time

She said she’d love me for the rest of my life
I lost my poor children and I can’t find my wife
Forgive me my mistakes Lord I swear I’ll make em right
She said she’d love me for the rest of my life

Can’t Burn Vern
This is a hats off to Dave Grohl’s hats off to Kurt Cobain who begat the Foo Fighters who begat the saving of rock & roll through the ghost of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The thrashing thunderous guitars provide the rhythmic overtone while the bass and drums give the bottom real depth. The guitarist has a melodic touch that pulls it all together. Brody’s powerful vocals give the message a clip on the chin like Ali teasing Frasier at the Thrilla on Manila. The guitarist rocks mercilessly at the coda, hitting the E-string like samurai. This is Brody’s cry for help; a scream for salvation. Brody sounds more like Anthony Kiedis on this cut. Another hard rockin’ gem – anyone for Californication?

The way you look right through me
Baby thought you knew me
But you were mistaken
Now the change is takin
Over I can’t be you
But I will remain true
So don’t try and change me
I am all I can be
 So see me
Through your blindness
Kill me
With your kindness

Give it Away
Is the perfect vehicle to highlight the band’s fine-tuned musicality. The song has some neat syncopation and a tricky hesitation on the third beat of the verse with a sustained chord on the chorus. The timing is razor sharp. These cats can play. The lyrics have a heavy irony. He can forget and forgive all but his own sins. He could be reeling from a broken heart or some other addiction

Help me back Lord, to this life 
I have lived no, I have died 
Tell me how they did it those who came before me 
Followed footsteps, I fell shortly 
Can’t give it away 
Give it away 
Can’t give it away 
No I can’t get it back now

This is down home country folk with primitive harp layered over top signaling like a freight train. The drummer keeps it going with a solid syncopation. The economical country rock guitar and those tasty full bodied notes allows the song space to breathe. The acoustic guitar helps drive the rhythm.

Livin too fast can’t catch up walk, crawl or run
60 hours won’t fill my pockets just a back ache and a heart gone numb
90 miles an hour down that road but you’ll never finish 1st
Don’t wanna get there anyhow rather go in reverse

Hey babe let’s move to the southland I hear it’s an easy going place
Slow down catch our breath and I finally get to see your face
Yeah we get a little time but we don’t get quality
I think I made up my mind what to you think about Tennessee

Cat in the Rain

The minor chord colors the musical canvas. The guitarist sustains the fuzz-toned riff and it sails above the music like a ghostly banshee wail. The unison low harmonies give body Brody’s REM vocal. He sings like he’s in a trance, as if he’s chanting a mantra that is embedded in the hurricane pain of love gone bad.

It’s raining outside won’t you let me in 
Take my boots off no mud on your carpet 
Won’t you lay me down in your bed 
Turn the lights out over my head 
My feet are cold, my clothes soaking wet 
It’s coming down too hard to light a cigarette 
I know you locked me out won’t you let me in

Full Frontal
This is a rage against the machine, the clicks and clacks of the star maker machinery that has rusted and withered and left musicians, songwriters and singer holding the bag. Nobody can make money through the arts when our society is unhealthy and we are frozen in fear with no hope to make the good fight. It may give artists and poets something to rail about but playing for nothing is not the answer. The guitarists descending line and the drummers pounding beat underscore the bands anger.  Burk plays more notes in two bars than Jimmy Page.  The decibel level is ear-splitting loud and right on the mark. The anger is palpable. More please…fight the power

Caught in the same monotonous refrain 
Doesn’t help to turn the dial 
You know what they’re trying to do play us for fools 
While we remain docile 
Bored impatient and pissed 
I want you to listen to this

Lady Breathless has a knockout hook that gallops along at a nice pace. The acoustic refrain and strummed elecrtic chord take a back seat to Brody’s up-front vocal. Love the big hook in the middle 8. The melodic foundation of the music is a perfect vehicle for this sensuous sonnet; an imperfect love song. This is Brody’s search for something more than moderate happiness

Lady I, I’ve been thinking our love’s seen better days
How can that be when we never gave it a chance in the first place
Tell me how it is after all these years we can still ignore
Our buried feelings tortured emotions that heart under the floor
Your crooked smile
Perfect complexion
Baby I can’t sleep
Angelic voice
Your soul’s reflection
Haunts me in my dreams

Drive Toward Me

The quiet/loud construction is another tip of the hat to Kobain and grunge. The drummer sets up the rhythm by riding the high hat and cymbals. By the second verse the drums and guitar join together and machine gun the tempo. There are several slick tempo changes in the song. The guitarist’s slide becomes a powerful statement and sets the pace for the driving beat on the bridge. It sounds like a plea for help

I wish we could find some common ground
Instead of falling and stalling and spinning around
I know now I’m stuck out here
Graying and fading and wasting the years
So this is what it’s like to be alive staring at life
See your face in a dusty mirror
Lord help me out I’m dying here

Room 221

A slowed-down tempo and foreboding minor key colors the musical landscape. The band takes on several tricky tempo shifts that help the music assert itself and gives Brody the platform to explore and expand his unique vocal blend of intonation, bent notes, breathing, sustained notes and moaned and garbled asides. This is an incredible prescient look at aging and necessary losses. Great song!

These old wrinkled hands
Used to hold so many plans
Too late to regret
Only got one vacation left
Now she’s dying here all alone
Dying here all alone

What Went Wrong

This is morality tale about making bad choices and the stranglehold of addiction. It is a death knell; a ringing warning. Beware, you never pick up that first glass of cider thinking you’ll get hooked. It can kill your soul.

Now my life is so empty
Just like all those bottles of whisky
No hope for me anymore
I think it’s time to settle the score
I choose the booze

Can’t Breathe

This is a pastoral sepia-toned ode to a devastating loss. The guitar is a virtual wall of pain. It sounds like a punch in the chest and a stranglehold on your throat. The pain takes his breath away. The tempo slows down, the music quiets and Brody sings from the heart. But he’s standing inside himself and feels all of it. The strummed chord at the end seems like an act of defiance. He knows he  will not wallow in sorrow forever.

Burned your picture erased your number
Sat outside with the rolling thunder
Beauty turned to ashes your voice is long gone
Just me and the raindrops falling till dawn

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