This must be the most awaited album of the year…..well one of them. I heard Brad sing a couple of tunes in January at the Tamworth Country Music Festival. I had heard a lot of good things about him and all of those things were right. The singles released, the special on Saturday Night Country and my initial gut feeling all proved the theory right. Brad Butcher has arrived. He actually did a while ago, some of us are a bit slow to catch on.
It is not a surprise that Matt Fell produced this. It has his Midas touch. Brad’s songs are not dissimilar to those of Shane Nicholson. They have a folky, easy feeling. They have depth and character and they feel familiar like a pair of comfy slippers. They are not just fluff, though. The lyrics form very much part of a bigger story. There’s more to the story, still to come, as Brad would sing.
Brad is from part of a large family and the songs are very much part of the fabric of this album, particularly his late grandfather. Listening to Brad, it is not hard to say, “he sounds like…” but at the same time, that would do him a disservice, as the songs that he sings with that familiar voice are his alone – they are his stories.
In Australia, right now, we have so many wonderful songwriters of all ages in the Alt.Country and Folk field. I am very proud and lucky to be around at a time when all of this amazing music is being produced. It is up to people like myself and other fans and djs to promote it and let the world and our countrymen and women hear these beautiful tunes.
The songs have the earthiness of Springsteen or Dylan but have the gentleness of Donovan or Gordon Lightfoot or our own Doug Ashdown. It is Shane and Lachlan and Luke O’Shea like that way – strong stories, heartfelt messages delivered with a handshake rather than a punch.
From the bottom of a well – Appropriate that this is the album title and yes, the first track on the album. A definite favourite on the album. A great way to start.
Crawl, beg and cry – This one has more of my “shower song” candidate feel. It has a rollicking beat that bops around in your head and your toes. Instrumentally, this is spot on too.
More to the story – This one will be requested a lot by gig goers, I am sure. It is easy to hum along to, easy on the ear and the picking is perfection. A country tune for certain. This may be borderline shower song too.
Well Dressed Man – a standout song. It is a single from the album and thoroughly deserves to be. I don’t often say that, I often think that the wrong songs are chosen as singles, but this is the obvious choice. It is poetry, really. One of my favourite songs of the year, from anybody.
Dreamer’s Curse – The easy strumming that starts this track lulls you into that dreamlike state. Of all the songs on the album, I think that this one showcases Brad’s vocals best. As the world’s biggest dreamer myself, it didn’t flow too far from home.
Mark My Words – Another favourite. The words are just so beautiful and the musicianship sweeps you away. Just a lovely, lovely, lovely song. Melt.
Glasgow Train – Goodo, a train song. I can’t go without a train song for long. They always win me over. It mentions Cornwall too, one of my favourite places and I think Andrew Wrigglesworth and Lachlan Bryan will favour this one….have you guys been hanging around together? A great story song.
Monsters (E) – It is hard to pick favourites on this album. Maybe I should just give in and say that I adore them all! Some for different reasons. This is more gritty than the others, the E is for a minor expletive. Nothing that we don’t say every day in Australia. I almost missed it.
Oh Marie – A very Donovan like song. Such a gentle, moving song.
You can Talk To Me – You have to love a song that starts with that organ music feel. They don’t do that much anymore….I think that may be a Matt Fell touch. A very bluesy, summer day feel to the music but the words are much deeper and more intricate. Sort of J J Cale meets Eric Clapton.
All Said Done – Just as the opening was perfect, so is the ending. This song rounds things off nicely. I actually cried when I listened to this the first time. Wo man.
It is fitting that Brad has been touring with The Weeping Willows. It is a good match. I don’t have the hard copy, and at this point, there are few reviews to compare it to and get the details. I will get the cd as soon as I can. I like to give credit where credit is due and I am sure that there are a lot of people to pat on the back with this one. At the heart of everything is Brad. It is a wonderful album. It is right up there with the best of the year and worth the wait.
I’ll remember this here moment and all that I feel.