Monday, June 02, 2008

Brady Rymer

I hadn't heard too much of Brady Rymer prior to hearing a preview song ("Road Trip") from his newest album, but once I heard that, I knew I had to hear more. I was about to request a copy of Here Comes Brady Rymer and the Little Band That Could when it showed up in my mailbox. I like when that happens... I've listened to the whole album a few times now and each time it's put a really big smile on my face and always inspired me to want to sing and dance along. Of course, my dancing is dangerous enough, but especially dangerous when I'm driving, which is usually when I'm listening to music... so I've just opted for the singing along part, and reduced the dancing along to some head bobbing and such.

Here Comes... is nothing but gems. Of all 13 tracks, there's only one that I don't really love ("Get Back Home"), and even that one I still kind of like alright. The album starts with a self-referential "here we are, kids" kind of track plugging Brady's Little Band That Could. There are a lot of tracks of this type that I've heard on kids' albums over the years where the band or artist introduces themselves with the first song (the Hipwaders' first album leadoff track comes quickly to mind as one of my favorites), but sometimes they can wear out their welcome if they're any longer than the average TV theme song. This is one of the few ones I can think of that works very well as a full three and a half minute song, with a catchy hook and some nice chord changes in the bridge that keep it all chugging along nicely.

The aforementioned "Road Trip" is next and it's just a flat out showstopper. In my interview with Ralph Covert, he talked about the "vocabulary of rock and roll", and this whole album and the "Road Trip" song in particular shows that Brady is obviously very fluent in that language. He may not be charting any new territory... you can hear him going where Bruce Springsteen and Bob Seger and others have gone before... but he's not merely retreading it, either. It all sounds very fresh and he definitely embodies the music completely.

The third track is "Jump Up (It's a Good Day)" and it's the catchiest tune of the set (which is saying a lot, as there are many good hooks throughout the album). If you're ever feeling grumpy, just put on this album, and if you're not feeling bouncier than a Tigger after the first two songs, you will be once this track hits. In Brady's previous life, he fronted the jam rock band, From Good Homes, who opened for Bob Dylan and Dave Mathews and other big name acts (I saw them open for Bob Weir's Ratdog band in Buffalo back in the mid-90's), and that kind of infectious rhythm and blues jam rock thing really shines through on this one.

Other standouts for me include "It Was a Saturday Night", which combines several different 70's rock styles into yet another great song; "One True You", a pretty anthem about why kids look and act the way they do in relation to their family (I really like how the song starts with "I see your Mom in you, I see your Dad in you, etc." and then goes to "I see faith in you, I see joy in you, etc."); "Again", another very catchy and upbeat tune that uses a false ending to great effect; and "Good Night, Daisy", as beautiful a lullaby as I've ever heard, and a song I've played several times in a row just to get lost in its magnificent elegance.

Brady's vocals are a little twangy and he sounds sort of like Lyle Lovett at times. It's a unique voice for the kids' music genre, and he certainly has the chops for pulling off these songs with the right phrasing and attitude. His "little band" is really great, too... always serving the song and coloring everything vibrantly throughout.

I'm going to have to remain noncommital about Brady Rymer's previous albums until I hear more of them, but there's no doubt that Here Comes Brady Rymer and the Little Band That Could is a real treat and worth hearing again and again. Just be careful dancing while you're driving, please.

Brady Rymer's website

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