Brian Lisik – Gudbye Stoopid Whirled
Ohio rocker Brian Lisik goes into an acoustic direction on his 10-track CD filled with good songs & lots of spontaneity. It isn’t an all-acoustic LP – it’s just more acoustic than normal.
Legendary producer Don Dixon (REM, Counting Crows, Kim Carnes) lends a hand & tweaks the knobs as a co-producer. The music is stripped with sparse arrangements but that doesn’t mean it lacks spirit. There are visits to rockabilly, 60s garage punk, soul & performed with creativity. There’s nothing cutting edge or bombastic. Simplicity was in the mix.
Brian captures a classic rock vibe with a home-recording effort that doesn’t sound like a trunkful of demos. The LP Gudbye Stoopid Whirled (Cherokee Queen Records) comes Oct 2.
The first cut “Don’t-Ray-Me,” dives headfirst into a carnival-like media/modern politics song. New territory for Brian Lisik (electric & acoustic guitars/tambourine/maracas/organ/vibes/shaker/mouth trumpet/ vocals).
The majority of songs were written by Lisik & his songwriting partner Steve Norgrove (bass/acoustic 6 & 12-string/lap steel guitars/mandolin/dulcimer/keyboards/lap drums/kazoo/shakers/tambourine/vocals).
“Don’t-Ray-Me,” sung with quasi-Dylan phrasing &with a 60s folk lyrical angle, Lisik avails himself well as a troubadour with a spare acoustic guitar. Some would suggest it’s imitation Dylan, but I actually feel he’s done a fine job polishing an old genre & giving it added value.
Cut 2 should’ve been called “No Happy Ever After,” but the power-pop confection “Happy All the Time” has good instrumentation, nonetheless with a chime of guitars in a Buddy Holly groove.
By cut 3 “Junior High School,” Lisik goes more John Mellencamp vocally. Subjects are not thinly-disguised pulp – this is about fleeting celebrity in the social media age. The melody is 60s rich with pop-soul overtones & solid backup singers, guitars & a hefty 45 rpm feel to it.
It’s easy to dismiss this music on first listen but it’s actually done with vitality. It’s…appealing. I certainly would prefer to listen to this than Bon Jovi. The songs don’t come off as contrived, syrupy sweet & cliched. Lisik tries to maintain a tight ship & does while having fun. When he goes pop, he keeps the appeal in a more Dwight Twilley manner. “Looking For You,” explores female empowerment with ideal commercial flare.
A dip into a more folky Ramblin Jack Elliott genre Brian’s obligatory road song “Cheboygan, Sheboygan,” has a banjo. Not short of melody it has ample head-bopping relevancy. It comes dangerously close to novelty but doesn’t go there. It’s imaginative.
Most songs are commercially sharp & well-sung. It’s not a slip-shod effort. The jangling “Death of a Broken Heart,” (great title) explores addiction & suicide. Not your average top 40 subjects. Additional musicians: Chad Jenson (drums/heavy metal banjo/acoustic & electric guitars/tambourine), Don Dixon (F# minor guitar & Mixing), Karen Norgrove & Sharon Jacques (sliding glass door).
The 33-minute CD was produced by The Dimmerer Twins with Don Dixon.
Available at https://www.brianlisik.com/