REVIEW: Last Year’s Man’s “Brave the Storm” is Threaded with an Abundance of Sincerity


Last Year’s Man – Brave the Storm

Oregon producer/songwriter Tyler Fortier who performs as Last Year’s Man has a pensive & calm voice. Nothing too distinctive, or potent. Of late, many singers of this ilk project this type of showcase. But Tyler threads his melodies & lyrics with an abundance of sincerity. He sings them with genuine heart. The title track “Brave the Storm,” is delicate, striking with splendid female backing vocals. It may find a home on college radio & Americana charts.

“No Eye on the Sparrow,” is a disciplined tune. But lines like “on the outside of the looking glass,” “a crimson sky above me,” “mud at my feet,” “these borders don’t exist,” “howling at the moon,” “blood on the stone,” – how many times have we heard those lines? The bright spot that should’ve lasted longer on ‘sparrow’? The finale Spanish-horns — that was a nice touch.

Listening to Tyler I suspect he has a deeper bag of words & phrases. I’m sure he could come up with something more engaging for his fine melodies. His 8-cut debut Brave the Storm (Drops Nov 13 – Independent) is promising.

“My Own Ghost Town,” is the jewel. A two-step shuffle brushed on a snare with a bright steel guitar effectively elevates Tyler’s faithful prospector’s song.

His songs are charming and there are beautiful songs like “Guide You Back to Me,” which is perhaps too whispery, but it is an excellent song. It’s good to have in a work some vulnerability, but certain songs need some sting. There’s little lyrical phrasing here – the words are sung mellow.

There’s some magic, and Tyler is likable — “Feet of Clay,” & “The Valley of Jehoshaphat,” are performed well.

Musicians: Philippe Bronchtein (organ/pedal steel), Bart Budwig (trumpet), Jeramy Burchett (drums), Kati Claborn & Luke Ydstie (vocal), Ehren Ebbage (banjo/guitar/piano/drums), Tyler Fortier (acoustic/ high strung/electric guitar/piano/Rhodes), Milo Fultz (bass/upright/bowed bass), Erik Berg Johansen (mandolin/violin), Jeffrey Martin (vocal), Peter Perdichizzi (guitar), Christopher Porterfield & Jesse Terry (vocal), Lex Price (tenor guitar), Anna Tivel (violin/vocal).

The 31-minute LP was produced by Tyler & available on Amazon.

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