H. R. Gertner

REVIEW: H.R. Gertner “A Chemical Trick of the Brain”


H.R. Gertner – A Chemical Trick of the Brain

RattleTrap Records

H.R. Gertner’s deep, rich, smokey baritone sets the hook firmly with a quarter cup of Leonard Cohen, a teaspoon of Colter Wall, and a healthy dash of Jonathan Richman. We’re off to a great start. A Chemical Trick of the Brain slows things down considerably in contrast to the busy traffic of today’s targeted and marketed airwaves. I’ll take it. Recorded in full at BlueCouch Studios in Gainesville, FL, and Riverbottom Studios in Gainesville, GA by H.R.Gertner and David Kennedy, this release pushes beyond the boundaries of expected chord progressions and arrangements in lieu of verdant folk experimentation. A chemical trick to the brain indeed! But the real sparkles in the soil are Gertner’s trailer park Shakesperian wordsmithing, weaving its way through the musical landscape like a trustworthy Bloodhound leading its owner steadfast toward the kill.

“String Around My Finger” takes on Southern superstitious traditions charmingly without advertising: “Gonna paint my porch ceiling a shade of faint blue. Down in the deep south It’s a thing that we do. To keep all the ghosts out. I loved her most there’s no doubt. But I just can’t take her coming ‘round and ‘round.”

“Don’t Reward A Fish” lays down its hand plainly in the game love when all the chips are cashed in: “Don’t punish a baby for crying. Don’t blame a lawyer for lying. Don’t trust a thief with your most precious things. And don’t stay when she turns mean.”

In the end, we finally find redemption in the face of lost love, even if our love is just atoms floating in space: “This world is full of colors that none of us see quite the same. Somehow we’re built to love one another. It’s a chemical trick of the brain.”

“I’ve Been Better” takes life on the chin with a Ramblin’ Jack Elliot style: “I’ve been better, I’ve been worse.I’ve been blessed and I’ve been cursed. I’ve been left in the pouring rain two towns away. I’ve been bent, but never broken. I’ve been slapped when I was just joking. I’ve been brought to my knees, but I never prayed for nothing I didn’t need.”

Overall, A Chemical Trick of the Brain’s 6 songs are a refreshing listen, and like a brave expeditioner hacking at drooping sub-Saharan jungle vines, it deserves a modicum recognition for its ability to tread new ground in the folk universe.

Goes great with: Creative activities like painting, drawing, or hiking a mountainside.

Get your exclusive copy/download HERE: https://hrgertner.bandcamp.com

Performances by:

H.R.Gertner: vocals, acoustic guitar, upright bass, piano, whistling

David Kennedy: dobro, banjo, lap steel, pedal steel, 12 string guitar, synths, harmonica, drums, fx














Mixed & Mastered by H.R.Gertner at BlueCouch Studios

Cover Photo & Design by H.R.Gertner

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