Bob Bradshaw – The Art of Feeling Blue
This is Boston singer-songwriter Bob Bradshaw’s 10th LP & includes tracks recorded between October 2021 & 2022. The songs are fairly intense in nature & Bradshaw has the perfect vocal tonality to embody the grist of the tales. 12 songs that touch the rim of such artists as Nick Drake, Warren Zevon & Elvis Costello with smokey noir elements.
The tunes are not innovative but are well-written & performed. Bob has a prominent voice that resonates with the subjects he sings about. His voice falls between Joe Henry, John Wesley Harding & John Hiatt with lyrics being perfectly suited to his chosen genre. Bradshaw sculpts durable short stories with each tune.
Produced by Irish-born Bob Bradshaw (vocals/acoustic guitar) & his band The Art of Feeling Blue (Drops June 17–Fluke Records) is dark-hued Americana that has considerable merit since the approach is gutsy without being bombastic.
“I Know a Place,” is a beauty. With lots of mood, atmosphere & with a bit of a tensile voice Bob creates a refined & imaginative work. More of a rocker is “Hot In the Kitchen,” — playful & Bob knows how to emphasize the right words as he cruises through this elementary yet entertaining steady tune. It almost sounds like Van Morrison in tradition with its hard-driven jazzy fuel.
The Spanish-influenced “Rosa,” has a charm that comes with chaotic instrumentation that’s quite exciting considering the chaos. Bradshaw’s vocals are well-recorded & he’s articulate. Not a mumble. Delicacy is exemplified in “The Silk Road Caravan,” where Bradshaw shows skill within the ballad form. Again, a dash of Van Morrison radiates from the arrangement.
With “Somebody Told Me a Lie,” Bradshaw embodies a little late-career Elvis Costello’s intonation & does it admirably. The schtick of vintage jazz middle-of-the-road guitar is a nice touch above the swish of the high-hat & snappy snare beat. A return to a vintage 70s rock showcase comes on the crafty well-played “Thought I Had a Problem,” a valid reach into an earlier-Elvis Costello bag of tricks. Quite cool. I like this a lot.
Highlights – “Waiting,” “Everybody’s Small Town Now,” “The Art of Feeling Blue,” “I Know a Place,” “Hot In the Kitchen,” “Rosa,” “The Silk Road Caravan,” “Somebody Told Me a Lie,” “Thought I Had a Problem,” & “Let Sleeping Gods Lie.”
Musicians – Kris Delmhorst (vocals), Andrew Stern (electric & acoustic guitars), Andy Santospago (electric/lap steel guitar/keys/voice), John Sheeran (bass), Mike Connors (drums/percussion/marimba), Scoop McGuire (bass/keyboards), James Rohr (keyboards), Chad Manning (fiddle), Jimmy Ryan (mandocello), Jacob Valenzuela (trumpet), Dave Brophy (drums/percussion), Dave Westner (drums), Zachariah Hickman (mellotron/keyboards) & Jef Charland (bass).
Color image by Emelyn Chiang. The 44-minute CD @ https://www.bobbradshaw.net/