Brian Seymour – American Courage
There’s a hint of the older John Mellencamp in Brian’s voice but because his music is fortified, imaginative & well-executed Mr. Seymour (piano) has a delicacy of taste brought to his work. Brian’s songs are fairly straightforward & not as Americana-Roots based as Mellencamp’s. There are more rock threads in this fabric. The opening track “Always Leaving,” is quite cool especially when the retro-lead guitar adds some brassiness to the notes. Nice touch & appropriate to the tune.
There are cross-bred influences (David Gray, Elvis Costello, Graham Parker) that run through Brian’s repertoire but he’s smart enough to always add just enough originality to make it stylistically his own. “Dandelion,” is rather plain but it’s loaded with dramatic singing & strings. It’s solidly built.
Produced by Derek Chafin (guitars/bgv) the 10-cut American Courage (Drops June 30–Independent) manages to avoid mediocrity since the majority of the songs all have something compelling to recommend them. “Like a Vine,” has some slick violin sawing & Seymour’s voice is rich & poignant throughout.
So, we have a member of Steely Dan from New Jersey, Frank Sinatra & Bruce Springsteen, a little of Dory Previn & Patti Smith too, & now Brian Seymour from Paterson, NJ & raised in Red Bank, NJ. Proves that a generous amount of talent does indeed reside in the Garden State. Where was he when I was 21 & playing drums?
I’m not entirely sold on a geographical location playing a role in influencing an artist. Joni Mitchell came from Canada & yet lived for years in Laurel Canyon & managed to write about the briskness of winter (“River”), places like Colorado, Toronto, Chelsea, NY, Woodstock (where she never performed) & Jericho. It was all imagination & creativity. Many of her songs did come from real persons, places & experiences but basically, the secret to good songwriting is ingenuity.
Brian Seymour has this – he’s not writing from a point of view of fiction. He tells stories that even if not true are believable. “What Love Is,” is superb. It has that same magic that John Prine had with Bonnie Raitt on “Angel From Montgomery.” Seymour manages this style with finesse.
These are all well-disciplined tunes with interesting tales driven by a full-bodied sound. There’s enough here to make you want to hear more of Brian Seymour. I do.
Highlights – “Always Leaving,” “Dandelion,” “Like a Vine,” “Everyday Girl,” “Jigsawed,” “Man of My Dreams” & “What Love Is.”
Musicians – Eliza Hardy Jones (backing vocals), John Thomas Griffith (organ), Kenny Kearns (keys), Jay Davidson (saxes), Tom Heyman (guitars), Rich Kaufman (guitars/bgv), Jim Shirley (guitars/bass/bgv), Kevin Hanson (guitars), Mark Tucker (guitar), Mark Schreiber (drums/percussion), Erik Johnson (drums), Jim Stager (bass), Chuck Bramlet & Mike Vogelman (bass) & Valerie Vuolo (strings).
Color image courtesy of Brian’s website. The 32-minute CD @ https://www.brianseymour.com/
Enjoy our previous coverage here: Video Premiere: Brian Seymour “So Much Love”