Brad Mackeson- 1945   Leave a comment


untitledAnother one from the Who? and Damn! category. You know, you see the album and you say, “Who?” Then, you listen to it and you say, “Damn!”

My review of 1945 has been posted to the Lonesome Road Review.

Track down this one.

Brad Mackeson

1945

BradMackeson.com

4 stars (out of 5)

By Donald Teplyske

By the time one arrives at track three of Brad Mackeson’s second album, a substantial journey has already occurred.

“They say love is for gamblers and broken hearted fools,” is the phrase that Mackeson has crafted to open this stunning sliver of perfection entitled “Love Is For Gamblers,” but it isn’t the only memorable statement that goes into this impressively written reflection—”My scenery may change, but I will never forget your name” and “Freely I give my love, you owe me no debt”—each verse contains additional poetic affirmation of his lover’s perfection.

Like the finest songs from Bruce Hornsby, Mackeson’s are full-bodied testimonials, gently revealed.

At 23 years, the Nashville-based songwriter from Portland, Oregon creates songs that he has no business being able to even relate to; his is an expansive view of his surroundings, with infatuation and obsession walking hand-in-hand with love and emotional devastation.

His voice, his phrasing is his own, although one can’t help but hear echoes of Dylan, Springsteen, and Petty within a spare couplet, a harmonica fill, or an extended syllable. “Thousand Drums” could be mistaken for a mind-expanding Mumford & Sons track, catchy and pristine. Thoroughly modern with roots that run through my middle-aged experiences, side one of this collection provides one of the most satisfying listens I’ve experienced in quite some time.

It is bold and complex, fuzzy and ripped with poignancy.

Flip to side two and things are entirely different, and no less acutely satisfying. The rest of the world drops away a bit here, and Mackeson appears more isolated and the music speaks to this altered reality.

“I’m too afraid to check my own reflection…what if I’m not who I want to be?” Mackeson challenges within “Gonna Be Fine;” like George Harrison and Harry Nilsson did for a previous generation—and I don’t know why they popped to mind, but they seem apt—Mackeson frequently creates complexity from simplicity. Side two is more free-wheeling than the first side, with added vocal effects that remind one of psychedelic-influenced performances heard on long ago, late-night radio. None of which interferes with the connection Mackeson has established with his audience.

Danny Schmidt. Joe Pug. Mark Erelli. Lee Harvey Osmond. John K. Sampson. Leeroy Stagger.

If those names are on your iPod, you had best add Brad Mackeson.

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