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Non-Prog CD Reviews

David Lee Bryant

Country Blues Boy

Review by Gary Hill

With an album title like County Blues Boy, the plot of the disc would seem to be laid bare. While there is definitely accuracy in the title, the blues sound isn’t all that frequently heard in this set. David Lee Bryant seems to have created a sound that sits fairly firmly in the vein of old-school country, but hints at other sounds as diverse as jam band music. More often than not, mostly because of the vocals, the music here calls to mind the Rolling Stones’ various forays into country territory. Perhaps the best part about the combination of sounds, though, is that, although it works towards rock music and pop music, it never leans in the direction of the modern pop-oriented country music. That allows this set to have a unique and tasty flavor. David Lee Bryant has created a work that stands tall. It’s not perfect, but it doesn’t miss that mark by far.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Early Mornin’ Blue Collar

“Early Mornin’ Blue Collar” brings the disc in with a rock meets country element. The chorus is catchy and mellower. It’s a nice way to start it off somewhat low-key. The accessible hook, though, keeps it from being underwhelming. 

The Hurtin’ Kind
Somehow the mood here calls to mind the country music style of The Rolling Stones. In fact, Bryant’s vocals really seem to echo that type of performance from Mick Jagger.
Slippin’

With “Slippin’” the sound drops to extremely mellow and slow. It’s still got that Stones’ country vibe. 

Big City Blues
This one brings in a higher energy motif, but it still feels like the Rolling Stones. In fact, the comparison is even more applicable on that section. There’s even a bit of spoken word vocals in the piece and those produce further Jagger-like references.
Heart in a Sling

A down home, shuffling country groove sets the pace for this. The twangy vocals almost seem a little contrived. That’s sort of a common theme on the disc, and the only thing that keeps the set from perfection. It’s not that they are bad. It’s just that they don’t feel genuine for some reason. There’s some killer guitar soloing on the piece.

The Window

The vocals that lead off “The Window” have a plaintive, real country music element. Musically this feels more like something from Lyle Lovett, though. Of course, that’s not a bad thing. It lends a bit of variety to the set, while still maintaining consistency. Some slide guitar provides more old-school country music elements.

That Game

A down-home, shuffling arrangement makes the musical motif for “That Game.” Bryant’s vocals again call to mind Mick Jagger’s country side on this piece. It’s a tasty tune with a lot of authentic country music. It’s one of the most successful treatments here.

Missing Person

This continues the down-home country sounds with a slow moving ballad that’s quite pretty. The guitar soloing is more classic rock oriented, but the country rules the track. 

The Vagabonds
The blues mentioned in the album title seems to show up on “The Vagabonds.” Yes, it’s still got a lot of country built in, and there are even some hints of Grateful Dead type music, but there is certainly more blues to be heard on the cut than on a lot of the other tunes here.  
My Sweet Lil’ Southern Belle
“My Sweet Lil’ Southern Belle” closes the set with a real Rolling Stones meets blues and country sound. It’s a slow moving number that features some great guitar work. The jam band sounds of The Dead are heard on this number, too. It serves as an effective ending tune.
 
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