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Andy Brown – Seasons – Album Review

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Seasons Album Cover

Seasons is the latest album by Fredricton folk musician Andy Brown and it is a story of regret while still embracing change; looking forward with a positive outlook and high hopes but keeping alive the memories of your past, no matter how much it hurts. The album is catchy, deep and overall a carefully crafted piece of art. Seasons is the third full-length release from Brown, cementing his position as a force to be reckoned with in the Canadian folk scene and as a Maritime Dan Mangan.

Recorded in the woods at Echo Lake Studios in Nova Scotia with award-winning producer Daniel Ledwell, Brown gives a voice to the Canadian eco-system, one that is instantly familiar to anyone who has ever stayed at a cottage. The lyrical content is commendable. Complex and in-depth, but with a pop sensibility so it doesn’t feel like thought-provoking poetry is being shoved down your throat. Accompanying Brown on the album is PEI’s Tim Chaisson, female folk phoneme Jenn Grant, Canadian music legend Jeremy Fisher, Kinley Dowling of Hey Rosetta! and Australian singer/songwriter Dylan Wright. Incidentally Brown has quite the following in the Land Down Under, having completed a few headlining Australian tours. Seasons came out August 18 on Hole in the Sky Productions in Canada and Code One Recordings in Australia.

Critically, Brown has been very successful and it’s not hard to see why, his music is polished and substantial. “Run” opens up the record with serious toe tapping, head bobbing, feel good music; prepping the listener for the relaxing, yet emotional, cruise they are about to take. Then “Paris Sky” hits you with Brown’s rock sensibility. A fuzzier guitar tone and harsher vocals start the track then slowly melt away into an aurally soothing melody, finishing strong with horns to underscore the sound. The record’s title track “Seasons” asks everyone at the show to take a seat on the floor as Brown starts the song stripped down to just him and an acoustic guitar, gradually building the sound with a violin. Reminiscent of Simon & Garfunkel, Brown runs through the months of spring and early summer, apparently searching for catharsis. “Firemoon” does a solid job of stapling down the album, a bit repetitive in sound, at this point the listener has settled in and there are no surprises. “War Of Us” starts off with Brown singing along to a laidback guitar melody, then ever-so-subtly a banjo sneaks up and you can almost feel the warmth of an early June Sun. “Best Of Me” displays Brown’s vocal spectrum, jumping from high’s to low’s. “Little Boots” changes up the feel of the record with a drum fill and a nostalgic guitar riff, you know the one’s that make you think of your parents. It’s happy, it’s groovy, and it makes you want to dance embarrassingly with your significant other. “Never Forget” is drastically more somber then it’s predecessor. The song structure, which has become almost predictable at this point, is interrupted near the end by horns and a good groove, with howling female vocals somewhere in the background, bringing the feel of the wild along with some chills. “Thief” boasts the eternal partnership between guitar and piano, building to a grand ending. “For Forever” and “When I Had You” finish the album strong, bringing the listener to the logical conclusion through cohesive instrumentation and the same unique voice we have grown to trust and follow without question.

Seasons by Andy Brown is an incredible exhibition of Canadian folk music song composing. Though it can feel redundant at some points, so do the years, they come and go cyclically with the seasons, and there is something comforting about that. The record embodies that innocent familiarity that comes along with fresh starts and second chances. It’s perpetual, eternal, it’s the story of this year, it’s the story of last year, it’s the story of every year.

Learn  more about Andy Brown from his website and Facebook page.

Griffin Elliot

THE SCENE


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