* Album Of The Month (August 2021) *
(5 / 5)
“New Morning Howl”. Nine very classy songs/tracks, all penned by Brent. Produced by Brent and Ryan Benton. Strings arranged by Kaitlin Wolfberg, horns arranged by Brent and Mark Hamblin.
Opens with the jingly jangly ethereal, harmony-soaked Beach Boys-like track “Around The Bend”. It’s a lovely start. As is the McCartney/Harrison-style “My Josephine (Wildwood Flowers Are Where You Roam)”. Hear it, below…
The pace is slowed and calmed with the acoustic-centric “Spanish Jasmine”, which harks back to Simon and Garfunkel; very nice it is too. The title-track up next; which felt a wee bit disjointed to my ears.
“Can You Sleep Tonight Under Lightning Bug Skies”, a dreamy four minutes and eight seconds instrumental interlude (with breathy, reverb-soaked vocalising) precedes the prog’ rock-ish “The Glitter And The Roar”.
The stripped-down “Mr Sun”, wouldn’t have been out of place on Sgt Pepper’s. Which is the second track among this set with tweeting birdies heard on it. Is our Brent a secret twitcher?
Penultimate offering, “Empathy And Those Forgotten Victories”, delivers a crystal clear vocal, lush harmonies, graceful acoustic guitar on a very decent song. Another Brian Wilson-ish feel to it. No bad thing at all, that!
Got to credit the mix and mastering on this album. With Brent’s wistful vocal style, perfect diction, the arrangements where the “less-is-more” production values work to the end result’s advantage, sloppy mixing or mastering would have scuppered the objective. So bravo to Ryan Benton, Greg Beery and Piper Payne.
Closer “In My Daze” nods back to George Harrison, and is a fine way to end proceedings here.
The quality of the song writing, the performances (vocals and instruments), the arrangements, production and the whole caboodle across these nine cuts is exemplary, and this best kept secret, little gem of a record deserves much love and attention.
Brent was a new name to me when my editor asked me to review this album, and I was intrigued to hear it; but made a point of not reading up on the guy before spinning the disc and writing my track-by-track notes for this review.
Very surprised then, when I did glance at the press blurb, to discover that this is his debut solo album. Really? I’d bet there are major artists with big budgets who have been putting out albums across many years who would be thrilled to make something as strong as this one. So to find out this is Brent’s first, definitely adds a star to my rating for this review! It gets a big fat maximum five stars – without any doubt.
Brent Windler is from Kansas in the US Midwest. He has been doing his thing musically for more than a decade. Alongside his solo career, Brent is songwriter and guitarist with Sons Of Great Dane, a five-piece Kansas City-based rock band with ‘No Depression’ alt-country influences.
Well, he has at least one new fan across the pond (me!), and once this record gets heard over here, I suspect his fanbase will swell nicely. Thankyou for the music….
By Christopher Weston
(2 / 5) ‘OK Zone’
(3 / 5) ‘Decent Zone’
(4 / 5) ‘Super Zone’
(5 / 5) ‘Awesome Zone’