Thursday, April 18, 2013

Alan Brooks: Music Review

Alan Brooks: Music Review
by Joanna Wilson

A few weeks ago, Akron Empire's Brit wrote an artist profile for Akron-based Cleveland-native singer/songwriter Alan Brooks.  Click HERE to see the artist profile again.  Brooks is hosting a new album release show on Friday, April 19th at 9pm taking place at Uncorked Wine Bar in downtown Akron.  In anticipation of this new album, I thought I'd share a review of his sound so far this year.

American in Paris features three cover songs, duets with Alan Brooks and Alexis Rosen.

This past January, Brooks released recordings of three cover songs under the title American in Paris.  Showing off his admiration for vintage Hollywood romance, the three covers are duets with female vocalist/musician Alexis Rosen.  American in Paris includes the heart-swelling classic cuts La Vie en Rose, Ain't No Sunshine, and Dream A Little Dream of Me.   Taking on French singer Edith Piaf's signature song, Brooks and Rosen's La Vie en Rose starts off bold and assertive only to grow more tender and subtle as it draws to a close--a successful seduction for a song that's seventy years old.  Ain't No Sunshine originally by Bill Withers, is here stripped down and built back up as a jazz-inspired guitar-backed duet.  And, Dream A Little Dream of Me, made famous to modern audiences by Mama Cass Elliot and the Mamas & the Pappas, floats dream-like along as it should.  I think this song is my favorite among the cover songs, and the harmonizing vocals and the lilting notes hit the emotion just right.  If you'd like to hear these three songs, check out Brook's bandcamp site: American in Paris/Pleuvoir Sessions.

Side A. & Side B. is a two track release to give audiences a teaser while we await the new album Alibi.

To whet appetites for his upcoming new album Alibi, Brooks has released Side A. & Side B. which contains one new track Taxi Cab and one previously released track Probably Never.   The new track Taxi Cab shows another side of Brooks, one more cynical than the previous romantic cover songs reveal.  Taxi Cab reminds listeners of urban heartbreak with its edgier jazz guitar and more worldly lyrics.  You can almost hear the rain hit the windshield as Brooks sings about all-too-familiar heart break with the repeated lyric "life's too short."  Never bitter, Brooks couples this track with the previously released pop uptempo song Probably Never which, despite its title, reveals a more hopeful outlook for finding love.  This track recorded with a fuller back-up band sound was originally released on Brook's first EP entitled Getting from A to B.  You can listen to these two tracks at Brooks' Noisetrade site: Side A. & Side B.

New album Alibi will be released Friday April 19th, 2013.

Alan Brooks' new album Alibi will be released on Friday April 19th.  You can buy a physical CD from the artist at his show that same night at Uncorked Wine Bar in downtown Akron.  Click HERE for the facebook event page.  You can purchase a digital copy after April 26th.  This new album was  "...recorded “one take” style live in the studio. The bare bones method lets the listener hear every dynamic change of Alan’s voice and feel all dissonance of the frequent chord changes."  Fans of musicians John Legend, Corinne Bailey Rae, the Roots, and Norah Jones can appreciate the soulful sounds and jazz-influence of Alan Brooks' music.  Self-described "Smart pop for the soulfully inclined and vintage inspired" is dead-on.  I'm looking forward to hearing the new tracks and continuing to watch this artist grow.

Alan Brooks website:
Alan Brooks' Alibi release party event on FB:

No comments:

Post a Comment