By Stephen Chow
If you’re looking for a peaceful entry into 2016, James Brant’s new record Strange by Design is just the right wave to ride. His sincere and easy style is perfect for a little introspection or something to let bounce around in your head for its own sake. The record can run as shallow or deep as you need. No small feat.
Brant is an astute songwriter. His lyrics take things in simply, passionately and completely. Brant comes to each track with the full force of his many years writing, collaborating, and preserving music in his native Western Pennsylvania and adopted Philadelphia.
Brant has the universal POV on lock. He doesn’t come out of the box all lofty and full of ego or purposefully dense and winding. His music feels like that friend we call up for the good times and bad. The message is clear. Clarity is king. We can all hang our hat on these kinds of friendships.
Not everyone can pick up a guitar and make it feel this natural. Making it look easy. Helping us hold onto the things that went right about the day or better about a rough patch. That’s James Brant’s magic.
James Brant: Vocals, Guitar, Mandolin, Piano, Drums, Bass, Banjo
Tracked and mixed by James Brant at Sweaty Dog Studios in Chadds Ford, PA (my studio) Mastered by Tom Volpicelli at The Mastering House in Pottstown, PA
Strange By Design Tracklisting:
1. A Tone, A Phrase
2. Knew Myself
8. Know You
9. Time + Space
10. Don’t Expect
12. Unexpected Expectations
13. Stranger In My Skin
14. Fell Into Your Past