All roads lead us back to home, Tim Brandt contemplatively sings in his sophomore album Long Walk Home. The self-produced album is a follow-up to the New Yorker’s 2010 collection, My Inner Child. Brandt, an impressive guitar player, galvanizes the listener’s imagination and senses in his newest album. Long Walk Home feels like a short journey into a man’s soul.
The first track is the title song. Brandt exposes his lyrics as heartfelt and first-person right out of the gate. Vulnerable and uniquely laced like a dusty shelf of whiskey at the corner bar, Brandt’s voice seems to harness a life of adventure and sage. Onward, onward, all roads lead us back to home, the seemingly eternally optimistic Brandt sings over a warm acoustic guitar.
Next up are the wonderful “There And Back Again” and “Love Is On Your Side”. Both songs keep the listener lingering on each word. I found myself mesmerized by the rhymes and the guitar arrangements. Back again, been 15 years my friend, cross the desert to the sea, always you and me, Brandt sings in “There And Back Again”, with the listener wondering if he means his guitar is that companion. In “Love Is On Your Side” he sings the inspiring they can never break your pride.
In track four, “Next To Me” Brandt utilizes the drum cymbals to create an almost effervescent cloud, a commanding plume of drama for a passed-on loved one. I reach for you, oh, I reach for you, he nearly hymns. “Never Too Old” also has unique percussion, and bits of honky-tonk like guitar. Can you read between the lines, Brandt sings.
“Little Abigail” is a cute track about his, presumedly, young daughter. So much love, so much love, Brandt proudly sings. Underneath is a layer of simple guitar and his quick fingers delivering the melodic tones. It’s a nice little ditty.
Disrupting his folksy, singer/songwriter pattern is the Bruce Springsteen-esque “Philadelphia”. The song is amped up and encapsulates the soul of the City of Brotherly love’s pride. Philly fans are nasty, they’ll tell how they feel, they’ll eat you up and spit you out like it’s the (or their) final meal…I’m going back to Philadelphia. I chuckled a bit. I surmise this song came about after a few hard tour appearances. The music bed is rocking’, upbeat and anthemic. Gotta hand it to Brandt, he’s ready to go back to Philly.
“Never Turn Away” can’t escape the listener. There is a distance place far within my mind, child memories, this place will never die, as Brandt’s life-lived vocals reminisce. His guitar gently follows him like a lost puppy. As a listener, I once again felt enamored by this wordsmith’s talents.
Tim Brandt calls just outside New York City home. He recorded his debut album while living in Seattle. Brandt’s incredible songwriting skills will appeal to Americana fans, certainly Springsteen devotees, The Band, Bob Dylan, John Dee Holeman, John Prine and many more. Long Walk Home is a delightful album from a true American storyteller and poet.
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