Brad Butcher and Brielle Brown team for Butcher’s latest single “Lay Your Head” with spectacular results. The song hails from his new album release Storyteller: The Journey Continues, Butcher’s fifth album since first emerging in 2012 with his self-titled debut. The Central Queensland born singer/songwriter has corralled several awards since arriving on the scene and his new album, based on this track alone, promises to be among his finest efforts yet. Brown’s 2021 debut The Well immediately established her as one of the most talented indie songwriters in recent memory and aligning herself with Butcher is a natural fit for “Lay Your Head”.
Butcher’s presence dominates the early portion of this song. He has an excellent voice to shape around lyrical piano lines and obviously gears his vocal to serve the song. It is never less than accessible, but there is a clear melodic and stylistic sophistication separating Butcher’s songwriting and the overall musicianship from garden variety pop or singer/songwriter balladry. He touches on human experiences and emotions we can all relate to without ever dragging listeners through tiresome bathos.
Brown’s presence gives “Lay Your Head” additional layers of passion and, as all great duets do, creates a theatrical dialogue of sorts between its principles. It never sounds stagy, however. “Lay Your Head”, despite the presence of two singers, organically emerges from somewhere deep within and sounds convincing rather than rehearsed. I hope Butcher and Brown can perform the song live together. It seems like it would translate well to the stage with only minimal adjustments.
Piano leads the musical arrangement. There are other instruments coming in along the way, but the foundation comes from the trio of Brown, Butcher, and the piano. The music reaches great heights as the song progresses but, despite its grandeur, there’s a pleasing airiness to the performance. Nothing sounds cluttered or overwrought. The pacing, as well, is perfect and certain to leave more than a few listeners spellbound in its wake.
Butcher isn’t shooting over anyone’s head with this track. It is a dark night of the soul, in some ways, but the introspective quality of the words points towards the victory of survival if nothing else. It’s a life-affirming piece. In the hands of lesser talent, “Lay Your Head” may have been a collection of cliches, but Butcher is working on another level. I especially like the alliteration present in the words. The extra poetic quality it brings is never pretentious and even adds to the song’s musicality.
Let’s hope this pair work together again sometime soon. “Lay Your Head” weaves a bit of magic early in our year and we need it more than ever. Brad Butcher’s latest album Storyteller: The Journey Continues has the potential to be a game-changer for the songwriter; he’s not a newcomer and is clearly approaching the peak of his powers. He’s made an excellent decision performing this song with a gifted partner such as Brielle Brown and it should end this year as still one of 2022’s best singles.
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