Brian Seymour has been around the world and back again. The source of his creativity, however, lies in the American experience and his first studio release in a decade, American Courage, illustrates that as truth. It likewise reveals the extraordinary depth of Seymour’s artistic gifts and speaks about the common humanity we share. He doesn’t content himself with a single musical slant and milking it for all its worth over the course of American Courage’s ten tracks but, instead, introduces a multitude of musical voices that helps give each composition a distinctive character. This willingness to take risks and overall creative power sets him apart from the pack and contributes to this release being one of 2023’s must-hear experiences.
“So Much Love” has the strongest groove of any track on the album. The compelling arrangement shows obvious R&B influences, particularly reflected by the presence of brass in the song’s composition, but the horns are never omnipresent. He’s done a first-class job of melding their presence into his already established strengths, such as acoustic guitar, and the pairing never sounds incongruous. The title song will capture your heart. Seymour has likely written the best song of his already illustrious career with “American Courage”, and it isn’t hard to hear the care and deliberative nuance he’s employed to bring the track to life. The piano playing is especially lyrical and bringing strings into the song’s arrangement further raises its profile. Seymour invests the fullness of his being into the performance without ever slipping into bathos or meaningless histrionics that drag the song into melodramatic territory. It’s deeply felt at every turn.
His predilection for top-notch pop fare takes flight with “Everyday Girl”. It gains power through a process of accumulation rather than showing all of its musical cards at once. The sparse arrangement blossoms as the song progresses and the second half features some of the strongest guitar playing on American Courage. He reaches another peak with the song “Slowing Down”.
This has Seymour confronting his own mortality, but never in a grim heavy-handed fashion. Instead, it uses intelligent flashes of humor, and an understanding point of view in its effort to parry and come to grips with the irreversible unfolding of the years. “Man of My Dreams” is the most stripped-down and direct moment on the release. The penultimate song builds, once again, around Seymour’s piano playing and the melodic architecture of the song swells and ebbs in the right places. It is certainly a contender for the album’s most emphatic vocal as well. Brian Seymour has long since carved out his own comfortable niche in the American musical firmament and his new album, despite being his first in a decade, solidifies his position as one of the country’s best songwriters, albeit under the radar.
Anyone who hears this album will remember it for some time to come. It has meaning and its staying power is beyond question or dispute. American Courage is the real deal and a perfect album for 2023.
Donate to IndiePulse Music Magazine’s Academic and Music Education Scholarship Program HeartBeat4Kids
IndiePulse Music Magazine creates Scholarships to help Youth In Need of assistance to complete their educational goals and stay in school.