Like a tom’s fan wooing an unsuspecting turkey hen, Gary Brown’s angry-white-boy, folk-punk roots are on full display on Wordsmith. Sweet G.A. Brown’s last effort to complete his six-pack of musical meanderings is a visceral ride through his haphazard brand of country music. It's pure foot-stomping fun from jumpstreet. Brown’s lyrics muster a cracked smile, but don’t be fooled by his razor-sharp sense of humor; there’s heady genius tucked into all that pomp and jangle. The beauty of Brown’s music is that it’s as country as a Waylon album but he puts to record what he feels, be it the four letter words and comedic genius of “Wordsmith,” or the self-prophesized rabble-rousing of album opener, “I Broke Wahoo’s Leg.” This is Sweet G.A. Brown doing Sweet G.A. Brown -- no more, no less.
Featuring the dirty blues picking of Husky Burnette on guitar and dobro, and Dave “Burma Shave” Dowd on the drum throne, Wordsmith is no slouch in the arrangement department either. There’s a helping of traditional favorites the likes of “Will the Circle Be Unbroken,” albeit with Brown’s gnarled delivery, a delectable version of John Prine’s “Bruised Oranges,” and a creative take on Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy,” backed by the Pine Box Boys. The result of the latter is a well-picked good-timer, highlighting the darkness of the new power generation. Who knew you could pick at that song and make it a shit-kicker.
Calling on personal demons and patrons alike, Wordsmith is as entertaining a country record as I’ve heard in quite some time. The disc channels equal parts Prine, Jerry Jeff Walker, and Scott H. Biram. If that doesn’t prime your pump as a music fan I’m afeared you may have found yourself reading at the wrong well. Give me some true-to-life songwriting, a couple pieces of wood with strings on it, a backbeat, and some simple harp at the chorus, and we've got ourselves a record worth singing about. Keep it simple, stupid. Get yourself a six-pack and happen on to the six-pack of records offered up by Sweet G.A Brown -- five full-lengths and an EP, to be exact. Dig deeper. You deserve it.
(+Words: Scott Zuppardo+)
(As featured at No Depression 4/22/15)