An Unwide Road

Ted Brown

Independent release, 2012

http://www.tedbrownsongs.com

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 02/17/2014

Though he hails from New Zealand and now resides in Los Angeles, Ted Brown's intimate and warm alt-country and indie folk sounds seem like it could emanate not far from Nashville. His backdrop story is, unfortunately, a familiar one. After moderate success in a full band, he slipped into a downward spiral toward a drug-plagued lifestyle that kept him from expanding on his musical career for many years. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

It only makes sense, then, that An Unwide Road unfolds with much introspection and reflection, often sounding like a therapeutic listen of self-discovery for Brown. Though he isn't as direct as to mention precisely what the subject matter is, if you know his story it's not difficult to fill in the pieces that he is mulling over his troubled past.

Musically, Brown treads soothing and rustic ground, with the country feeling of opener “An Unwide Road” to the folk inflected guitars of “Love Is,” to the smart balladry of “Blue And Grey.” On “Bringing My Past Back (But Not To Haunt Me)," Brown sounds more like Ryan Adams than Ryan Adams does, in both vocal delivery and musicianship, and it's with this level of singer/songwriter status that he easily parallels. Near the end, the sparse "Rogue Waves" and "Looking For Home Down Hallways" are acoustic-led, maudlin moments that show us even at his most stripped back, Brown can make an indelible mark.

Lyrically, he takes the high road with graceful wordplay like “Beginner's Skin” where he sets to reinvent himself, or “Two Out Of Three Ain't Bad,” where he's pleading with his lover to open their arms again. His words are carefully selected, thoughtful and revealing with just the right amount of self-disclosure so as to not make one feel a little uncomfortable.

If you've found yourself gravitating towards newer artists like the aforementioned Ryan Adams or Iron & Wine, or if legends like Paul Simon or Cat Stevens are in your rotation, well, it would be shame if you didn't at least try Ted Brown on for size.

Rating: B+

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