Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The CD of the Month- March 2011

Each month, this blog will feature a new CD of quality music. The player and playlist are on the sidebar for easy listening. You find information on purchasing here. MagnaTune, which sponsors the playlist, is certainly worth a check and provides an alternative to the music corporation model for music promotion and delivery.

Brad Senne  - Aerial Views

Trying to describe why you like one album over another, or one performer is like attempting to draw your favorite food. Using one art to illuminate another is usually bound to fail. Sometimes, when something is really good, words just make a mess of things. When I read reviews, I usually scratch my head because either it is filled with inside "expert" references or silly inflated words that mean very little. So, having given fair warning, let me tell you why I liked this album.

Senne belongs in the "sensitive" guitarist class which can, if it lacks a high degree of talent, easily slide into Kitsch. It becomes pretty much of a mass-produced product or something you find yourself talking over in a crowded bar. I was prepared for that possibility and I was happily disappointed.  Senne takes what could be a tiresome genre and elevates it beyond expectations. (Mine anyway.)

When I listened to this CD, I was reminded of the best folk and solo music from the 1970s, when there was much less studio manipulation and a lot less hype. In fact, Senne plays most of the instruments himself and his soothing voice is one of the best I've heard in awhile. I would say that many of the songs sound a bit similar – which isn't necessarily bad when you have a musician of this caliber- but some listeners might enjoy the tracks more when mixed with other performers on a playlist. (Isn't that nearly always true?)

if I had to pick my favorite track, I guess it would be "Road Trips."  It had a haunting sadness to it that stuck with me. Second favorite would be "Golden" and I can imagine how nice it would be listen to it on a rainy morning in March.

Growing up on the outskirts of a small farming community in Southern Minnesota Brad Senne spent the majority of his youth immersed in hardcore and punk rock. He went on to play in a multitude of bands eventually gaining notoriety for his hardcore band Picturesque in the late 1990's after signing with Trustkill Records. He decided to branch out and with more freedom as a songwriter he started playing his own brand of solo acoustic folk rock. His expanding vocabulary drew upon the musical influences of his heroes Bob Dylan, Elliott Smith, Iron and Wine, Wilco, and Muddy Waters. Senne's blend of hypnotic, breathy indie pop showcases his stripped-down compositions.

The album, Aerial Views.  received raved reviews and was voted a top 10 album of the year by The Onion - A.V. Club in the Twin Cities. Senne plays almost all instruments on this album including guitar, bass, piano and keyboards, resulting in 11 songs that range from simple finger-picking guitar ballads to lush instrumental arrangements. http://goo.gl/AQqeq

What do you think?

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