Thursday, September 22, 2016

Isaiah B. Brunt – A Moment in Time | Album Review

Isaiah B. Brunt – A Moment in Time

Self Release

9 tracks / 39:39

Isaiah B. Brunt has an impressive amount of musical experience as a studio owner and sideman in Australia. He has worked with the Goo Goo Dolls, the Julio Iglesias Orchestra, and Randy Jackson, plus he toured with Keanu Reeve’s Dogstar when they opened up for Bon Jovi on their Australian tour. But at heart he is a bluesman, and an exceptional one too, as evidenced by last year’s killer release of Just the Way that it Goes and his trip to the International Blues Challenge.

Mr. Brunt has followed up this success with a new album, A Moment in Time, and it is his best work yet. This disc has nine tracks of originals that were written by Isaiah, and he served as the executive producer for this project in addition to taking care of the vocals and guitars. He was joined in the New Orleans studio by a core band of George Porter Jr. on bass, Doug Belote on drums, Mike Lemmler on keys, and a horn section of Jeffery T. Watkins and Ian E. Smith.

I do not hear much of an Australian accent to Brunt’s singing, but he has a wonderfully smooth and rich timbre to his voice, and the effect is quite unique. This is heard right from the start with “Still Waiting,” as Isaiah runs through a conventional 12-bars blues vocal construction. As with the rest of the album, there is a live feel to this mid-tempo tune, with Lemmler providing roadhouse piano and B3 over a fat bass line from Porter. A rowdy guitar solo from Brunt gives a touch of variety, as do a pair of trumpet and guitar solos. This segues into a piano-fueled rhythm and blues tune, “Singing the Blues,” which has lovely backing vocals from Sarah E. Burke.

Brunt can also dig deeper and belt out gritty vocals, and this is a cool contrast to his smoother work. One example of this is “May I Dance with You,” a nice bit of horn and organ driven funk. The backline is a more complex on this song, with Belote working the drum kit and Porter popping out the bass rhythms. This tune features a righteous solo break with interplay between Brunt’s guitar and Watkins’ sax, as well as a sweet horn outro. Isaiah also gets down on “Party Late All Night,” a more conventional 12-bar blues song. These are two of the standout tracks on the disc, and are both great party tunes.

There is also one track that is completely different than everything else on the album, as “Travel Back in Time” takes the listener all the way to New Orleans. This slowly grinder is held together by guest artists Tuba Steve on the sousaphone and James Evans on the clarinet, with snare from Belote keeping time. The horns join in halfway through to accompany a wicked solo from Evans, and the overall effect of this song will make you want to head off to Bourbon Street to forget your sorrows. Or maybe earn some new ones!

After about 40 minutes, the set closes out with “A Moment in Time,” an interesting blend of a mellow country bass beat, reverb-soaked guitar chords, and some jazzy flugelhorn from Smith. Brunt does well with the honest lyrics of remembrance and love, once again with Sarah filling in the backing vocals. After adding in David Stocker and his mellotron samples the overall effect is very pretty, and this ends up being a low-key way to bring things to an end.

Isaiah B. Brunt and his friends did an awesome job with A Moment in Time, and it is a solid follow-up to Just the Way that it Goes. Be sure to check out his website to keep up on his schedule – he only has gig dates scheduled in Australia at this time, but maybe the allure of the States (or another invite to the IBC) will draw him to our shores so we can enjoy his music in person!

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