Solo acoustic guy..
It’s no secret on these pages that I’m a huge fan of Gaz Brookfield – his latest recorded offering Solo Acoustic Guy landed on my doormat on the day he played Rock City along with Mad Dog Mcrea and Ferocious Dog providing me with the perfect soundtrack for heading on into Nottingham. It’s a product of an agile musician – announcing the idea, canvassing Facebook fans to choose tracks, recording, producing and sending within a few weeks.
This CD straddles the divide between a studio and live recording – recorded in a studio, but in a one-take live style. The promise of mistakes, bum notes or forgotten lyrics being included – a warts and all exposé of an artist clearly not feeling too vulnerable with being able to deliver the goods. Bearing in mind that by the time this was being laid down he was probably already starting to suffer from the lurgy that rendered a couple of FD’s dates sadly Gazless.
For a mere tenner (or more, if you feel generous) you’re treated to nineteen tracks chosen by frequency of comments on his Facebook page, with enthusiastic levels of suggestions from his back catalogue. Ella and I made it our mission to get Glass Half Empty on there – even though I reckon we are the only ones who put that one forward we were delighted to see it there nestling on track fifteen amongst the other selections people made.
Having had a few listens through now I didn’t notice any lyrical or musical slips (the latter I’m likely to miss though – it makes me chuckle after gigs with FD if I’m with them listening to them post-morteming songs and slip-ups that I was completely oblivious to from the crowd nine times out of ten!). Title track Solo Acoustic Guy works brilliantly as an introduction to what’s on offer – this is, after all, a solo acoustic album. There’s not even a touch of reverb!
Firm favourites Land Pirate’s Life and Diabetes Blues start to echo recent set lists – with the same kind of stripped back energy you get from his live solo performances – just missing the singing along and applause from the crowd. We do get some harmonica action too for Under The Table. I did think I’d spotted a guitar-slip at the start of Godless Man but I think my computer created that when ripping the CD as some other songs do the same at the start! Oops!
I won’t cover off song by song this will become a tedious read – I will single out Black Dog Day though which I’ve heard him perform live loads of times, but this is a beautifully slowed down acoustic version with delicate finger picking rather than energetic strumming. A great re-imagining of a poignant song – I was half expecting it to kick into the familiar pace at some point, but he retains the more delicate musical accompaniments and vocals.
Glass Half Empty is another highlight partly because it’s a sentimental song but again, there’s a subtly in the delivery – taking a step towards spoken word (but still tuneful) compared to the recorded version on Tell it to the Beer and other live renditions I’ve heard – maybe by design or a product of the onset of a bad throat, either way, it works for me and since only Ella and I voted for it I think then that’s all that matters! Ha!
With Christmas looming this would make a great present for any music lover – be they a fan of Gaz or someone who’d welcome an introduction to a new artist of whom they are sure to become a fan of. Given his recent car and van woes I’m sure a few orders would be welcome to keep him on the road and delighting crowds of people around the country. I’m off to download the accompanying digital tracks to replace my badly ripped ones on my phone I think!