CD Baby (label)
27 November 2019 (released)
27 November 2019
I must admit that I have found this a difficult album to review, not unpleasant or unsatisfactory but it feels like the album of a man who has had an epiphany and come through the turmoil with a whole new set of beliefs and morals.
It is in no way preachy or strident but it is deep and it all feels odd coming after his breakthrough album – ‘American Burden’ - of only a couple of years back.
He is a songwriter, a storyteller and wordsmith of very high standard and this album is a stripped back series of personal statements that bring the listener in to his worldview and vision.
All this sounds as though he is the new Dylan or maybe the new Springsteen but he is actually the new Brad Heller.
The music takes a back seat to Heller’s vocals, allowing his lyrics full rein. He has a soft vocal style with a strong North Carolina twang to his voice. Musically, this sits in the crux of Country/Americana/rock with some fine playing by his backing band The Fustics
The album kicks off with ‘Eternal Season’ dripping with Heller’s disillusionment at the passivity and lack of awareness of the middle classes. The feeling of broken dreams and promises continues through the album. He touches on loss and pain and the whole album feels, for me, like a man who has emerged from a cocoon of comfort into the realisation of a harsher world with real cares and woes.
I enjoyed listening to Heller, his music is excellent and he comes across with sincerity and belief, about as far away from most other artists in the Country and Americana worlds as I could have expected given his history.
Very well worth checking out.