‘Bonfire Confession’ is the first solo album by Canadian artist Brother Neil.The collection of 13 songs move through a variety of styling’s and pacing that keeps each track sounding distinct, while still maintaining an overall sound that identifies the artist.
Which is something that most artists strive for in their albums – give each song it’s own voice while trying to avoid making the songs sound so different from one and other that it sounds as though each one was written and recorded by different artists; a balance that Brother Neil has achieved in his cd Bonfire Confessions.
Each track has it’s own rhythm and groove, drawing rom a wide range of topics taken straight from the pages of Neil’s dairy and his life as it happens around him.
The entire album is acoustic, and while that may be a popular trend right now, for Neil the all-acoustic sound felt like the right approach with his music for the natural blend he feels acoustic instruments have.
“There’s a special energy involved with sharing your own ideas and feelings through song that really can’t be as authentic sounding if you didn’t write and experience the things that went into the tune originally”
Music fans agree with Neil’s approach, and to date his album has received a great deal more attention (and praise) than he originally expected when he first started recording Bonfire Confessions.
“When I began writing I had no idea some of my journal entries would evolve into songs but once I had a couple songs complete I knew I wanted to do an album.” He said “ Not for any other reason that to have something my kids could share with their kids a piece of what I was all about… I was going to send it to be pressed on vinyl (1 copy) and that was going to be that but somewhere along the way people became more interested than I had imagined.”
Radio interviews, both newspaper and web articles as well as constant bookings have shown the extent to which people are enjoying Neil’s music; something that still surprises him.
His live shows are well paced and relaxed. Neil jokes and easily interacts with the audience, without spending too much time between songs. And if you listen to his studio work before going to see him live you won’t be disappointed, all the energy and quality of each song is equal both live and on his disc. Although he does admit that he will vary the song slightly depending on who he’s performing with.
Neil said that he enjoyed the recording process and plans to return to the studio soon with an eye on a new release in 2016, and hopes to work more bluegrass influences into his music Now everything aside, how does the music sound? Since this is TMRZoo.com I’ll give it to you straight up, without all the fluffy words people seem to enjoy padding album reviews with.
Truthfully? His music is very good.
The entire disc is a solid work from the first to the last song that flows evenly from one song to the next, with enough variations to keep it from sounding dull but not so many that the music sounds disjointed.
This is one disc that most people won’t find themselves skipping songs on.
Throw it in, press play and just let it roll. Personally I enjoyed both the disc and his live show equally, and look forward to his next release.
John Goodale is the author of ‘Johnny Gora’ (available through Amazon.com), and a number of articles here on TMRZoo.com. His monthly column ‘Indy Comics Spotlight’ appears here and through his blog Indy Comics Spotlight