Brandon Rickman: Young Man, Old Soul

BrandonRickman_YoungManOldSoulLonesome River Band lead vocalist’s superb solo debut

Brandon Rickman joined a reconstituted Lonesome River Band as guitarist and lead singer in time for their 2002 album Window of Time, and like many of the band’s members, he’s stepped out for a solo album. Rickman departs from the band’s multipart harmonies and full instrumental arrangements, singing solo or with a single harmony, and stripping many of the tracks down to guitar with fiddle or mandolin. He paces the songs more leisurely than the hot-picking tempos of festival-bound bluegrass, and shorn of the typically bluegrass instrumental interplay of guitar, mandolin, banjo, fiddle and bass, the arrangements have a looser country-folk feeling.

Rickman’s co-written several songs of pining lovers and broken hearts, but he connects most deeply with lyrics of approaching mid-life, including the wizened “What I Know Now” and the blink-of-an-eye youth in “So Long 20’s.” He memorializes vanishing small town geographies and digs into songs of faith, including The Stanley Brothers’ “Let Me Walk Lord” and a superb three-part harmony on “Rest for His Workers.” Rickman’s a compelling singer, and framing himself in stripped down arrangements not only differentiates these tracks from those of the Lonesome River Band, but truly highlights the qualities of his voice as an individual. Those who enjoy his singing and guitar playing with the band will love this disc; those who gravitate more to country than bluegrass should also check this out. [©2009 hyperbolium dot com]

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