'Whatever You Wanted' named as one of the best country/Americana albums of 2015 by the Telegraph UK!
Here's a look at some recent reviews of Whatever You Wanted:
Kevin Bourke, R2 (Rock n'Reel) magazine, Jan/Feb 2016:
"Much as any non-guitarist with flair will eventually find themselves tagged 'the Hendrix of the nose-flute' (or whatever), it's pretty much the law that any above-average song craftsman will find a publicist contriving to get their name in the same sentence as Guy Clark and/or Townes Van Zandt, more occasionally Randy Newman as that's a bit more high-risk. Mostly, of course, this is utter cat-tray residue, but there are exceptions to any rule and one just might be the splendid Bob Bradshaw.
Raised in Ireland and educated in bar-rooms, clubs and honky-tonks across the United States (credit where it's due, some PR phrases are worth stealing), his sixth album is an earnest and inspiring exploration of the musics of his adopted country. Roots rock, Western swing, country-soul, acoustic ballads and, yes, all right, a very Newman-esque closer in the elegant and plaintive, piano-led shape of 'The Long Ride Home'.
Proceedings get off to an exceptionally strong beginning with 'The Start Of Nothin', a song so well crafted and hauntingly delivered that I'm not even tempted tto make the obvious joke. Nor does the quality slip much after that, on an album chock-full of what Guy Clark himself would doubtless call keepers."
Fred Schmale, Real Roots Cafe, 12/17:
"Primo CD, great songs, great voice and perfect accompaniment!"
Martin Raybould, Whisperin' And Hollerin' - 12/15:
"The Americana tag more often than not denotes good driving tunes designed for the trucker and troubadour that dwell somewhere within us all. Bob Bradshaw's sixth album is a prime example of the genre at its best. Bradshaw grew up in Ireland but was educated in bars, clubs and honky tonks across the United States and at Boston's Berklee College of Music.
His roving spirit is plain to hear and means that he's equally happy cruising to the bluesy Losing You or ambling along on the noirish Crazy Heart. On the journey he follows his hopes and dreams through twelve country-tinged tunes classily fleshed out with tasteful brass sections and well-judged string arrangements.
Along the way the mood ranges from the jaunty title track to the melancholy of Sad Songs and includes a reviving detour into the Western swing of Go Get Along where he duets with Annalise Emerick. All in all it serves well as a soundtrack to an imaginary road movie about finding your true self that begins with a young boy running across open fields in The Start of Nothin’ and ends happily, if a little wistfully, with The Long Ride Home."
Martin Chilton, Telegraph UK - 12/18/15:
"Bob Bradshaw was raised in Ireland so there is a Celtic tinge to his sweet Americana singing on Whatever You Wanted. Crazy Heart is wonderfully atmospheric, with clever guitar work from Duke Levine. The album features songs co-written with bass player Scoop McGuire. A mention also for the fiddle work of Duncan Wickel and keyboard player James Rohr, who excels on the fine closing track The Long Ride Home. A very solid country record."
From 'Red Line Roots' - 12/8/16:
There is something that doesn’t quite fit into modern times about Bob Bradshaw's music…but, perhaps that is what makes it most perfect for modern day roots music. Bradshaw’s voice has a smooth, refined richness to its tone. It feels so familiar, but at the same time I have difficult times drawing comparisons to it. His songs are pensive and well thought out stories that contain deep and introspective views into the writer’s past. Perhaps the fact that Bradshaw looks back, as well as forward, is the key to what makes him an accomplished and engaging talent. A timeless quality that just simply stands out.
“Whatever You Wanted” displays the songwriter stretching the boundaries of what you can put into a single record and have it considered one genre. The band that Bradshaw has chosen for this album is fantastic. There are hints of traditional folk songwriting, blues, rock n’ roll and country as the stories he spins are unfolded over a highway of sounds ranging from dirty blues guitar on ‘Losing You’ to the dark Americana vibes he pours out on “The Start of Nothin’”, dotted with carefully picked acoustic guitar parts and the drone of the expertly places notes of the electric ringing underneath the commentary.
I was a young boy running / my shoes a blur
I had something to tell you / Didn’t know where you were
In ‘The Start of Nothin’ he manages to paint a portrait of a past relationship with simple phrasings that accumulate to tell a full story of a character running from something, inexplicably, but continuing on anyway. Each note of the picked acoustic is engaging, a flurry of notes that fit perfectly. Guitarist Duke Levine’s work on the track is like the glue that pulls everything together, long ringing notes and a solo that isn’t overly extravagant but fits the song absolutely brilliantly. Again, Bradshaw’s warm and mellow voice is the star of the show and one that I will never tire of listening to over and over again.
Personal favorite track from the record is the haunting and reverberating “Crazy Heart”. Like a basin filled with thoughts that plague the mind and heart of a man, but all the while reflecting on the things that make him who he is. Mistakes or triumphs. It has a very sepia tinged, empty barroom feel. It could have been the opening credits for the True Detective season 1 credits…just really something else. It takes me to a place and washes over me with the whole aesthetic of the tune. That is something special, an experience to listen to.
Bradshaw may just have one of the finest voices in modern day Americana music. It seems effortless but is always strong and seamless. His latest record further cements this songwriter as a talent within the Boston community and beyond and puts his keen ear for a great, catchy hook and clean, pleasing arrangements on full display.
And from other recent reviews:
Michael Hingston writes in Country Music People's Americana Roundup that Whatever You Wanted has “carefully crafted songs” on a “superb album” and makes mention of Bradshaw's “soulful voice” and the “detailed and diverse arrangements of the songs.”
Allan McKay of Musicriot UK says: “Bradshaw's voice is the real selling-point for the album: it’s warm and soulful and the close-miking creates a very intimate feel that shifts seamlessly from the silky, Chris Isaak-like Crazy Heart to the Bob Seger feel of the album’s perfect closing track, The Long Ride Home.”
Vickye Fisher in a review in For The Country Record also writes of the “soulful” qualities of the album's “great songs.” She characterizes Crazy Heart as “country noir”, A Fool Who Cries as “punchy roots rock.” Losing You, she says, has “southern rock strut”, Dream is a “lovely lullaby”, and Sparrow is “intriguingly experimental folk.”
Iain Patience, who reviewed the album in Fatea Records UK, writes of Bradshaw's “keen ear” for the “traditions of country music.” He says Bradshaw's lyrics ring “true and straight”, mentions “strong” vocals, and writes: “The songs themselves have a positively late sixties/early seventies side to them while remaining rooted in modern country/Americana with Bradshaw's lyricism at times hypnotically catchy. This is a guy who can sure write and play in the modern Americana tradition with complete ease, bags of quality and evocative confidence.”
Dave Simpson in Puremzine says that the album is “full of feeling and fervour.”
And Danny McCloskey writes in The Alternate Root: “Whatever You Wanted shows the benefits of reading, writing, and rambling as Bob Bradshaw picks melodies that offer dark Americana (The Start of Nothin'), meaty mountain music (Sparrow), Alt Country (Losing You), and Folk Rock on the title track. The album slides into Go Get Along duetting on a Country and Western break-up reel as Bob packs the van with memories of a job well done for The Long Ride Home.”
It's often hard to make coherent translations of European reviews but here's a few key comments:
Holland's AltCountry says Bradshaw is a “controlled singer-songwriter with soul in his thunder.” Germany's Hooked On Music calls Whatever You Wanted a 'rich, folky” album. Il Popolo Del Blues from Italy says Bradshaw's “style touches many strings between country, tex-mex, swing and soul.” AltCountry from Belgium calls Bradshaw a “songwriter of the better kind”, compares him to Ryan Adams, and singles out the “hypnotic” Crazy Heart. Belgium's Keys and Chords says that Bradshaw has a “very strong voice and is surrounded by magnificent musicians”, compares him to Chris Isaak and says that Bradshaw “travels with class across the contemporary musical landscape.” Rootstime from Belgium admires the “momentum” he has built up as an “interpreter of Americana”, compares him to Los Lobos, and singles out The Start Of Nothin' as a “sure-fire hit.”
SOME RECENT AIRPLAY:
1/23/16 - The Front Porch w/Baylen Leonard, Amazing Tunes Radio, UK: A Fool Who Cries.
1/19/16 - Kippenvel w/Ruud Heijjer, NL: The Start Of Nothin', Sad Songs.
1/14/16 - Morning Maine w/Brother Al, WERU: Whatever You Wanted.
1/10/16 - Sunday Night Folk Festival w/Susan Forbes Hansen, WHUS: Losing You.
1/10/16 - Folk Renaissance Radio Show w/Abby Parks: Sparrow.
1/6/16 - Not Just Nashville, South Dublin F: Whatever You Wanted.
1/2/16 - The Front Porch w/Baylen Leonard, Amazing Radio, UK: Before.
12/31/15 - Freight Train Boogie w/Bill Frater: Go Get Along.
12/29/15 - Kippenvel w/Ruud Heijjer, NL: Sad Songs.
12/27/15 - Folk Renaissance w/Abby Parks: Whatever You Wanted.
12/24/15 - Christmas Music Miscellany w/Sean Brophy, Dublin City FM: Whatever You Wanted.
12/14/15 - Blues And Friends w/Bertwin Bijleveld, Baarn FM, NL: A Fool Who Cries.
12/10/15 - For Folk's Sake w/Dessie Fisher, NI: The Start Of Nothin'.
12/8/15 - Another Country w/Ricky Ross, BBC Scotland: The Start Of Nothin'.
12/8/15 - Folk and Blues Show w/Richard Harris, UK: Losing You.
12/8/15 - Plastico Elastico w/Pacopepe Gil, Spain: Losing You.
12/7/15 - After Midnight w/Noel Casey, Dublin City FM: The Long Ride Home.
12/6/15 - Country Music Show w/Russell Hill: Go Get Along.
12/5/15 - Honky Tonk Radio Show w/Jeremy Rees: A Fool Who Cries.
11/28/15 - Out Of the Woods w/Jon Concord: The Start Of Nothin'.
11/26/15 - Leader's American Pie w/Richard Leader: Crazy Heart.
11/25/15 - Northern Sky w/Allan Wilkinson: Whatever You Wanted.
11/25/15 - Off The Beaten Track w/Colin Bertram: Whatever You Wanted, Losing You.
11/23/15 - Amazing Radio w/Kathryn Tickell: Whatever You Wanted, Go Get Along.
11/23/15 - Radio Loco, Netherlands: The Start Of Nothin', The Long Ride Home, Crazy Heart.
11/22/15 - Acoustic and Eclectic Show w/Richard Penguin: Whatever You Wanted.
11/22/15 - Front Porch w/Dan Plaster, KLCC: Before.
11/21/15 - KRC w/Don Chisholm, Scotland: Losing You.
11/16/15 - Gilded Palace Radio Radio Hour w/Scorcher Shane: The Start Of Nothin'.
11/16/15 - International Americana Radio Show w/Michael Park: The Start Of Nothin'.
11/15/15 - Folk Renaissance Radio Show w/Abby Parks: Whatever You Wanted.
11/15/15 - Detour w/Paul Hartman, WTMD: The Start Of Nothin'.
11/15/15 - Front Porch w/Dan Plaster, KLCC: Losing You.
11/15/15 - Eclectic Chair w/Trish Lewis: Crazy Heart, Sparrow.
11/14/15 - Local Folk w/Patrick Coman, WUMB: Crazy Heart.
11/12/15 - The Country Music Show w/Phil Lyons: Whatever You Wanted.
11/13/15 - Late Show w/Cherrie McIlwaine, BBC Radio Ulster: The Start Of Nothin'.
11/10/15 - Kippenvel w/Ruud Heijjer, NL: The Start Of Nothin'.
11/8/15 - Front Porch w/Dan Plaster, KLCC: Losing You.
11/6/15 - Blues Before Midnight w/Ian McKenzie: Before.
11/4/15 - Not Just Nashville, Dublin South FM: A Fool Who Cries.
11/3/15 - Plastico Elastico w/Pacopepe Gil, Spain: Whatever You Wanted.
11/2/15 - After Midnight w/Noel Casey, Dublin City FM: The Start Of Nothin'.
11/2/15 - Gilded Palace Radio Show w/Scorcher Shane, UK: High.
11/1/15 - Front Porch w/Dan Plaster, KLCC: Go Get Along.
11/1/15 - Blues Corner w/Tony Corner, UK: Whatever You Wanted.
10/31/15 - Local Folk w/Patrick Coman: Crazy Heart.
10/30/15 - Highway 61 w/Massimo Ferro, Radio Voce Spazio, Italy: Whatever You Wanted.
10/29/15 - The Country Music Show w/Phil Lyons: The Start Of Nothin'.
10/27/15 - Roots Paradise w/Paul Van Gelder, NL: Crazy Heart
10/27/15 - Gilded Palace Radio Show w/Scorcher Shane: Sparrow.
10/26/15 - Americana Music Show w/Calvin Powers: A Fool Who Cries.
10/25/15 - Acoustic Revival w/Jim Canales: Whatever You Wanted.
10/25/15 - Country File w/Roel Stabler, Havenstad FM, NL: Crazy Heart.
10/24/15 - Lost Highway w/Doug Gesler, WMBR: Go Get Along.
10/22/15 - Late Date w/ Alf McCarthy, RTE Radio 1: The Long Ride Home.
10/21/15 - Undercover w/Anita Luchies, Radio Capelle, NL: Losing You.
10/20/15 - Hillbilly Jukebox w/Rolf Hierath, Germany: Go Get Along
10/21/15 - Not Just Nashville, Dublin South FM: Crazy Heart.
10/19/15 - Peelgrass w/Rein Wortelboer, Venray, NL: Sad Songs.
10/19/15 - Plastico Elastico w/Pacopepe Gil, Spain: The Start Of Nothin'.
10/19/15 - Americana Radio Show w/Calvin Powers: Losing You.
10/19/15 – Kippenvel w/Ruud Heijjer, NL: The Start Of Nothin'.
10/18/15 - Zetland Country, Zetland FM, UK: A Fool Who Cries.
10/18/15 – Big Blues Bonanza w/Joe Singleton: Losing You, High.
10/18/15 - The Eclectic Chair w/Trish Lewis: Go Get Along, Losing You.
10/17/15 - Out Of The Woods w/Jon Colcord: Sparrow.
10/15/15 - Jacket's Americana Jukebox w/John Hawes: A Fool Who Cries.
10/15/15 - The Country Music Show w/Phil Lyons: A Fool Wo Cries.
10/15/15 - Rockin' The Country, Get Read To Rock! Radio, UK: Whatever You Wanted.
10/15/15 - Beale St, Radio Mol, Belgium: High
10/15/15 - Radio Verulam, The Country Hour w/Michael Hingston: Before.
10/14/15 - Americana Music Show w/Calvin Powers, WHUP: Sparrow.
10/13/15 - Kippenvel.net w/Ruud Keijjer, NL: Before.
10/12/15 - Leader's American Pie w/Richard Leader: Sparrow.
10/12/15 - The Blues Hour w/Wart Hoover, SevernFM, UK: Crazy Heart.
10/12/15 - Lost Music Saloon w/Garry Morse, WRIR: Whatever You Wanted.
10/12/15 - AmazingRadio w/Kathryn Tickell, UK: The Long Ride Home.
10/11/15 - Eclectic Chair w/Trish Lewis: The Start Of Nothin', Whatever You Wanted.
10/9/15 - Blues Before Midnight w/Ian McKenzie KCOR: Crazy Heart.
10/8/15 - Late Date w/Alf McCarthy, RTE Radio 1: Whatever You Wanted.
10/8/15 - Folkal Point w/Colin McDonald, Scotland: The Start Of Nothin'.
10/8/15 - BealeStreet, Radio Mol, Belgium: Go Get Along.
10/6/15 - Scattering The Roots w/Dan Ogus: The Start Of Nothin'.
10/5/15 - Peelgrass w/Rein Wortelboer, Venray, NL: Go Get Along
10/5/15 - Four Strong Winds w/John Rumsey, KVMR: The Start Of Nothin'.
10/4/15 - Mystery Train Radio Hour w/Alex Huskisson: The Start Of Nothin'.
10/3/15 - Lost Highway w/Doug Gesler, WMBR: Go Get Along.
10/3/15 - Out Of The Woods Radio w/ Jon Colcord: Whatever You Wanted.
10/2/15 - Honky Tonk Radio Hour w/Jeremy Rees: A Fool Who Cries.
10/1/15 - Rockin' the Country w/Stuart Hamilton, UK: The Long Ride Home.
10/1/15 - Folk Directions w/Gerry Goodfriend: Go Get Along.
10/1/15 - Grass, Roots & Jambalaya w/Frank Manigrasso: The Start Of Nothin'.
9/30/15 - Roots Paradise w/Paul Van Gelder, NL: Crazy Heart.
9/30/15 - Radio Isa w/Mike Penard, France: The Start Of Nothin', Crazy Heart, Losing You.
9/30/15 - Midnight Campfire w/Chris T: Crazy Heart.
9/30/15 - Undercover, Radio Capelle NL: A Fool Who Cries.
9/30/15 - Delta Rhythm w/Jan Willem Bos, Havenstad FM, NL: Sad Songs.
9/29/15 - Roots w/Norbert Knape, Radio Ems-Vechte-Welle, Germany: Crazy Heart.
9/29/15 - Roots N'Offshoots with Carol Courneen: Crazy Heart
9/29/15 - MeridianFM.com Leader's American Pie w/Richard Leader: Whatever You Wanted
9/29/15 - Kipenvvel.net, Ruud Keijjer, NL: A Fool Who Cries.
9/29/15 - For Folk's Sake w/Dessie Fisher, N.I.: The Start Of Nothin'.
9/28/15 - Peelgrass w/Rein Wortelboer, Venray, NL: Whatever You Wanted.
9/28/15 - Americana Music Show w/Calvin Powers: The Start of Nothin', Losing You, Sparrow, A Fool Who Cries, Go Get Along.
9/28/15 - Country Programma w/Rein Wortelboer, NL: Whatever You Wanted.
9/27/15 - Americana Radio w/Paul van Gelder, Harky, NL: Crazy Heart.
9/27/15- Folk Renaissance w/Abby Parks: Whatever You Wanted.
9/27/15 - Celtic Heartbeat w/Frank Hennessy, BBC Radio Wales: Go Get Along.
9/26/15 - Roots w/Norbert Knape, Ems-Vechte-Welle, Germany: Crazy Heart.
9/25/15 - Late Date w/Alf McCarthy, RTE Radio 1: The Start Of Nothin'.
9/24/15 - Folk Directions w/Gerry Goodfriend: The Start Of Nothin'.
9/23/15 - Almost Famous w/Brian Carroll, WADT: The Start Of Nothin'.
9/22/15 - Delta Rhythm w/Jan Willem Bos, Havenstad FM, NL: Crazy Heart.
9/21/15 - PeelGrass - Radio Venray, NL: The Start Of Nothin'.
9/21/15 - Country Programma w/Rein Wortelboer, NL: The Start Of Nothin'.
9/18/15 - Crossroads - ZuidWest FM, NL: The Start Of Nothin'.
9/17/15 - Folkal Point w/Colin McDonald - Bluesandrootsradio.com: The Start of Nothin'.
9/16/15 - the Troubadour Show - Bluesandrootsradio.com: The Long Ride Home.
9/15/15 - Late Show w/Cherrie McIlwaine - BBC Radio Ulster: The Long Ride Home.
9/15/15 - Kippenvvel.net, Ruud Keijjer, NL: The Start Of Nothin'.
9/13/15 - The Miller Tells Her Tale Americana Radio: A Fool Who Cries.
9/13/15 - Blues Show w/Gary Grainger, UK: Losing You.
9/13/15 - Country File, the Americana zone, NL: Crazy Heart.
9/12/15 - Amazing Radio: The Front Porch, UK: Losing You.
9/9/15 - Late Show w/Cherrie McIlwaine - BBC Radio Ulster: Dream, The Start of Nothin'.
Americana songwriter and singer Bob Bradshaw has spent twenty-five years exploring the music of his adopted country, and it's all on display in his new album 'Whatever You Wanted'- roots-rock, western swing, country soul, and acoustic ballads reminiscent of the great songwriters who inspire him: John Hiatt, Guy Clark and Townes Van Zandt.
Raised in Ireland and educated in bar-rooms, clubs and honky tonks across the United States – and at Boston's Berklee College of Music from which he graduated in 2009. This new album, Bob's sixth, contains his characteristically earnest, evocative, cinematic songs - songs about relationships and identity, songs about loss and hope, songs about songs.
Produced by Bradshaw and main co-writer and bassist Scoop McGuire, 'Whatever You Wanted' is full of Bradshaw's soulful singing accompanied by some of the best musicians around. Highlights include Duke Levine's spooky, spare guitar on the noirish 'Crazy Heart' and his bluesy playing on the hard-driving 'Losing You'; Duncan Wickel's cello and fiddle on the mischievous, rhythmically playful 'Sparrow'; Annalise Emerick's sassy singing on the western-swing duet 'Go Get Along'; Scott Aruda's trumpet and Joe Stewart's trombone on the wry 'A Fool Who Cries' and on 'Before' a stately lament for a lost friend, which also features Duncan Wickel's haunting strings; Chad Manning's atmospheric twin fiddles on 'Go Get Along'; Flynn's acoustic guitar on the jaunty 'Whatever You Wanted'; James Rohr's elegaic piano on the album's wistful final track 'The Long Ride Home'; and Francisco Matas' inventive drumming and percussion-playing throughout. Not to mention the stellar ensemble playing on the yearning 'The Start of Nothin', the sweet, poignant 'Dream', and the 70's pensive soul of 'Sad Songs'
Previous reviews have praised Bradshaw's music as “spare yet abundant…. sometimes suddenly, startlingly nimble” (Sean Walsh, BIR) and singled out its “quiet symphony of ghostly and evanescent airs” (Mark Tucker, FAME). His songwriting has “more than enough beauty and inventiveness to lift the coldest heart” (David Kleiner, Minor 7th.com) and has “spare, engaging melodies, catchy hooks and inspired lyrics… however he lays down their content – swift or slow, abrupt or extended, exultant or heart-rending (Tom Franks, Folkwords UK). And Taxi Music has called Bradshaw “a cross between Ray Davies, Randy Newman and Ryan Adams.”