AIRPLAY FOR 'WHATEVER YOU WANTED'
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.”
"Americana-cum-acoustic roots with more than a hint of late sixties singer/songwriter, 'Whatever You Wanted' comes from the pen and guitar of Irishman Bob Bradshaw, now a US resident with a keen ear for the traditions of both his homeland and his adopted, sprawling country of country music.
The 12-tracks clearly echo his thoughts and observations of life in the slow-lane with love, loss, hope and heartfelt lyrics ringing true and straight. Co-written with Bassist Scoop McGuire, the album is packed with Bradshaw's spare but strong vocals and some simply excellent electric, light slidework on frets by Duke Levine who easily slips from hard-driving lead fretwork to down-low bluesy moods while Bradshaw sensitively keeps the rhythm rolling nicely.
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.
On the closing track, 'The Long Ride Home', Bradshaw is overshadowed by the elegiac keyboards of James Rohr, with a track that bristles with echoes of Randy Newman at his best, while on another track, 'Sparrow', Cello and Fiddle from Duncan Wickel work perfectly alongside some understated horns and a recurrent riff reminiscent of the central theme from The Beatles' old number, 'Norwegian Wood'. 'Whatever You Wanted' is an interesting release, a bit of a slow-burner, but worth the effort and ultimately rewarding. Worth checking out."
Available October 12th on iTunes in a special Mastered For iTunes version!
Interview and songs with Doug Gesler on WMBR
Monday, October 26th, 2015 - Midway Cafe, Jamaica Plain @ 9pm with Andrew Stern, Derek Van Wormer and Mike Connors.