Singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Nelson Bragg is -- apart from being the long-time percussionist in Brian Wilson's touring band and currently providing the same service on the surprisingly wonderful Beach Boys reunion tour -- one of the first people I reviewed here after NYMary gave me the metaphorical keys to the car back in 2007.
Bragg's first album -- Day Into Night -- absolutely knocked me out at the time...
The basic musical template of the record is airy-sounding massed acoustic guitars overlaid with jangly twelve-string, choirboy harmonies, and the occasional strings, horns, recorders, discreet keyboards, and pedal steel; if you're thinking early America or George Harrison's All Things Must Pass, you wouldn't be off the mark. (The album's only cover is a lovely version of "Dark Sweet Lady," from Harrison's eponymous 1979 solo album, which on the basis of Bragg's take I'd say must be better than I remember). There are also little nods (perhaps unconscious, perhaps not) to Paul McCartney, the Zombies, the Millenium, and Todd Rundgren, but the album has its own personality in spades.
...and my opinion of it hasn't changed since then. What HAS changed, however, is that Nelson has now been kind enough to allow me to post a song from it. So please enjoy the absolutely gloriously melodic opening track "Forever Days."
I bring all this up because Nelson's got a new album out and, in many ways, it's even better than Day Into Night. In the sense that the songs are equally fab, but the overall approach is slightly harder rocking and power pop guitar oriented -- think The Hollies circa "You Need Love" and some of Bill Lloyd's stuff.
Here's the opening, and quite kick-ass, "You Could Believe," to give you an idea of We Get What We Want's world-class smarts and melodic charm.
Bottom line: If Shoes' Ignition wasn't about to drop momentarily, this would be my early candidate for record of the year.
In any case, you can -- and definitely should -- order We Get What We Want either over at Amazon or directly from Nelson's website.
You're welcome very much, BTW.
Brian, Al Jardine and Nelson at the sound check for today's Beach Boys show. From Brian's Facebook page.
Warms the cockles of this old fan's heart.