Thursday, May 12, 2016

Surf's Up 2016

[And speaking as we were yesterday of the incomparable Nelson Bragg, here's a lightly edited version of a piece I originally posted about Nelson back in 2012. Given that the original Divshare links to Nelson's songs have long since vanished into the internet ether, I decided to repost it with new music links. Enjoy. -- S.S.]

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 [Hey, like I said, I wrote this in 2012 -- S.S.] -- 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 [This was in 2012, remember? -- S.S.] 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) track "You Could Believe," to give you an idea of We Get What We Want's world-class smarts and melodic charm.

In any case, you can -- and definitely should -- order both albums over at Amazon or directly from Nelson's website HERE.

You're welcome very much, BTW.


Anonymous said...

Nice. Very nice.

Mark said...

I was not familiar with Nelson Bragg until you put up these pieces, Steve. Both songs posted today are nice. And memorable. FOREVER DAYS is particularly pretty with that Roger McGuinn-like guitar-chime sound, and YOU COULD BELIEVE made me think Parthenon Huxley (whom I hold in the highest regard power pop-wise), but with a different vocal style, naturally.

For not knowing Bragg I can only blame myself, and in doing so, I really mean it -- as opposed to when celebrities offer up similar and more public apologies.

steve simels said...

I got lucky finding out about Nelson back in2007. A publicist actually sent me his CD -- why I was on the mailing list, I can't recall.

One of the perks of this phony baloney job I'll never deserve....