Certain genres of music are as much a cultural thing as they are a type of sound. Hip-hop is deeply rooted in the cultural experience of black communities. Punk is as much about the people in the scene with you as it is any amorphous definition of the music. And country is the same way. Although radio country is as much a commercialized product as radio pop/rock, at it's core, the genre is about projecting and reflecting the rural communities and pastoral beauty and isolated triumphs and tribulations of America outside of its biggest cities. And with his new self-titled EP, Nashville based songwriter B R U N S
has released possibly the best country fried rock record of the year.
With the powerful, earnest vocals of the best Mumford & Sons tracks with the guitar driven Americana rock & roll of Delta Spirit, B R U N S' EP situations himself at the crossroad of the rich legacy of country, rock, and communal folk. The album's second and third tracks, "Young" and "Buzzards" have the intimacy of the most emotional country with the enormity of sound fit for Top 40 radio and heart-felt sing-alongs in massive sold-out arenas.
The record is triumphant example of what happens when you aren't afraid to infuse pop hooks with the vulnerability of classic country and the passionate intensity of Springsteen-era rock (as opposed to contemporary radio country which fuses pop hooks with...nothing else. Uncomfortable jingoism and misogyny, perhaps). Even the most under-stated track on the EP, "On My Own," feels like B R U N S is laying his spirit bare. "Hold my hand and take me home cause I'm no good on my own." We've all felt that sense of desperate yearning to be loved and that we can't solve our own s*** by ourselves.
If you have any love for Springsteen, Mumford & Sons, or the rich legacy of classic American country music, BRUNS
is the EP you'll be wanting to spin for weeks to come.