Music Review: Brad Butcher | Jamestown

Brad Butcher’s previous career as a FIFO worker in the central Queensland mines, has no doubt helped fund both the creative content and production of his second album Jamestown. This honest album drifts from gritty Australian country blues to the dust of American country roots. Butcher has taken the leap and aligned with respected songwriter/producer and mentor, Grammy award winning Swerksy (Joe Cocker).  This association comes complete with Swerksy’s musical entourage – recorded in the vintage equipped Shorefire Recording Studios in New Jersey. Butcher’s songs evolve from an alt country drum/guitar/bass idea to Americana steel peddle/violin/cello/piano compositions. His website biography lists the musicians contributing on Jamestown including: Steve Holley (Paul McCartney & The Wings), Rich Hinman (Rosanne Cash, Sara Bareilles), Richard Causon (Ryan Adams), & Lorenza Ponce (Sheryl Crow, Bon Jovi) – with Swersky playing bass.

Listening to the album’s title track – the wailing fiddle and guitar layers accompanying a lonesome steel peddle guitar, sends you to a place like an authentic Austin Texas bar. OK I am smitten. Butcher’s voice in the songs Simple things and Stone cold share the same strong husky tones of the late Doc Neeson and Goanna’s Shane Howard. This and the staccato warning call of a plover signifying a key change, reminds us of his Australian country origins. Next Train highlightswhat there is to be universally liked about Butcher’s songs – he doesn’t fill the page with too many lyrical notes, comfortable by creating white spaces for them and letting the guitars and strings sing. In Coming home Butcher utilises dynamics to sing this romantic song; “because I’m coming home to you ….. and in the morning you won’t wake to feel the cold.”  This and the bluesy slide laden Two women, describes his two lives – the working life that feeds the creative life. Proclaiming that they are; “the devil’s kind of lady that my mother warned me about…”

Butcher played Currumbin Creek Tavern in March and is now touring southern states. Jamestown is out now on iTunes and available from his website bradbutcher.com.

Tiffany Mitchell

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