Music is in Dale T. Brann's soul and when it's in your soul, you have to play. He does. He plays every instrument and every track on Walking Back but one (he acquiesces to Dan Spomer's 1970 Fender Music Master Bass on My Dreams). If that doesn't tell you something about Dale T. Brann, you're not paying attention. That was a 1970 Fender Music Master Bass. Brann himself plays a plethora of instruments, each listed on the insert—like a 1922 Lyon and Healy Fiddle, a 1969 Fender Precision Bass and a 1969 Martin D-28, to name a few. Or Ed Hyde's 1944 Gibson L-7 Arch Top guitar. Or Aunt Mavis' 1930's fiddle. It is important to Brann, it is important to his music and when you hear him play, you'll know why. Brann is a real musician—a musician's musician. He more than likely sleeps with one of those guitars within arm's reach, just in case.
While it is true that he can play, he is hardly one-dimensional. All thirteen songs here are original, though most have their obvious influences. Holy Sounds, My Old Ways, Teach Me To Listen and Calling Me are bathed in old-time and country gospel, each inspirational in its own way. The instruments pile one on the other in the instrumental Checker Game and Possum Dance, compositions which give Brann ample opportunity to show what he can do (and he can do plenty). He nods to traditional country on Blue Jay, Mona Will Your Dog Bite and Little Red, all reminiscent of the days before Nashville. The intensely personal My Dream, Old Family Pictures and "Off In the Distance" take him into the modern country/folk realm and are songs that would kill noise in a crowded bar quickly enough. And for dog lovers, there is Louie, a song about a dog, the innate cruelty of man and the struggle to understand. Sung in a voice on the verge of bronchial failure, it questions man's humanity in personal and religious terms, ending each chorus with "Why would anyone want to shoot Louie..." That musical shaking of the head says more than some artist's entire repertoire.
Dale T. Brann may be dipped in country but the way he handles it takes him out of the genre. He doesn't sing or play to show perfection. This is personal. Personal enough for him to list each and every instrument played on the album. Personal enough for him to open up his musical soul and share it with us. With all of the impersonal music being passed around these days, this is a most welcome change. Most welcome.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
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