Greg Brown – Ol’ Blood N’ Guts
Within the first few seconds of Greg Brown’s latest release, the listener immediately blasted with a flavor of culture shock. Ol’ Blood N’ Guts kicks off with a guitar-hero styled solo, reminiscent of Eric Martin, Steve Vai, or Joe Satriani. But as “I’ll Wait Here (For Your Love)” progresses into blues-based, bar-rock, one gets the sense that Greg Brown is more in line with latter day Gary Hoey, early 1980s Eric Clapton than the aforementioned virtuosos.
Ol’ Blood N’ Guts is an album out of time in that it largely invokes comparisons to hard rock and prototypical heavy metal bands of the 1970s like Deep Purple, Kiss, and ZZ Top. Every song is fervent in its conviction toward no frills, whiskey-soaked, blue color, kickin’ back on the front porch rock. Obviously it will be easier for an older generation of people to appreciate Greg Brown over the younger mall-trotters. However, the album is actually a fun listen.
Lyrically Brown is like a modern-day John Mellencamp, telling the American story. Listening to his passion on “In This Life” can almost bring a listener to tears. Although he lacks a studied singing voice, his raw-throated rasp lends itself naturally to the genre he embraces.
The charm of Ol’ Blood N’ Guts is its unfettered honesty. There is no studio magic, and no flashy effects – it is simply a band and its instruments baring its soul to the world. It is Brown’s adamant defiance against modern music trends that gives magic to his music. One minute, you can almost hear him crying into a bottle of whiskey, and in the next, he’ll be bashing his boot heel into your teeth. It’s been quite a while since an album so REAL has been released.