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The Day Is Brave (2008)

Brendan James



With his warm, rich tenor and emotionally powerful songs, Brendan James announces himself as an artist-to-watch on his dazzling debut album The Day is Brave. Rooted in the classic singer/songwriter tradition, with its introspective lyrics and unforgettable melodies, the album is 11 tracks of stunning songcraft: elegant, earthy, and displaying a total lack of artifice that is rare in the pop world these days. Influenced by the understated simplicity of the Carly Simon, James Taylor, and Carole King records he grew up with, James knew he wanted his debut to sound natural and unaffected. “The phrase ‘stripped-down’ is so overused, and ‘bare-bones’ doesn’t really describe it,” he says, “but I wanted the simplicity of the art to come through. I wanted it to have tasteful blend of folk and pop influences.” “It feels great to make this record on my own terms.” James says. “These songs have been pent up in my mind for years and to get them finished and out there for people to hear is extremely exciting. I’m looking forward to playing for anyone that will listen,” James says with a smile on his face.

Review of The Day Is Brave

Here is an album that did not really grab me on the first listen through. Okay, I was also kind of PO'ed that the review did not come with a track listing, which makes it awfully difficult to know what song is playing.  So you should know I was not looking forward to reviewing this. Well usually I tell you what I like about the album prior to dishing out what I dislike.  This time I am doing it in reverse.  Why change my tactic?  Because as I had mentioned, I did not like it, but after listening to the album another 3 times, it kept on getting better. So, what did I dislike about Brendan James' debut album The Day Is Brave?

My main complaint was that many of the songs sounded the same - or at least very similar styles and he maintains a constant vocal range.  Even to a critical ear, I must admit that the tone and temp of the songs do not change much.  A little more diversity would have been nice to hear, and even when he tries to mix it up, such as in what I would consider his Elton Johnish "The Other Side," it still does not go to any extremes.  My second complaint, which I still maintain even now is that he has a guitar voice - not a piano voice.  His songwriting is more attuned to a Billy Joel or Elton, but his voice would meld more nicely with the chords of an acoustic guitar.  I know he learned piano specifically for the purposes of singing and writing his songs, but Brendan, if you are reading this . . . try a guitar.

Okay, now that I have got that off of my chest, the album became increasingly better with each listen through.  In my second time listening to this, or any album, I then put on my critical ears and really take a listen to the music and the lyrics.  The instrumentals are above average, and the production is good, but the guy's voice and lyrics are the highlight of this album.  There is something very "nice" and reassuring about his voice.  It has that special quality you hear in some of the big name stars, although I do wish he would try to hit that high note - or even the low note, especially when the song or background instruments call for it.

I like his voice, but better yet is the lyrics.  I mean they are really, really good.  He weaves stories into each of his songs, with much depth and meaning.  They are beautiful words with strong sentiments of emotional variety.  If you listen to this album, just stop and listen to the words especially in songs like "Manchester," "Hero's Song" and "Run Away" -- but all of the songs contain a poetic beauty.

Brendan James sings and plays music.  Real music.


Review of The Ballroom Break-In (EP)

Brendan James' debut EP gives us a taste of what is to come for this young talented artist.  James provides us with a fresh sound that in many ways is retrospective of some great folksy music of the 1970s. Influences such as Carole King and "Sweet Baby" James Taylor are hard to miss in his music and lyrical style. I also hear a lot of Elton John in some of his songs.


The writing is very good and the lyrics are what give the music that extra something special that many of today's songs are missing.  Already his songs are making an influence in the music scene and his song "The Day Is Brave" has made it up to #13 on iTunes Alternative/Pop chart.

If this is just the EP, I really cannot wait for the full album to be released.



The Day Is Brave

The Ballroom Break-In (EP)

1. Green

2. All I Can See

3. Hero's Song

4. Early April Morning

5. The Other Side

6. Run Away

7. Begin

8. The Sun Will Rise

9. Manchester

10. Let Your Beat Go On

11. Take The Fall

1. All You Can See

2. Hero's Song

3. The Other Side

4. Let Your Beat Go on


Related Links

MySpace.com page

Media Player


Pictures of Brendan James


Click Above to Purchase The Day Is Brave

This review was written by Ian Ripley. Copyright 2008, All Rights Reserved.

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