Bob Bradshaw is a songwriter who has been around the block…and that block just so happens to be about the size of this green earth we inhabit. A man who has been around and seen some things, but lucky for us, now makes his home in Boston. “Home” also happens to be the title of his new record.
Bradshaw’s voice is the first thing that really strikes me. It just floats above the rest of the music. It’s clear, crisp and strong. As far as comparisons, I am hearing similarities to the Nashville songwriter/composer I have had the pleasure of seeing a few times named Keegan Dewitt, singer Luke Reynolds of the now defunct “Blue Merle” and a bit of Randy Newman (if Newman was a bit slicker). Something in the annunciation of the phrases, I suppose. It never ceases to amaze me how someone from Ireland or Britain can sing and the accent isn’t quite noticeable. Though there is certainly something 'Emerald Isle' about Bradshaw’s sound. The remaining sound quality of the music has a bit of a country feel with the twanginess of the guitar throughout (lent by Boston guitar great Duke Levine), and weeping slide and accordion parts, but this is by no means “country music”.
Listening further I am happy to hear a familiar voice, that of Annie Lynch (recently reviewed), on a few of the tracks. Their voices meld unassumingly and so naturally that I almost feel it’s not fair to the rest of us that these two met up. Beautiful vocal work here. This is displayed in two of the stand out tracks on the record “High Water Rising” and the title track itself. “High Water” is a country ballad with a merry feel and a nice groove to it. The guitar lines are tight, Bradshaw’s vocal is flawless, and the harmonies ring solid and warm. “Home” starts out slow and easy, the singer’s voice throaty and gruff with sweeping “oooo’s” and steel parts sailing ghostly in the background. The drum beats out a steady march as the singer tells the story of traveling the road and just wanting to get back to familiarity and comfort. Something we can all relate to, I am sure.
The music is generally a rather pleasant listen. The complete album is pretty stable in it’s sonic dynamics, but the songs are different enough to keep my attention for the duration of the listen. It has a very relaxed feel, which I am into and certain nuances in the music make me perk up every now and again. In a city of Americana songwriters, there is something about Bob Bradshaw that stands out, and for that I am thankful.