Junkie for Emotion
Wonderfully mastered, Brian's songs are finally available on CD and all digital streaming & download services!
LISTEN to ALL 14 original tunes right here (below some notes about the songs).
Click here to read an album review that declares Brain's tunes "catchy, unique, and beautifully rendered."
1. Junkie For Emotion (2:18)
This is my 12-string (not 12-step) folky, folk-rock, addiction song -- the Album's title song! Jeff Morrison plays mandolin and I squeeze out an Irish bouzouki solo. Lynn Harrison, who loved an early draft of the song, sings happy harmony. Noah Zacharin plays fingerstyle dobro, and Harpin Norm Lucien plays harp. Did I mention my happy addiction to guitars?
2. 13 Floors (4:34)
Did you ever notice a floor missing when you got on the elevator and pressed the button? Why doesn’t the elevator stop there? What happens on that missing floor? How do you even get there, and once you’re there, how do you leave? Maybe you really don`t want to get off of the elevator on the 13th floor…
3. Squeeze Me A Lime (4:30)
Wayne Neon channels Moe Koffman-esque flute on this cheeky, 4 a.m., smoky-jazz-club number. Bob Cohen swings in, channeling jazz guitar greats on lead electric guitar. Wayne and Bob hand-off licks to each other as they cross over my Gretsch Country Gent rhythms. Is Robbie Patterson playing an upright bass on this? You tell me. Brush drums? Oh yeah Graham Shaw, oh yeah. Is that a DC-3 plane idling on the runway, to take us from Casablanca back to Vichy France?
4. No One Can Tell (4:10)
My Mom & Dad died a few weeks apart many decades ago. The last time I saw my Dad, he whistled out the window as I was leaving and walking across the road (he was a master of those 1940’s wolf-whistles involving two or three fingers of two hands in your mouth). He whistled, and I turned around. He called to me from the window, “Don’t take any wooden nickels!” So far, I haven’t taken any wooden nickels, and I’m not about to start now!
5. As It Takes You Away (5:38)
I partly wrote this Ganges-delta-blues song on electric sitar, and I perform it on sitar here. Playing it on Robbie Patterson's ’66 Gibson J-45 brought the song closer to earth, so the J-45 is prominent. Ethereal angels soared in harmony like magic between Lynn Harrison’s backing vocals on this song. Wayne Neon’s eastern flute, Alex McMaster’s India-inspired cello and Phil Ciglen’s electric guitar swells took us all away in those sessions. Magic!
6. Dust Devils (3:56)
I lived up in north Peace River country for several years, way back when - Fort Vermilion, Sexsmith and Grande Prairie. It was a land of many adventures, and extremes. The winds’d swirl across farmers’ fields, picking up soil and twirling into “dust devils" -little mini-cyclones that would touch down, pick up dust, twirl around, occasionally dance around another dust devil, and then they’d separate and dissipate off into the air. Dust devils being not that much bigger than you and me, they kind of reminded me of how we are.
7. Eyes (4:09)
I spent a few eventful & slightly dangerous weeks in Memphis, Tennessee several decades ago when I had a job at a Procter & Gamble pulp mill in northern Alberta. As I was leaving from the Memphis airport to fly home to Edmonton & on to Grande Prairie, the newspaper box headlines had John Lennon being shot in New York City. I’d only seen John Lennon live once, up close in ’69 with the first gig of the Plastic Ono Band at Varsity Stadium in Toronto. It’s only while writing these words that I see his eyes again, coming alive on a range of rockabilly numbers, then nervous, trying out his new song "Cold Turkey" (as Yoko Ono held his handwritten lyric sheet), nervous but rocking it!
8. Heart On A Track (4:12)
This is a panoramic acoustic & electric 12-string folk-rock opus. It's reminiscent of the themes to John Ford’s Hollywood westerns and a "Paint Your Wagon" kind of world – only - it’s Canada and the frontier is the north. In my times, it was Fort Vermilion Alberta, on the north Peace River right before it flowed from the west into Lake Athabasca. Ed Roth’s piano pays homage to those John Ford western movie soundtracks – hinting at the Leonard Bernstein Orchestra. Don Rooke’s grinding chugging electric lap steel guitar punctuates and drives that "Jeremiah Johnson" kind of feeling.
9. Hey Dawn (5:03)
A depression country-blues – this started as a one-chord song from the Mississippi John Hurt side of the tracks, evolved into a 2-chord song and has now become almost (but not quite) a 3-chord song. Steve Payne was in town and the song cried for his acoustic take on Mississippi John opening the front door to the wicked storming electric night yet to come, howling and thundering along into a mournful morning day. Tannis Slimmon sang her heart out in her backing vocals, while Jeff Morrison supported with slide dobro and Harpin Norm echoed in on harmonica.
10. Sweet Smoke (5:25)
This was a folk song until I tried to play it after joining a latin jam session. Carmen Miranda must have been sleeping in the closet. I play Spanish-style guitar on the main rhythm tracks. Phil Ciglen whirls into this song with biting lead electric guitar fills and a stunning solo. Ed Roth is his best Mariachi accordion-self as he swings into Wayne Neon’s flute. Noah Zacharin brings fingerstyle Spanish guitar to the dance floor. We are all armed & slightly dangerous with Frida-Kahlo-meets-Diego-Rivera emotion. We all have thorny rose stems between our teeth.
11. Out Of You (2:29)
Ed Roth’s Parisian-Django-accordion introduces this jazzy Vichy-era-type-song, and my descending Larrivée dreadnaught acoustic guitar drives it down, down, down. I sing lead and backing vocals. Wayne Neon’s flute floats the song across the Seine and his saxophone delivers it into a smoky left-bank café. Is that Rick on the piano? No? What piano? Next DC-3 flight to Casablanca leaves at midnight.
12. Slave To The Fashion (4:40)
Some of the most insidious slavery known to mankind is the acceptance and rejection we offer ourselves and each other due to our plumage, be it skin or drapes. Cliques & clubs & tribes abound - obedience earns acceptance and being different nets a cruel shunning. "Us and Them" thinking and action/reaction will be the end of us all.
13. All Gone Wrong (2:34)
This comes from a Brit Pop era I’ve grown to adore – that era where Skiffle met the Mersey and Beatles evolved into musical poets. The basic riffs are me on my Morgan-OM acoustic guitar, tuned down a step. Ed Roth channels touches of McCartney on piano, while Bob Cohen pulls out chorusey homages to George Harrison. Meanwhile, Wayne Neon pulls Lawrence Welk-like clarinet touches out of his pocket as if George Martin had asked.
14. You’ve Got My Number (3:01)
My parents and grandparents were George Formby fans, and me too! The Kinks were great fans too. Cheeky ukulele joy was Formby’s signature. As I was recovering from a bad bout of bronchitis and sitting in an unfamiliar Moroccan/Celtic DADGAD tuning, this song emerged on the 11-string Arabian Oud – as if a counterpoint to the angry Slave To The Fashion. I perform this song here on a nylon-string Spanish guitar. Lynn Harrison sings backup vocals and Alex McMaster fills the lower symphonies with cello bliss. Happy Skiffles can sure take the sniffles away.