Known for keen storytelling and a hard-driving sound originating in American roots genres, David Brewbaker looks more than ever to blues and jazz fusion to lend exquisite style to the seven tracks on the newly released A Sign of Life. The debut album shows the songwriter’s lock on raucous, daring arrangements commanded by lyrics that are both moving and muscular.
The album examines the insidious psychological toll exacted on the people that live within a terror-targeted nation in its title track, where “tri-tones sirens deprive us of sleep” while “chasing the Party of God through suburban streets”; and where the singer/poet/street caller asks when the sleeper cells are “Gonna raise hell down at the 7-11? / Or take out the subway station in Sheridan Square? / When’s the walls of Harvard or Disneyworld / Gonna yield to a dirty bomb — Goofy and Mickey / Just body parts on the landscape?” It also showcases Brewbaker’s finely tuned ability to translate emotional landscapes in songs like Sea of Cortez and Mary & Pete, which soulfully laments that it’s “hard to find a little love in the world / Life don’t put out like a chorus girl.”
The meticulous arrangements are a tribute to both his own studio efforts and the inspired collaboration with saxophonist Brian Graham of Sly Chi, Portland Maine’s award-winning R&B/Funk band. With its perfect blend of roots, rock and jazz, A Sign of Life will please devotees of Bruce Cockburn as well as Bonnie Raitt, Steely Dan, J.J. Cale, Mark Knopfler, and Dave Alvin, while at the same time reinforcing the artist’s own genre-busting sound through unsparing use of an eclectic musical palette.
The CD was recorded at Brewbaker’s studio in Cape Elizabeth, Maine and mastered at The Studio in Portland (Tab Benoit, James Cotton, Patty Larkin, Ronnie Earl). A Sign of Life is now available online at CDBaby.com, and soon at Amazon.com and iTunes.