By: Ted Hajnasiewicz
(Editions of An Artist View will feature our artists talking about some of their favorite offerings from our roster.)
Every summer lately, I end up having what I call my “summer album” – it’s the soundtrack for the summer. I don’t typically realize it until the summer has come to a close. There are feelings summer brings on – hope, as the hot days continue to get longer, lamentation as summer ends, all the feels “inbetween”. Last year it was Bruce Springsteen’s “Western Stars”, the year prior, Willie Nelson’s “Last Man Standing”.
This year, I already know as I write this in early, after less than a week of absorbing Graham Bramblett’s latest offering, “The Great Inbetween”, this album will be repeating in my car, in my ear buds, in my house, all summer. This is my summer album for 2020. It’s only six songs, but that is quite alright. I get to hear my new favorites by one of my favorite country singers THAT many more times.
This album begins with “Tom T. Hall T-Shirt” – a rollicking old school ode to a country music hero. I could easily hear this on the jukebox at the Fish Lake Pavilion as a kid, or being played by an under-paid, over-talented band in any honky-tonk in any town in any state. I guarantee you’ll be singing this one until your family is thoroughly annoyed. I’m with you, you’re not alone. Stomp Stomp!
Graham then takes us into territory I’m so glad he’s comfortable with – the love song. I’m a sucker for a good melody, and love songs and ballads like “Rain on the Roof” speak my musical language. I can’t speak enough of Graham’s ability to craft the perfect lyric in a perfect song. “Nothing makes my gray skies blue like you lovin’ on me lovin’ on you”. Dang, wish I’d written that…
“Stickers” speaks of someone who maybe has lost his willingness to commit to a relationship, as a sort of “pre-emptive strike”. Someone who’s been hurt one too many times maybe. It’s a sad lament, told in a pragmatic way, using words as his paint brush, describing how ridiculous it is to “put stickers on my car”, just as putting someone’s name on his skin, that’ll probably need to change in time. “Love ain’t always permanent”. What happened in Panama City, I wonder? This is a lovely number, the steel guitar swaying the listener to and fro, as we feel the melody and lyric penetrate our hearts.
“The One That I Want” lifts us temporarily out of our melancholy, with its light galloping percussion, country harmonies and celebratory TRUMPET! This one will be blasting out my windows as I drive just a little too fast down the highway. This is a modern-day classic song; one you know the minute you hear it. You’ll also learn what “The Great Inbetween” refers to.
My favorite number in this collection is “What Do You Do”. Graham is the king at the desolate lover’s lament. “Thought of whispering your name, seeing your face, those memories still haunt me…” Anyone who has had to witness their love becomes someone else’s love, will relate. While we get over it, we never really get over it. Graham captures that feeling of loss beautifully on this song. From the opening guitar/piano trade-off, you know you’re gonna – ummm – have allergies kick in again…
The album is rounded out with “You Can’t Dance”, another classic romp, a challenge to “dance, even with your hands in your pockets”, or sit in the corner and “go home alone”. It ends with a sing-along, and I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who’ll be singing along. And letting the disc repeat.
More on Graham Bramblett: www.GrahamBramblett.com