Atlanta native, Eliot Bronson, is set to release his newest album, James, this August with a riveting sound that slaps a rhythm and drowns some folky guitar licks with the smooth whine of a harmonica. As you make your way through the 8-track memoir of sound, Bronson takes you on ride of passion, emotion, and thoughtful stories. Recalling his childhood memories in an old brownstone community where tradition was about working hard despite the tension of getting away from the emotional draw of relationships and experiences that both inspired his music and flamed his passion to get out.
Starting with a catchy, Americana, upbeat tune, the album kicks off with “Breakdown in G Major”, and you will find yourself wondering if you are listening to a new Bob Dylan song when the lyrics fit with perfect harmony right as the harmonica starts to wail. “Good Enough” takes a turn with its impassioned question, “is good enough good enough for me?” You can hear the past in his poetic words as he talks about the last moments of a relationship as that final decision of what really is good enough is exposed to listeners. As the next tracks peaks, you can hear a change in tone as it transitions to a bright, but metaphorical call to action: “Been carrying more than my share, circling roads that go nowhere. I’m gonna get ready for the mountain.”
“The Mountain” is an esoteric and emotional song of preparation for something more—but Bronson does not tell us what. He only provides this excerpt, “There aren’t a lot of layers to lyrics these days. It’s just what you see on the page. So when you don’t write that way, you get, ‘What are you hiding?’” We’d like to know what you’re hiding too, James. It’s a flawless transition into “Stranger” a heartfelt and slow melody about being locked in secret rooms and wanting to love you like a stranger, but the upbeat sounds leave you tapping your foot as you sing along.
After an emotional run through the last 3 songs, Bronson cranks the heat back up in “Rough Ride”, speaking artistically about the political divide in America in specific reference to Freddie Cray’s injustice with the Boston PD in April 2015. While it is an optimistic and rhythmic message, it’s a powerful statement of the impact music has a message to the world. “How can you tell a story almost journalistically with great emotional impact and yet not come off heavy-handed?’ I wanted to see if I could do it. Now I’m glad I did,” says Bronson.
“Hard Times” follows the political message and compliments both the musicality and emotional sentiment in a powerful progression into the final tracks “Rollin Down a Line” and “Mercy” which thumps the rhythm before ending in a solemn cry for “Mercy” in the final track: “Will you come for me when I need you?” he sings.
Bronson’s new album is packed with great picking, beautiful and honest lyrics, and a foot stomping, knee slapping harp that will leave you wanting more.
For more information visit: www.eliotbronson.com
Review by Ashley Reed firstname.lastname@example.org