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When I first saw Breanne Marie play some years ago when she was just starting out, I have to admit, it wasn’t the most awe inspiring thing I’ve ever seen. When I learned of her motivations to becoming a musician, my heart softened. Breanne carries some definite personal insights in her song writing, and over time, it has grown to a level where she has become a solid musician. Perhaps it was the time spent on previous albums and countless shows, but she’s grown a bit musically from her first shows. It seems that she’s in it for the long haul with this latest album “Wildflowers & Tumbleweeds.”
I think this album might be printed in vinyl because there are two “sides.” The first six songs are under the “Wildflowers” side, and the other six are under the “Tumbleweeds” side. I find this fitting for a somewhat progressive country album. Yes, as we know, country isn’t my absolute favorite genre, but this album sits alright with me. There are plenty of interesting things instrumentally playing along with some heartfelt lyrics. The band keeps things a cut above an average country album. The band consists of Even Tepler on guitar, Glenn Maloney on bass, John LaMar on drums, and the distinctive pedal steel of Johnny Peterson.
The deviation between more traditional country can be heard soon in the album at the 2:45 mark with the track “Carousel.” The melodic breakdowns that happen in this album are something a little more than in her past work. I’d think that this is due to some experimentation within the group, obviously.
More straight forward country tunes include “Rocking Horse.” It’s a bouncy song that Breanne has been holding onto for awhile, and I’m glad to finally hear the recorded version. I wish there were more vocal harmonies on this album, but the guys actually do some singing towards the end of this track.
I’m trying to find some distinction between the “sides” of this album. From what I’ve heard from the band, I think the first half is some of the older material that is just now finally recorded. Looking at the credits, the album was recorded at Sparta Sound with Rich Mattson and mastered by Jake Larson, so I don’t have any complaints on the overall sound.
I think the second “side” of the album gets a little more edgy with the bluesy, yet gutsy, track “Babies in the River.” Then there is the more free flowing “Change of Heart” that does not follow a typical country structure. This is indeed an alternative take on country, and definitely more so than Breanne’s previous work.
Overall, this is some of the most technical and complex material Breanne has delivered so far. I think things were pretty well thought out and practiced before they walked into Sparta Sound. This seems to be key when recording there because while things generally sound good out of that studio, I’ve noticed that it’s really up to the band to find their focus and direction in making an album interesting. There are enough little things going on in the album to make it something more than just a plain old country album. However, it’s hard to pull out a song that definitely hits out of the ordinary throughout the material. I’m going to call this a pretty solid album, it is good and nothing to put down, but I feel that there could be even more soul searching and unexpected things to take things even further. Anyone who has liked Breanne Marie’s music over the years, and country fans in general, should find this to be a good listening experience.
The album release will be on Saturday, September 16 at Beaner’s Central with Matt Ray opening.