John Brownlow Previews The Summertime at The Red Door Tonight

John Brownlow’s homemade masterpiece, a 2-CD set called “The Summertime” is due out this fall, but he has some copies pressed and he will be offering them at a discount (!) to people who come tonight to see him at the Red Door Pub and Grille in Meaford. He is part of a three songwriter night again at the Red Door.  His first introduction a few months ago to Red Door audiences was as one third of a three-parter that included Bill Monahan and Dave Hawkins.  This time he shares the evening with young talents Greg Smith and Max Breadner.

If it seems strange to release an album called “The Summertime” as the season comes to an end, it’s actually a good fit.  This album through all its meandering narrative, sounds like the summertime.

John Brownlow, who makes his living as a screen writer, has an abundance of talent (if not of time) left over for other projects.  When he mixes his prodigious imagination with an appreciation of pop music that is part fan, part academic, he creates music that sounds like it was born in radio tubes.  He’s put together this collection of 29 songs that would be impressive for the quantity of output alone but in fact each song in the bunch stands up like a pop gem that, given the right push, would find a comfortable niche on many a radio playlist.

“I went into this with no real ambition to do anything with it,” he says, “I was a bit taken aback that people liked it as well as they did.”

It’s not out yet but friends have heard it and he’s getting some positive feedback, both in person and on Facebook.

Dave Russell posted “…so, I’m a havin’ a listen to John Brownlow’s new double album “The Summertime” an I gots t’ tell ya that it absolutely does NOT suck, in fact it’s utterly, and brilliantly bloody smashing if I do say so myself,…and I do. Thank you John for the gift. I like it a lot,”  and John Zaslow responded, “I too have listened to the first of the 2 CD’s and find the thing has character, lots of it. Kinda sloppy, kinda slick in places…. and the songs are about something! I really like this.”

Check the preview on iTunes by clicking on the album cover.  You’ll be impressed, and you can download it now if you want.  If you bring some extra cash ($15) to the Red Door he’ll sell you an advance copy (I’d get it autographed if I was you).

This album is a big collection with one song after another that pulls you into its spell, reeling you in with the stories within the songs and the beautiful sounds of the production.  He successfully tackles every style, including some samba and some reggae, but the predominate style reflects the Brit-Pop he grew up with.  It’s familiar, it’s new and old at the same time.

It’s pop music that washes over you feeling good, just like the summertime does.

Whether it will ever find the audience it deserves is a question that has nothing to do with its quality.

“The way you do it is you need to use a publicist,” he says, “It turns out getting a publicist is not so straightforward.”  But he’s looking into it with the help of some friends.  He’s putting together a band for the release party but he’s not likely to tour, partly because he’s already working on the next album.

“In a way what I’m trying to do is use this as the basis for the next one,” he says, “I’ve done some demos for it.  This album is the Brit-Pop album.  The next one is the Wrecking Crew album.  It’s got a real kind of country soul feel, sixties and seventies.”

His creativity is like a broken fire hydrant so he has to get this next project done, but whatever happens to The Summertime it has a long shelf life, filled as it is with songs that could easily become one of your favorites.

Tonight at The Red Door, John will have just his guitar, his voice and these wonderful songs. Despite his multi-instrumental contributions to his album (plus a few well chosen friends) he’ll be playing it straight.  “I used to use a looper,” he says, “I find it kind of gets in the way.”  He points out perceptively that often a performer using a looper will tend to give more of their attention to the looper than to the audience.

As always the show starts at seven and you will want to make the most of the opportunity to hear both Greg Smith and Max Breadner.

If you haven’t clicked on that iTunes preview yet do it now.  It’ll carry you away.

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