Friday, February 5, 2010

Album Review: Bruni Is "Here"

In a blog entry on MySpace last year, Philly singer/songwriter Chris Bruni wrote: "Just a reminder, I've posted yet another song from my new album for you to take a listen. This song is called 'Use It.' I suppose it's somewhat political, but not necessarily. Take it however you'd like to, I just hope you like it."

That laid-back vibe pretty much dominates on Chris' second album, I've Been Here, though you'd hardly know it from the work he put into this thing. It's an increasingly familiar storyline for recording artists these days: he and his label parted ways, and he turned to his fans to fund the recording and manufacturing of his next album, getting some local heavy-hitters to help him bring his musical vision to life. The finished product sounds great; I've previously praised Tim Sonnefeld's skills as a producer and I'm not about to stop now.

I've Been Here
presents Chris as a soul-influenced folk-rock singer/songwriter with a touch of David Gray in his voice and a knack for writing lyrics that paint pictures in your mind but are also open to interpretation. It's a pretty mellow affair by Chris' own admission, so don't go running to this album if you're looking to rock out; personally, it's helped me to wind down a bit during some hectic times in my work life! Some of the highlights for me so far are as follows: "Too Late," with downbeat lyrics and exquisite cello from our friend Krista Nielsen -- you know, Andrew Lipke's cellist; "Bobby Run," a moody, rootsy story-song in the finest folk tradition; the romantic drama "Standing By Your Room," superbly performed as a duet with local fave Laura Shay; and the uptempo "4th of July," with Chris' rhythmic vocal delivery.

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