California-based singer/songwriter Jim Bruno has written classic songs for the likes of Shawn Colvin, and has been heard on recordings from Cliff Eberhardt, Laurie MacAllister and Mary Lou Lord. I first heard his music on Laurie MacAllister's newest recording, The Things I Choose to Do, which is an album full of covers. I knew all but two of the classic tunes on the CD—the two that were written by Jim Bruno. Something sounded vaguely familiar about the utterly gorgeous cut Me and My Michael. And that's when I got in touch with Laurie and found my way to Jim. He sent me his first commercial recording, with tunes written some twenty-five years later than the ones I had heard.
The new CD is called Alright Alright. From the outside in, beginning with the cover art, there is a feeling of nostalgia—for relationships lost and won, for friends who remain and those now gone, for home and family. The songs cover the entire gamut of moods and melodies: from upbeat tempos, to contemplative ballads, to just plain pop fun.
Bruno himself states "if John Lennon and Steve Earl had a baby and that baby grew up in Chicago and married Lucinda Williams who then married Elvis Costello, that baby would sound like Jim Bruno." As strange as this may sound, it's a fairly accurate description of Jim Bruno's voice and music, as there are elements of all of these great artists in his songs.
I especially like the upbeat, radio-friendly tunes that you can blast in your car when there are long stretches of blacktop ahead. Matter of Time, the opening cut, with its driving, percussive beat, urges you to follow your heart, wherever it takes you. "We Were Blind" takes an inventory of all the wrong choices the singer has made in life—all set to a lively, up-tempo melody. Steady Rhythm of Time features the deep steel guitar tones of Max Butler and makes you want to get behind the wheel and drive off to life's next great adventure.
Jim Bruno's take on life—its ups and downs and all of the complications in between—is compelling. No matter how many mistakes you've made in life, no matter where the choices you've made have taken you, there is always the open road and a new beginning ahead. Alright Alright has some dark moments, but there's always the light in the distance. Bruno's enthusiasm for life, love and what may lie around the bend is infectious. May he continue to write songs long into a brilliant future.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
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