Danny Bradley released his debut album Small Talk Songs on November 22nd. You may not have heard of him but his website gives an impressive list of the people he’s opened for; the PR leaflet tells you that he’s done various session work which has been “so well nailed that it always led to another invitation”. Small Talk Songs shows you why.
Bradley was born in America, raised in the UK and is based in Liverpool – and he has a cracking style, mostly fingerstyle originating from a folk/blues background. Mind you, it’s a little more than that – there are places that I’ve been jolted into memories of much wider range of reference points and this makes for an album which, though recorded at home with little more than acoustic guitar and vocal, is rich in its soundscape.
There are thirteen tracks, all but three of them are Bradley originals. The opener is ‘If Ever He Blinks’, about an old man with a chequered past. Somehow Bradley is tapping into the echoes of his base as I thought the playing reminded me of something from a couple of Beatles tracks – until I played them and realised they are both entirely electric guitar. This opener is followed by Memphis Minnie’s ‘Kissing In The Dark’, slapped guitar, heavy bass, glorious blues which I’ve been listening to with a wry smile while the news tells us that the Government can’t make up its mind whether we should snog each other this Christmas. The third track is another Bradley original, ‘All Over The Floor’, at times almost classical in its playing on a song about a hungover hen party getting back to the train station.
Bradley’s vocal is just as compelling and in places on some of the tracks (‘Michelin Star’, ‘I’m Gone, I’m Gone’ for instance) can touch a Garfunkelesque mood. Elsewhere, you can hear a stretched bluesy vocal on ‘Sittin’ On Top Of The World’ or on the Willie Dixon song ’29 Ways’. As a further example of Bradley’s versatility, he has a lovely intonation – a little more folk, perhaps? – on, say, ‘Company Paper’ or the traditional ‘Shady Grove’.
Great playing, a range of styles, nicely observational songs sung with interest. Small Talk Songs is an excellent debut album which holds the attention throughout and shows a depth of musicianship which promises much more for the future.
Artist’s website: https://dannybradleymusic.com/onlinestore
‘Pulling Free’ – official video: