L.A.-based artist Mark Brainard has been a composer and a songwriter for nearly all his life, starting at the age of only nine. Having written over 300 songs since, Brainard has cultivated a long and fruitful career, spending over 35 years playing in the Southern California music scene and recording and releasing material all the while. One of his most recent releases is a full-length album titled A Musician’s Son. Dedicated to his late father and inspired by his friends, family, and youth in the San Fernando Valley, A Musician’s Son is a heartwarming example of fine folk music and exquisite songwriting abilities that puts Brainard’s years of experience on peak display.
HERE’S WHAT WE DUG MOST…
A Musician’s Son opens with a very apt introduction to an album inspired by a Los Angeles childhood – stories of baseball games and rock ‘n roll. Music and Baseball captures the essence of awe of the greats in both entertainment and athletics that nearly every child feels, and equally allows us to relive those moments of inspiration as we revisit our childhood passions alongside him – all tied together with strummy guitars and a bouncy, warm tone.
This is followed by Million Dollar $mile, an affectionate song that starts soft and sweet and builds into a driving soft rock track. Brainard’s easygoing vocals are an excellent vessel for this gentle melody, and the rich, full backing harmonies are a perfect complement to the overall composition.
There’s a lot of folk-music-excellence on display across this album; a consistently great showing of storytelling skill. Writing’s On The Wall is one of the clearest examples of this – telling the extremely relatable tale of struggling to conform to the traditional 9-to-5 lifestyle in a perfectly digestible, uncomplicated way – a tough message in stark contrast with this track’s light timbre:
“I’m faced with a new regime
At the workplace
And I’ve got to prove myself again
They reinvent the wheel
And run it like a rat race
And the madness never seems to end“
The fun, enthusiastic energy of Who Knows? brings a bit of welcome diversity – and the yodeling doubles down on it. The touch of country twang on this track seems to suit both Brainard’s vocals and writing style particularly well, and despite the melancholy lyrics, the band seems like they’re having a great time playing it. Brainard has told us that this album was recorded entirely by friends and bandmates of his, and it’s on tracks like this where it becomes particularly apparent that he did an excellent job of assembling a cohesive, skilled group of players.
We also love Train To Truth for its southern-rock-esque guitar solos and anthemic energy. The message of relentlessly seeking the truth is something we could all use a little more of these days. And this also is one of the best showcases of Brainard’s vocals – he has a classic singer-songwriter sound mixed with hints of blues and retro pop phrasings.
OUR FAVORITE TRACK…
Closing the album is the title track A Musician’s Son, and it’s as perfect a summation track as we’ve ever heard. Almost a bit tropical in rhythm, Brainard’s relaxed style (feeling like a trademark by this point in the project) permeates every measure. But the other emotion running heavily through this conclusion is pride – pride in being the son of a musician, and the benefits that come along with it.
“Everything you ever said to me
Every word of encouragement
I’ve just got to practice
All the time
I’ll sing it loud; I’ll make you proud
I’ll assure a job well done cause
I’m a musician’s son“
Brainard gives credit to his father for everything he has become in his life (and by its perfect placement in the track listing, he gets credit for everything on this album, too). It’s a sentimental, moving end to a very wholesome collection of songs – and perhaps the finest way to pay homage to such an important person in Brainard’s life.
This album is just pure nostalgia in the best possible way – the kind that fills you with warmth and satisfaction, and just a touch of yearning for the good old days gone by. You can feel the fondness and memories pouring out of Mark Brainard on A Musician’s Son, given to us in such a way that it’s hard not to reminisce on your own childhood while surrounded by his heartwarming, authentic brand of folky singer-songwriter material. And with Brainard’s excellent storytelling at the center of it all, those who appreciate quality songwriting and high-level musicianship will feel absolutely at home on this touching tribute project.
BELOW: Check out our full artist interview with Mark Brainard, listen to A Musician’s Son, connect with his website and social media platforms, and find his booking & contact information. Please support Mark Brainard by visiting him online, and playing, downloading, and/or purchasing his music, or attending a live show! And, as always, thank you for supporting real music!
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Check out our interview with MARK BRAINARD:
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Listen to A MUSICIAN’S SON by MARK BRAINARD:
Booking & contact information for MARK BRAINARD:
Contact: Mark Brainard