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Brian Wright

House On Fire
Sugar Hill
 

Brian Wright draws on the stylistic legacies of an eclectic bunch of influences, some quite obvious. There’s no mistaking his debt to classic Velvet Underground in “Striking Matches,” but less obvious is the sense of abandon mixed with desperation that ties it to the music of Roky Erickson’s 13th Floor Elevators.

Wright plays all instruments here, and “Matches” has him playing expert Dobro under some DickeyBetts-like slide, then a nuvo-country solo and back to a couple of bars of Allman-type twin leads into a semipsychedelic finish.

Wright skirts categorization, like Neil Young, Jon Langford, or even John Hiatt. His music is country (“Blind April”) and old-timey (“Live Again,” “Rich Man’s Blues”) at its core, but also has a rock-and-roll and even pop (“The Good Doctor”) and brassy New Orleans R&B (“Still Got You”) elements. He can switch gears smoothly and effectively within a song, as he does in “April,” or when the modern country blues out of the slightly tongue-in-cheek “Mesothelioma” glides into the dreamy cello passage that bridges it with “Mean Ol’ Wind.”

This article originally appeared in VG‘s June ’11 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.

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