London (UK) Folk-Maestro Jack Browning Prepares to Mesmerize with Debut Album 'Red Eye Radio'
By Eric Alper. Photo Credit: Blackham Images.
Jack Browning, the 25-year-old folk-maestro from London, who wouldn't be out of place in Nashville, makes his gentle mark on the world's music scene with his debut album, Red Eye Radio, set to release September 29th. It’s an album promising to captivate listeners and get under their skin with its modern blend of traditional folk, dirty blues, rock n roll, and alt-country influences, showcasing Browning's heartfelt lyrical prowess and distinctive storytelling.
Browning's musical journey has taken him far and wide, across the UK and Europe and on to the United States, all thanks to his early band life, touring and playing with the likes of Jeff Beck, Joss Stone, and Gregory Porter during his late teens. With that musicianship experience money can't buy and drawing inspiration from iconic alt-country musicians like Neil Young, Tom Petty, Tom Waits, Calexico, and Bruce Springsteen, as well as folk legends like Townes Van Zandt and John Prine, his commitment to preserving the tradition of great songwriting while infusing it with his unique perspective has garnered him a devoted following.
Red Eye Radio, recorded between October 2022 and January 2023 and mastered by the acclaimed Charlie Francis, is a remarkable collection of original handpicked songs. These songs delve into the themes of life on the road, laboring as a construction worker, grappling with mental health, and the innate human desire to explore and wander. The album serves as a personal introspection to Browning, weaving together a rich tapestry of warm emotions and life experiences.
Browning collaborated closely with renowned producer Dan Lucas and a pool of talented musicians, including Rick Kent, Patrick Lyons, Wiza Kaluba, Brant Tilds, Wes Brooks, and Crosby Coford. The result is a cohesive record with a narrative thread running through each track. All thanks to Browning's leadership and talented songwriting ear.
The album's fourth single, "Blue Eyed Son," has already garnered significant attention and acclaim. With its hauntingly beautiful melody and Browning's soulful vocals, the song perfectly introduces the emotional depth and musical talent that define "Red Eye Radio." Lyrically, this first single nods to Browning's outlook on the world, with the trials and tribulations of a working singer-songwriter.
'Why did you see my blue eyed son?
Your hard work is nearly done.
Them cold nights are pulling on in,
This whole world reeking of sin.'
"Dog Tired" beats along gently, like a night train through the mid-west. Along the journey, Browning's vocals entwine seamlessly with the pedal steel and harmonica to create an intimate back-and-forth dance with lyrics portraying the artist's life as a construction worker. The song's lyrics will resonate with anyone listening who has felt the exhaustion of trying to pursue their passion after a hard day's work.
"Kerosene" starts as a quiet, introspective composition, cloaking itself in a larger soundscape that hits like a whole alt-country swag, with a full-band production. The pedal steel comes into its own and again takes center stage with a rapturous, haunting solo. The song's dynamic shifts leave the lyrics wide open for interpretation.
"The Family Guns" is a two-part masterpiece that draws inspiration from composers like Ennio Morricone, Western-style film, and modern mariachi soundscape veterans Calexico. Even hinting at Joey Burns-style vocals. When the second half hits, the song transforms into a captivating murder ballad, complete with mariachi trumpet and Pat Lyons' lyrical steel guitar.
"Red Eye Radio" is not just an album; it's a journey through the heart and soul of an artist who has found his voice. Browning's ability to craft songs that resonate with authenticity and emotion promises to leave a lasting impact on the music landscape.
With a promise to loved ones that spanned years before Browning decided to take the plunge, "So, on a train home, covered in drywall dust and with my dreams having never felt further away, I phoned them, and we booked in two days recording."
At the beginning of Browning's journey, he explains, "It became infinitely clear in that first two-day session that with finished songs and the ideas I had still to flesh out, I might have an album with me."
Continuing, Browning discusses the recording process, "Most of the lyrics were jumbled and unwritten, and the structures of the majority of the songs were hashed out right there with drummer Rick, bassist Wiza, and Dan at the desk in the studio mornings, with a lot of work to be done in the afternoons into the evenings."
The album recording went far and wide, with Browning recruiting musicians from all over, "The final piece of the actual dirty work was working with several musicians from around the UK and the US who would add their expertise, ideas, and skill to record remotely. Working with Wes Brook on keys, Brant Tilds on trumpet for the song which became The Family Guns, and Brian Eade on harmonica added all sorts of possibilities for the mixing part of the record."
As the release date of September 29th for Red Eye Radio approaches, fans and music enthusiasts eagerly anticipate the entire album, ready to immerse themselves in Browning's alt-country musical world. With the success of the first single, "Blue Eyed Son," the debut album is poised to be a milestone in his burgeoning career.
FOLLOW JACK BROWNING