I had never heard Canadian Jim Bryson's music before I came across a mention somewhere of his latest record, Where The Bungalows Roam (March 2007) on Kelp Records. Now first of all the record is good, but why I'm doing this post is because the guy is likely the most unsung singer who deserves to be praised by a chorus of music lovers across the internet. Well established as a star in his home city of Ottawa (Canada's Capitol), Bryson has attracted musicians who recognize his ability when they're putting a band together, namely fellow Canadian Kathleen Edwards and more significantly Giant Sand's Howe Gelb. The fact that Gelb plucked Bryson from the 'unsung barrel' will no doubt tell some of you of Bryson's latent talent. Gelb has for years used a keen ear to select the musicians he decides to play with, the most noteworthy being the fellas who left Giant Sand to form Calexico (a band that has earned a respectable reputation).
So, has that got you interested? Good. But it's describing Bryson's music that has made me put this post aside a number of times. It sounds so easy, well-worn and comfortable, like those old jeans you wish you still had. And it resists labeling, some have pinned words like folk and country to Bryson's music, but I think that's more of a feeling some songs inspire than the sound. On Where The Bungalows Roam he seems to have drawn everything inward, to keep the 'noise' in check, but that has only made the lyrics that much 'louder' and they are worth hearing for Bryson's pen is honest and humourous... his music hushed and homegrown (yeah, that's 4 H's but this is not the 4H Club, although some of the hats he wears could be).
After spending some time listening to the mp3 from WTBR and streaming the record through the link provided, give a listen to the song "Broken Fingers" from his 2003 release North Side Benches, it sounds to me like a long lost Jeff Tweedy gem. Enjoy Bryson, he's well worth a good listen.
From Where The Bungalow Roams - BUY
pissing on everything [mp3]
Stream the entire album here - make sure to give a listen to "If By The Bridge", "Flowers", "The Wishes Pile Up", "The Options, and "Death By Vibration". Now you want to buy, right? Use the BUY link above.
From The North Side Benches
broken fingers [mp3]
Find more MP3s.
Download Jim Bryson's Where The Bungalows Roam and The North Side Benches from emusic through their free trial offer.
Where the Bungalows Roam (Kp 050) March 27th, 2007
2. If by the Bridge
3. Pissing on Everything
4. Clear the Crowds
5. The Wishes Pile Up
6. Fire Watch
7. Don't Fail Me Now
8. All the Fallen Leaves
9. My Marie of the Sea
10. Death By Vibration
11. The Options
12. Humling (only available on vinyl version)