Decades ago there was a form of singing and songwriting that was comfortably snuggled into the audible imagery of summer afternoons, white t-shirts and Pink Houses. At the forefront of the truly American grown music were the likes of Don Henley and John Mellencamp (with or without the “cougar”). Maybe it was country that swallowed the sound like it has Bon Jovi or perhaps the sun simply set on the innocence that was a proud, motivating sound, either way it fell onto the shelf of distant memories.
Whether you’ll admit that you love “Boys of Summer” or that you still listen to Scarecrow in the confines of your headphones doesn’t matter because school’s out and the good ole American summer is back.
In the form of four tracks, coming in at an average of four minutes, the too cool for country, too honest for rock Denny Brown released Fourth of July. Brown convinces us that music is the pulse of good times and the simple things like love, life and memories are all we need so slow down and smile every once and a while. Seemingly effortlessly Brown reignites that sound of true American storytelling and folk-rock instrumentals.
Fourth of July rolls down the road, windows down, arm hanging out and shades on, with an air of cool purpose. The title track leads off the EP with style. Like the best artist can paint an image, Brown crafts his work of art with words and chords. Listening to the song reminds anyone who has ever lain on the grass with their teenage crush or has ever felt that awkward first moves of love how great life can be. Through “On the Esplanade” and “Gypsy Lane” Brown conveys his ability to spin tales of heartache and passion. Never crass nor unnecessarily loud, Fourth of July lingers long after it is over. Like that sweet memory of old friends on those long days and short nights, just thinking about the EP brings a smile to your face.
I’ve purposefully not mentioned the fact Fourth of July features the likes of Booker T. Jones and David Grissom as well as the precision engineering of Bill Halverson and Tom Flye. Not out of disrespect but out of pure appreciation. Denny Brown had the aid of some great musical talents, but under it all is the mind and craft of Brown himself. Take out the aforementioned names and you’d still have a hugely successful EP. His singing/songwriting brings back great memories but creates new ones at the same time. As for the distant sound, I can’t say it is entirely back but on the shoulders of this EP it has a strong start.