A Killer's Dream
The project opens with a bit of a nod to Patsy Cline or many of the late 50’s and early 60’s female contry vocalists, heavy reverb pours through the speaker, then goes over board, and Rachel Brooke takes the reigns and a country blues shuffle leaps out of the system. The musicianship is undeniable and though a throwback to another time, it’s also a creation of its own. The first cut is so cool you have to continue to listen. The second track is a complete departure from the first tune and invokes New Orleans or ragtime on a some sort of steroid. This artist isn’t playing, she’s done her homework and has drank long from many wells, that’s just the writing portion, the production and vocal styling is familiar, but about as far from Nashville as we are from Jupiter. Brooke’s ability to wrap her complex lyrics around the tune and production is like watching a tight rope walker. The use of instrumentation in the second cut is amazing, the mix is perfect. The third cut is so 1950’s that I have to check the PR again to make sure this is a current recording, and it is. A Killer's Dream!
The work is produced by Brooke’s and Andy Van Guilder who also recorded and mixed. The supporting players are plentiful, and each add to rather than take from the work. Van Guilder did a fabulous job of placement in each tune, and the overall vibe is true to certain eras, but between the two have created a new view at the old art form known at Country Music. There are moments that harken back, but always a new twist appears in either lyrical or vocal performance. The arrangements of instrumentation alone are worth the listen.
Brooke’s is a singer’s singer with a wonderful range and ability to rock out or yodel with the best of them. The sixth track is a perfect example of this, and Brooke’s proves herself to be a generous artist sharing the tune with Lonesome Wyatt on this tender ballad.
This is a very strong departure from what we know, expect or recognize from artists considering themselves "Country." Brooke brings it all back to where it started. She is standing alone, probably at the bottom of a very steep hill, but she’s not playing it safe following the herd, she’s blazing her own trail.
If you like the blues, country or straight ahead rock, this is a project that will delight and make you reconsider where the art form has gravitated towards or from in the past twenty years. What we hear out of Nashville is rock, Brooke’s is giving back to the likes of the artists that were at the Ryman [Auditorium] for their turn on the Grand Ole Opry stage. Listening to Brooke’s reveals the genre of the 1930’s with a twist that appears to be new, but comes from a long tradition.
This piece of work is amazing, entertaining and filled with tunes that writers would die for. Rachel Brooke is an individual in an art form that is filled with artists that are indistinguishable from one another. "Country" ain’t that anymore, but Rachel Brooke brings it all back home in a huge mirror called A Killer’s Dream. Do yourself a favor and buy the darn thing.
- by Christopher Brant Anderson