Al Brant | Wide Open

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Wide Open

by Al Brant

Soulful, reflective , life affirming ! Al Brant voice goes from a whisper to a wail . A great balance of well honed lyrics and sympathetic instrumentation and production. Kevin Breit's guitar work is stunning.
Genre: Rock: Americana
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
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1. Lil' Miss Get you Back
4:44 $0.99
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2. Italian Skies
4:18 $0.99
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3. Wide Open
3:36 $0.99
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4. Shaman's Dream
4:03 $0.99
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5. One of Those Days
3:46 $0.99
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6. Advocate of Love
3:58 $0.99
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7. Common Thread
4:41 $0.99
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8. Busy Chasin' Nothin
3:57 $0.99
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9. Digital Girl
4:52 $0.99
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10. Come & Go Blues
4:26 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Al Brant Wide Open to new ideas, July 2010
Edmonton singer-songwriter reaches new level of communication with his upcoming album

EDMONTON - He's been making music in one context or another for more than 20 years now, but Al Brant has still had his fair share of doubts about career choices.

"I finally realized just how much I love music," the Edmonton-born Brant admits, "and in the end music is the only thing I really know."

The roots-oriented singer-songwriter recommitted himself to his muse a few years ago. He approached Mike Lent last year to serve as a producer, and the result is a life-affirming new project, Wide Open.

That album will have its official release in October. But tonight you can hear Brant and his crew preview most of the songs in concert as this summer's Qualico Patio Series gets underway at Festival Place in Sherwood Park.

Wide Open is Brant's fourth solo album overall. It's named after a specific tune, but that title really reflected his attitude going into the project.

"The whole process for me was about being open to other people's ideas. I was really open to Mike's suggestions about the songs or the music, and a lot of ideas came up in the studio too from the different players. For me, it felt kind of freeing. And some things turned out better than I ever expected."

One piece of luck came after Lent helped him hire Kevin Breit. The famous Toronto-based guitar genius was originally scheduled to play on a few tunes, but wound up lending his touch to the whole disc. Ditto for drummer Gary Craig (Blackie & the Rodeo Kings) who also became part of the core band.

Lent's bass, guitars from Mark Sterling, Russell Broom and Brant, and various guest vocalists filled out the sessions here or in Toronto. It all makes for an accomplished set of tracks, some leaning a little toward the blues or country, or even taking a popular sheen, but making you listen.

Growing up, Brant recalls, there was always music around the house. His mother trained to be an opera singer in New York before she married and had kids. Then there was the older brother who turned him on to classic rock. By 16, Brant had picked up guitar and started to write his own songs.

After winning a talent contest at the defunct Sidetrack Cafe early on as part of a duo, Brant met mentors like George Blondheim, who produced his initial demos, and Eddie Patterson, who hired him to sing with his fusion band.

Working with Patterson, John Armstrong, Jamie Kidd and others, Brant put out his first solo album, Let It Fly, in 1991, followed by Al Brant & the Waterbirds in 1996. The guitarist-singer also put out several albums with the Stone Merchants (later SMAC), and joined Tacoy Ryde in recent years. He is also an ongoing cast member of the Christmas Carol Project and plays for other musicians.

Still, his most unusual job has involved being an Artist in the Wards at the University of Alberta Hospital for the past seven years.

"Sometimes it can get pretty heavy when you know someone is dying, but it's usually very rewarding because you're helping people connect to their own musical experience and sometimes you write songs together."

Whether he knows it or not, you have to wonder if that work has rubbed off in the meaningful depths and uplifting bent that some of his songs take, but the material on Wide Open draws inspiration from all over. There's an ill-fated trip to Europe ( Italian Skies), a number about belief and faith ( Common Thread), a tune about how real communication has fallen off in the computer age ( Digital Girl) and the title piece about moving beyond a culture of fear.

Wide Open sees Brant stepping up to a new level of musical communication.

Brant plays Sherwood Park's Festival Place tonight with Mike Lent, Sandro Dominelli, Mark Sterling and Barrie Nighswander. Country singer Brooke Telenberg plays an opening set starting at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $8 at the door.

Brant is just the first of 16 acts playing Festival Place's Qualico Patio Series over eight Wednesdays at the popular outdoor venue during July and August. In case of poor weather, the show can move indoors on short notice.
By Roger Levesque, Freelance, Edmonton Journal

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