Three albums into his post-Brilliant Inventions solo career, singer-songwriter Eliot Bronson continues to refine and redefine his sound. He’s never strayed far from his folk roots, but he has incorporated rustic Americana, high-lonesome country, blues and honky tonk kick into the mix.
This self-titled album is his most cohesive collection of tunes to date. Recorded to analog with producer and Savannah native Dave Cobb (Jason Isbell, Sturgill Simpson, Shooter Jennings) in Nashville, the music has a relaxed, stripped-down vibe largely missing from his sophomore album with backing band the Yonder Orphans. Cobb’s organic mix shines the spotlight squarely on Bronson’s sensitive croon, which seems to grow richer and more emotive with time.
Compared to the rocking vibe of Milwaukee, these new tunes are achingly melancholy: Titles like “You Wouldn’t Want Me If You Had Me,” “Just Came Back to Tell You I’m Leaving” and “Never Been a Friend of Mine” offer a clue to the pervasive mood. “Comin’ For Ya North Georgia Blues” and “New Pain” inject a little uptempo energy, but this is a mostly mellow album filled with dusty backroads, moonlit nights, reflection and regret.
For fans who have followed Bronson’s evolution since his Decatur duo days, it should prove a welcome development. He’s never been more naked and vulnerable as a songwriter.