It’s been six years since Don Brownrigg’s debut Wander Songs was released, and two years since he started work on his sophomore album, It Takes All Kinds (to make this world, I find). During that time, the Haligonian by residence, but Newfoundlander by birth, did almost all the work himself.
While Wander Songs had an array of guests, including Jenn Grant, Brownrigg chose to do the voice, guitars, accordion, keyboard and piano while letting producer Daniel Ledwell handle trumpet, trombone, bass, along with some help on the guitars and keyboard. Ledwell is an East Coast Music Award winner for his production work, and incidentally the husband of Grant.
From the very first notes, Brownrigg pairs his easy, melodic voice with catchy and upbeat music. The flourishes of the trumpet punctuate the lyrics to “When the Heart Resigns,” taking the somber question and turning it into an opportunity.
Brownrigg uses the music to strike the tone he wants throughout the album. While his voice gently tells a story, it’s the music that gives the scenery and detail. The drums on “No Smoke, No Gun” give Brownrigg’s defiant vocals the punch they need, while a variety of instruments clash together on “There Is Nothing” to heighten Brownrigg’s wail of protestation.
Throughout the rest of the album, Brownrigg weaves through genres, from the old-fashioned slow dance tune “The Swing Song” to the stripped-down, piano-driven “Just Breathe”. It’s Brownrigg’s vocals that unify the album, adding in the sounds and imagery of Atlantic Canada, and drawing on a rich musical and cultural history.
Top Tracks: “Just Breathe”; “How Are You Supposed to Know”
Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good)