David Bronson’s new album Questions plays like a soul-drenched paean to the uncertainties of burgeoning adulthood. While the artist’s twenties, as documented on his first two records, were anything but a light-hearted emotional romp, the new album shows that his thirties are proving to be just as uncertain, though in quite different ways. Much like on his prior albums, Bronson makes no attempt to avoid the heavy things.
Subtle echoes of Graceland/Rhythm of the Saints era Paul Simon and John Lennon’s solo work run through the songs’ instrumentation, melodies and arrangements. And shades of So/Us era Peter Gabriel are felt through the emotional and psychological imagery, and lyrical evocations of partnership and familial archetypes.
Bronson’s 2013 decade-in-the-making, 22-song autobiographical double album debut, The Long Lost Story, bore naked the inner torments of post adolescent, coming-of-age crises of love and identity. Questionsfeels not only like a much wiser affair, but a wholly more life-affirming one as well. This stems as much from the music as the lyrics, which sees Bronson moving from the deeply textured, almost psychedelic indie folk rock ofThe Long Lost Story to Questions’ deceptively fluid amalgam of soul, gospel, folk, and dance-funk grafted on to the classic 70’s-infused singer-songwriting he’s become known for.
According to Bronson, there was something very unusual about the album right from the start. “Each major stage of this record was pure magic. You just know it when you’re in the middle of something very special taking place. Everyone present feels it.’’ When questioned about this latest musical endeavour Bronson adds ‘’It was crucially important to me to produce something that was infinitely more current to my life, and to the much newer place my songwriting had been moving toward.’’
Bronson is joined on the record by the likes of vocalist Robin Clark (Aretha Franklin, Bob Dylan, Michael Jackson, Al Green, Bruce Springsteen, Beyonce, David Bowie) guitarist Carlos Alomar (David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Paul McCartney, John Lennon) and his daughter Lea-Lórien Alomar, guitarist Robbie “Seahag” Mangano, drummer Lautaro Burgos, not forgetting the vocal contribution made by Gordon Grody and the production prowess of studio legend Godfrey Diamond (Lou Reed).
In the 2 years since anyone first heard anything of David Bronson, he’s established a national touring regimen and growing fan base in the U.S, UK and further afield, performed at some of the most highly regarded indie venues, music programs and festivals in North America, released an abnormally large catalogue of artistically-driven and critically lauded music videos, and been hailed by hundreds of music writers and publications as one of the most heartfelt and emotionally raw new artists in music.
Image © John OBoyle