POST-INDUSTRIAL BLUES: Bob Brozman
Post-Industrial Blues is the exciting new release from world-renowned slide guitarist Bob Brozman. After years of exploring multi-ethnic music styles around the world, Bob returns to his blues and Americana roots, for a brave and honest look at a world in change.
This bold album shows Bob at his bluesy best, with edgy vocals and a stunning array of instruments. New songs feature lyrics that touch on topics as relevant as the New Orleans levee breach to the war in Iraq. Bob’s vocal stylings are raw and gripping as he sings about the most pressing socio-political issues of our day. Always the adventurer, Bob adds Indian slide guitar, Greek Bazouki, vintage English banjo, and Okinawan sanshin, to the National resonator guitars and Bear Creek Hawaiian/Weissenborn guitars for which he is known. The sound is rounded out with the deep sensibilities of Stan Poplin on string bass and Jimmy Norris on drums. Bob worked closely with Jim, playing percussion with him to build unusual and emotional textures. Even the percussion instrumentation is post-modern, incorporating found items as diverse as grass clippers and the guts of a toy piano.
Emotional and edgy; jovial and brave; Post-Industrial Blues is a perfectly timed soundtrack for today’s changing world. A follow-up to Blues Reflex (nominated for Acoustic Album of the Year in 2007 by the Blues Foundation), it is proof that Bob continues to challenge himself artistically, taking risks and evolving in the manner of the great blues pioneers that have come before him.
01. FOLLOW THE MONEY 2:06
02. LOOK AT NEW ORLEANS 5:54
03. OLD MAN’S BLUES 2:12
04. AIRPORT BLUES 3:30
05. SHAFAFA 3:25
06. LONELY CHILDREN 4:36
07. LET’S GET IT, BOY! 1:41
08. THREE FAMILIES BLUES 5:18
09. STRANGE UKULELE BLUES 3:46
10. GREEN RIVER BLUES 4:34
11. CROOKED BLUES 3:22
12. ROLLING THROUGH THIS WORLD 4:59
13. SLOW MOTION BLUES 6:00
14. PEOPLE ARE STRANGE 2:13
15. HOW I LOVE THAT WOMAN 3:29
From the Liner Notes...top
In recent years, Bob Brozman has established himself as one of the leading
pioneers of cross-cultural collaborations. Recording with artists from around
the world, often with no interpreter, Bob has observed that arriving with no
pre-determined agenda is the most effective way to capture fresh creative
ideas. Bob encourages impromptu compositions that are often born from
a casual jam. He shifts and reacts to his recording partner, relying on his
inherent musical knowledge instead of prepared material or written notes.
This instinctive and spontaneous way of recording has proven to be a curious
byproduct of Bob’s years of collaborating.
On POST-INDUSTRIAL BLUES, as Bob breaks from the collaborative genre, he
brings this same spontaneity with him to the studio. Songs such as “Old Man’s
Blues” were composed entirely in front of the microphone, while tape was
rolling. “Strange Ukulele Blues” burst into being during downtime between
takes for an entirely different song. For Bob, taking risks and experimenting
are essential to the recording process; often, the final result is unknown until
the last note is composed and recorded.
Bob’s impromptu recording style breeds a freedom that informs not just the
structure of a song, but the timbral landscape as well. Many of the instruments
that give POST-INDUSTRIAL BLUES its signature “Brozman” sound, were added
in a spirit of sheer experimentation. A knife blade; grass clippers; disassembled
marimba pipes; the guts of a discarded toy piano – these and other found
objects are exploited for their inherent percussive tones.
Bob’s adventurous spirit is also evident in his selection of various stringed
instruments. Many of them are unusual for a guitar-based blues record:
the Okinawan sanshin, the Hawaiian ukulele, the Greek baglama, and the
22-string Chaturangui and 14-string Gandharvi from India. These choices infuse
the music with a nuance of multiculturalism, which Bob considers integral
to the sound of our post-modern era. Other instruments, such as the 1860s
English 7-string banjo, are entirely new to Bob. Yet in the hands of a man
who has experimented with stringed instruments since age 5, this exquisite
antique became an extension of the musician’s voice, lending dark and lonely
notes to songs such as “Old Man’s Blues.” It was the haunting “low-fi” sound
of this banjo that inspired Bob to compose “Look at New Orleans” on the first
anniversary of the levee breech.
Of course, National resonator guitars and acoustic Hawaiian guitars are the
foundation of any Bob Brozman blues album. No one pulls sounds out of a
National like Bob, and on POST-INDUSTRIAL BLUES he continues to take the
instrument further with new tunings and techniques. Bob’s touch on these
instruments is instantly recognizable, especially when he plays the National
Baritone Tricone guitar, which he developed in 1996 with Don Young of
National Reso-Phonic Guitars. Likewise, Bob proves his mastery on the Bear
Creek Kona Hawaiian guitar, which is built and played in the style of the old
Weissenborn guitars. With a heart steeped in tradition and hands reaching
toward an innovative future, Bob bridges the first and second centuries of
this expressive instrument, inspiring a new generation of lap slide guitarists
around the world.
POST-INDUSTRIAL BLUES is further enriched with the deep sensibilities of Stan
Poplin on string bass and Jim Norris on drums. These seasoned musicians first
played and recorded on Bob’s earliest albums from the 1980s, and Bob was
thrilled to reunite with his old friends who have since gone on to illustrious
careers of their own. On this album, Bob worked closely with Jim, arranging
and playing percussion together to build unusual, emotional textures. This
friendly and inspired creative process is particularly evident on “Crooked
Blues” and “Strange Ukulele Blues.” Likewise, Stan’s deep musical knowledge
and agile responses to Bob’s improvisation enhance songs such as “How I Love
that Woman” and “Look at New Orleans,” both of which were recorded live
and in one take.
For Bob, the blues serves two important functions: it offers protest against and
relief from life’s hard times. An art form born of oppression, it remains relevant
year after year because it documents suffering in the moment at hand.
Bob observes that the blues offers a direct outlet for the questions and fears
that so many of us share. In our device-laden modern era, entire industries
exist to facilitate communication; yet so many people seem to have difficulty
connecting. The blues helps us fight this separation, acting as an immediate
and honest catalyst for social understanding.
On POST-INDUSTRIAL BLUES, Bob returns to his blues and Americana roots
for a musically brave and honest look at a world in change. With several new
socio-political songs, plus emotional renditions of some classic Delta blues,
POST-INDUSTRIAL BLUES is a perfectly timed soundtrack for today’s changing
world. It is proof that Bob continues to challenge himself artistically, taking
risks and evolving in the manner of the great blues pioneers that have come
Bob Brozman - Guitar Master