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Nigel Brown - Here Comes The Truth (Columbina Records)

3 November 2023

Amidst the sea of indistinguishable strummers, masquerading as troubadours with their thrift store attire and a handful of basic chords, one struggles to unearth the genuine article. The air is thick with mediocrity, style, of a sort, but no substance, drowning out any hope of stumbling upon a gem in this sordid haystack of pretenders.

Yet, through this haze, there occasionally emerges a singular voice, a beacon of musical ingenuity that cuts through the noise like a knife. Recently, I had the privilege of hearing just such a voice in the wilderness, courtesy of the rather marvelous Nigel Brown.

His latest opus, the aptly titled Here Comes The Truth, embodies the very essence of the singer-songwriter craft. It lays bare the unadorned reality that underpins this art form: all you truly need is the ability to craft and deliver a damn good song. Nigel Brown, as it happens, is a master of this craft. It is a simple concept, maybe, yet an elusive art to truly master.

From the ethereal enchantment of the opening track, ‘The World You’ve Been Dreaming Of,’ to the intricate tapestry of ‘Making My Own Way,’ where electric guitar slashes intermingle with charming acoustics, one cannot help but be enthralled by the sheer depth of Brown’s musical prowess. This brace of songs is probably the best sonic one-two you will have heard in a long while.

As the album unfolds, one is greeted by a succession of enthralling moments. ‘Verandas Gate’ exudes a subdued grandeur, while ‘Not In My Heart’ initially treads the familiar path of the singer-songwriter, only to veer off into the jangling realms reminiscent of R.E.M’s glory days, revealing depths beyond initial expectations. And then there’s the eponymous track, a delicate whisper in the ear, an intimate conversation with a trusted confidant in the late hours of the night—personal, relatable, and undeniably exquisite.

Nigel Brown’s compositions possess an uncanny familiarity as if you’ve known them for a lifetime. Yet, they remain unblemished by the passage of time, perpetually resonating with the present and destined to endure for years to come. This, my friends, is the very epitome of timeless music.