Chris Brokaw

Wandering as Water

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Wandering as Water is not exactly the follow-up to Chris Brokaw's debut full-length album Red Cities. It is more of an in-between-albums project aiming for the loyal fans. Recorded in a single day, it captures Brokaw up-close and personal, alone with the acoustic guitar (he also taps a tambourine from time to time), in a set of songs old and new, instrumentals, and covers -- a live solo set in the studio. Brokaw draws from his previous album, giving "The Fields," "Calimoxcho," "Shoot Me First," and "Recidivist" stripped-down readings, along with a couple songs by his old band Come, and a very respectful interpretation of "Embryonic Journey," Jefferson Airplane's guitarist Jorma Kaukonen's signature tune. The acoustic set-up works very well for Brokaw's worn voice, but some songs he chose actually suffer from being fleshed out. For instance, "German Song" lacks something to cling to until the vocals come in. On the other hand, "My Confidante," "Shoot me First," "Recidivist," and new songs "Cranberries" and "Bricks" provide listens high in emotive octane. Townes Van Zandt is not far, Jeff Buckley either, but the name that pops up while listening to "Bricks" is Syd Barrett. Not that Brokaw uses surrealistic imagery (or sings off-key), but the song develops its own internal melodic logic in a way reminiscent of the crazy diamond's best nuggets. Slightly difficult to find (it's been released in Normal's Return to Sender series in a limited edition of 2,000 copies), this album is definitely worthy of your time, although you might want to get Red Cities first.

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