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Bryan White - Dustbowl Dreams

By: Matt Bjorke

Last Updated: November 30, 2009 1:11 PM

After releasing five albums in the 1990s, Bryan White took a break from music to be with his family.  In that time the singer became a much stronger songwriter and the proof of his growth is present on this album, the first release from Bryan since his Greatest Hits album from the year 2000.  Dustbowl Dreams features a more thoughtful artist than when we last heard from him and this is evident on the album's lead single “The Little Things,” a song that finds Bryan ruminating on all the simple pleasures that get him through the day, singing: “It’s the little things that mean the world to me.”  Melodically the song is firmly contemporary but the mandolin and fiddle are clearly in the mix as is the steel guitar.  These production flourishes remind folks that Bryan White has been and always will be a country artist; in fact he may be more ‘traditional’ than quite a few artists who are making music these days.

“Get It Together” recalls the tempo-filled hits of songs like “So Much For Pretending” yet somehow this Derek George & Darryl Burgess-penned track feels extremely joyful and just plain fun.  “When You Come Around” is a painful song to listen to and this song, perhaps more than any other track on Dustbowl Dreams showcases Bryan White’s songwriting more than anything.  The song, with gentile piano, fiddle and mandolin notes guiding the melody, finds Bryan bearing his soul about the relationship he wishes he had with his alcoholic father.  The pain in the lyric is evident while Bryan retains the same hopeful outlook that all children have for their parents.  This is country music folks, bearing your soul for the entire world to hear in the hopes that this ‘cheap therapy’ can help heal a wound or two.  It also shows that ‘stars’ aren’t immune to the same thoughts and feelings as the ‘every day person’ is.

The title track of the record is a sweet reminder of the power of home and where we grow up and how it has affects our life, even when we don’t know it.  The song touches on Bryan’s fast success as a recording artist while also showcasing the strength that he gets from his home state and family.  Bryan admired Steve Wariner for a long time and while they became fast friends in the 1990s, they haven’t recorded together before now, on the track “Hands of Time,” a song Steve first recorded a decade ago.  The song not only is a duet but it also features Wariner on lead guitar.   The song is a fun track that would sound great on the radio, if given the chance.  “Beautiful Place” feels like something you might hear on a Kenny Chesney record with the conga drums and the general summery melody but the lyrics find Bryan singing about how he doesn’t need those islands and to ‘escape’ as the woman in his life is that for him.

While Bryan’s commercial (mainstream) career with Asylum/Warner Brothers Records was ending in 2000, his personal life was getting stronger and better.  That personal life centered around his wife Erika Page, an actress.  Their relationship has continued to grow has given the artist the confidence to return with this album.  Bryan serenades his wife on “Erika’s Song.”    The album ends with a co-write with one of my personal favorite songwriters, Marcus Hummon.  The song is “On My Own (Hymn of the Road)”  and it tells the story of a musician who leaves home to find stardom only to realize that you can go home again (before setting off again).  It’s a fitting end for Dustbowl Dreams and a wonderful reminder that even after all these years, Bryan White has come back to country music and sounds recharged, refreshed and, if this record is any indication, ready to bring more great music to fans for years to come.

Bryan White co-wrote 8 of the 10 tracks on this album.

The Tennessean

By:  Cindy Watts

 

When the White family gets back, Bryan will once again get busy telling people about Dustbowl Dreams. The CD is Bryan's first of new material in about 10 years.

 

"In the last few years I've taken time off, and this is a result of all this time off," said the singer. "I think anyone who is a fan is going to hear something familiar on this CD, but it's a lot heavier subject matter. The struggles and the joys of life, that's what I wrote about and that's what this record is about."

 

The CD is available at www.bryanwhite.com and wherever digital music is sold.

 

The singer has two Nashville shows coming up. He'll play a handful of acoustic songs on Dec. 2 at Mercy Lounge as part of Compassion's Benefit For The Global Food Crisis (alongside Blaine Larsen, Julie Roberts and others; $10 tickets are available through TicketWeb.com), and he'll stop on Dec. 8 at Bluebird Cafe for a 9 p.m. benefit show with Micheal Peterson, Rick Barron and Jonathan Cain for the Mary Parrish Center.

 

 

Review: Bryan White "Dustbowl Dreams"

It has been ten years since the last album release by Bryan White. The new album, Dustbowl Dreams, shows no change in style and is the same caliber as the country music that has made the artist a success in the past. His pop/country style shines through on this album and is filled with soft grooves, gentle lyrics, and a relaxed fit feel.

Bryan White "Dustbowl Dreams"


1. Dustbowl Dreams (Bryan White & Allen Shamblin)
2. Say When (Bryan White, Derek George and Don Poythress)
3. The Little Things (Bryan White, Erik Bledsoe and James Dean Hicks)
4. Get It Together! (Derek George and Darryl Burgess)
5. When You Come Around (Bryan White, Derek George and James Dean Hicks)
6. Hands Of Time featuring Steve Wariner (Bob DiPiero and Steve Wariner)
7. Beautiful Place (Bryan White, Derek George and John Tirro)
8. Place To Come Home (Bryan White and Eric Silver)
9. Erika’s Song (Bryan White)
10. On My Own (Bryan White, John Tirro and Marcus Hummon)
11. Dustbowl Dreams (reprise)



The upbeat tempo numbers on the album are few and far between, but one that stands out is the outstanding duet titled “Hands Of Time”, which was recorded with his mentor Steve Wariner. It is a song referencing when time has not been an ally and more of a problem such as in traffic jams, people on cell phones or a woman who put make up on the car. Overall the song delivers a fun, tongue in cheek type of humor and it is an easy listen.

The ballads are gorgeous, sweet and well arranged and the single off the album “The Little Things” is one of those special tunes. It is a song dedicated to his wife thanking her for all of those “little things” she has did in his life that “mean the world” to him. It is one of those standard love songs, which show an honest and beautiful relationship unfolded. Along with “The Little Things” the other ballad that deserves attention is “Dustbowl Dreams”. The song is a story of his ten years away from music and is extremely truthful. He shows his perseverance and promise through all of the hard times that he faces through every word of the song. It also gets personal at the end of the song with a sound clip of his grandfathers auctioneer days auctioning farm life. Three minutes was all Bryan needed to tell a wonderful, personal story that took place over a ten-year period.

It’s an album that is worth a listen.

Review by Mark Roberts

Bryan and Erika White were dazzling as they walked the red carpet this past week at the 43rd annual CMA Awards show.   Look for a complete "diary" and photo gallery for Bryan and Erika coming next week!

bryanerika_cma09bryan_cma09erika_cma09

BRYAN WHITE/The Little Things


Writer: Bryan White/Erik Bledsoe/James Dean Hicks; Producer: Bryan White & Derek George; Publisher: Dustbowl Dreamer Music/Pedal Down/Sally  Pretzel  Music/On the Mantel Music, ASCAP/BMI; Just a Pup (CDX) (www.bryanwhite.com)


—Where has this guy been? His return to disc is a sweet, romantic outing with swirling breezes of steel, organ, fiddle, acoustic guitar and piano. His tenor vocal wafts right along.

 

-Music Row Disclaimer 10/28 2009

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