BRAD COLERICK STEPS FORWARD WITH Lines In The Dirt
The Follow Up To His Widely Praised Cottonwood CD
Brad Colerick drew a line in the dirt 20 years ago when he gave up making records to make music for commercials. With the release of Cottonwood last year, he crossed that line and now takes a big step forward with his follow up CD, Lines In The Dirt. With contributions from Suzy Bogguss, Larry Klein, Herb Pedersen and April Verch, Dirt fulfills the promise of Cottonwood. Boasting nine more compelling originals and two well-chosen covers, Colerick takes the listener on a journey through his life and his stories. Once again the playing is sharp and crisp, the songs deep and affecting. Colerick delivers another round of intimate and thoughtful vocals for an album bound to please any fan of honest songwriting and music making.
“Cottonwood took 19 years to make,” Colerick says, only partially joking. “I made a couple of records in the 80s, before I came to California, then I succumbed to ‘blue check fever’ as it was known” -- a reference to the color and allure of union residual checks. During that period, he created music for some of the world’s largest corporations but not for himself. “Two years ago I got serious about my own music again. Cottonwood evolved slowly and included some older tunes, but since then I’ve been playing live and
finding my voice as an artist.” Most of the songs on Lines were written in the last year and road tested as Colerick traveled the West, winning converts with his down-home style. The album was recorded and produced by Ed Tree at his Treehouse Studio. “Ed’s like a bodyguard -- he never lets anything get in the way of the song or the vocal, but every player gets a chance to shine.”
Colerick’s music blends Americana, Folk and Country to create smooth, catchy melodies that seep into your heart with a single listen. His finely wrought, plainspoken lyrics find the poetry in everyday language to celebrate the often forgotten moments that make life worth living. “My California” contrasts the dreams of a mid-western boy with the reality of LA, a wry reflection on the perceptions and misconceptions of the Golden State. Its loping beat and chunky rhythm guitar take us down Sunset Boulevard
with a perfect combination of wide-eyed wonder and smoggy cynicism. “Juarez,” a story about the hard lives of immigrants, was inspired by a bumper sticker. “My car broke down in El Paso, and I saw a bumper sticker that said ‘Jesus Lives’ as I was looking out over the border at Juarez. I thought, “Jesus lives where? Here? I feel a lot of compassion for immigrants who come and work incredibly hard under difficult conditions to support their families.” The tune has a bluesy, Norteño vibe, a compelling vocal and
pedal steel that shimmers like the heat rising off an asphalt road.
“Remember Me” has a nostalgic 40’s feel, and Colerick whistles a sprightly solo that adds to the tune’s classic air. The song has already been licensed for an Etch-A-Sketch ad campaign. The title track is a sympathetic meditation on the paths in life that we all inherit and the choices and inner struggles we face. The music is subtly dramatic with a ghostly pedal steel and soulful organ complementing Colerick’s emotional vocals. There’s also “We’re Gonna Laugh,” a jaunty celebration of love on a credit card; the swampy bounce of “Let Her Fall In Love,” highlighted by the swooning fiddle of April Verch; and a slow, smoky reinvention of the Johnny Cash hit “Ring Of Fire,” with Suzy Bogguss. Colerick and Bogguss met years ago when they were both struggling performers. When she heard Colerick’s take on the tune, she asked if he would consider making it a duet.
While Colerick’s friends add plenty of sparkle to Lines in The Dirt, it’s the songs that make the album memorable. Colerick’s understated delivery and beautiful melodies reveal new levels of emotional complexity with every listen. It’s a deep, rich album -- a welcome addition to the canon of great American music.