Album review for All Access Magazine
This CD was recorded in his home state of Texas, this artist has one of the smoothest Tenors I have heard in a long time, and he instantly had me hooked because of the wide range of his voice. As we all know, range in a voice is not the only qualities that makes for a good or even great CD. Regan dug deep into his personal life and beliefs to write the songs and sing them for the world to hear, which for a debut CD, can be difficult with no record label backing or supporting him. Besides those who made the CD with him and his loved ones, the entire CD came from his heart, and in every tune and nuance it can be heard.
Though there is no denying that Regan wants the listener to interpret each song in the way they wish to, several songs do have very deep and personal meaning to him. In ‘Sweet Diane’ he sings of an Actress friend who wanted and struggled so hard to make it as an actress for quite some time. But as she got more and more famous, he watched as the pressures took a toll on her, and she just couldn’t take the fame anymore and bowed out of the business. A heartbreaking tale of what you may wish for coming true biting you in the places it hurts the most. It is a beautifully done song that hurt him, to see her hurt just as badly as she hurt. In ‘Sophie’s Song’, he sings tenderly about another love, his little girl. In ‘Let’s Think About Tomorrow’, He sings about the war going on right now, and how all he wants is peace. For all of us to think of what it is doing to the world now, and the generations coming up.
There wasn’t one song I did not like. From tender love songs that are heartfelt as he does in ‘Sweet Diane’ and ‘Sophie’s Song’ as well as several others. To the harder edged songs and the fun easy to sing along Melodic Rock song, ‘Slinging Dirt’, that made this rocker girl just want to get up and twirl around swinging my head around to see my hair flow to the beat of the music. In ‘Wreaking Ball’ Reagan lets all hell break loose with his guitar in an instrumental journey that I hope allows him to reflect on his shy childhood with fondness, because he is one heck of a guitar player.
As a reviewer who was also painfully shy as a child the results as an adult can be amazing, On Regan’s debut CD, ‘Comin’ Home’, getting lost in music has definitely paid off. He is a versatile talent who can go from rock to ballads without effort! Performing with the legendary band…
Foghat May 17th at the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano. Though no one can predict the future of an artist’s career, Regan has the voice and onstage charisma to create hits and become a great singer/songwriter. His songs are versatile enough to be commercially viable, and he has great potential to be signed to a major label. Here is hoping that one of the labels sees what all his fans see. A talented singer/songwriter!
Reagan Browne Bio
You saw it coming/Now there’s nothing you can do about it” “Sweet Diane.”
Tall, lanky, dark and handsome, Reagan Browne looks like he should be on the big screen. And that was precisely his idea when he landed in Los Angeles about seven years ago from the tiny southern Texas town of Alice by way of Vermont. He had small roles on the TV shows Ally McBeal and The Parent “Hood” before landing a speaking part in Jerry Bruckheimer’s basketball movie Glory Road, but Reagan soon discovered acting wasn’t his passion. Music was.
“The difference is, I could be perfectly content playing my guitar anywhere,” he explains. “Would I be happy doing a dinner theater in Cleveland? No way.”
The result of that momentous decision is Reagan Browne’s album Comin’ Home, a completely self-made CD available on CD Baby and his MySpace page (www.myspace.com/reaganbrowne), as well as digitally on iTunes and other online retailers.
Representing a return to his musical and geographic roots, Comin’ Home was recorded in Fort Worth, TX’s First Street Audio with co-producer Bart Rose, but Browne provided all the vocals and guitars in a stunning one-man effort that perfectly expresses his varied background.
“I’m High on Loving You” has the twangy surf noir guitars and falsetto harmonies of the Beach Boys crossed with the country regrets of Hank Williams’ classic “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry,” while “Sweet Diane” has a British power-pop feel, fueled by a Velvet Underground-like buzzsaw guitar riff that drives home the story of a disgruntled actress who finally gets her big break, only to let that success drive her crazy. Browne’s love of the thudding heavy metal stomp of Black Sabbath can be heard in the thunderous “Slingin’ Dirt”as well the the Who-meet-Hendrix instrumental freak-out “Wrecking Ball.” The riff-rocker “Let’s Think About Tomorrow” captures the hopefulness tinged with anger about the war in Iraq, while the sweet soulful piano ballad “Sophia’s Song,” to his seven-year-old daughter contains the tender sentiments: “An angel came and rescued me/Like a sinking ship lost out to sea/You’re the thing that keeps me strong/My love for you I’m singing in this song.”
“When I sit down to write, the biggest thing is creating good melodies,” says Browne. “Singing harmonies is also important, but I’m really a guitar guy, so the heavy stuff is my 1 passion.”
His eclectic influences come from listening to his neighbors’ discarded vinyl collection in his room as a child, with the Beatles, Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers (“the one with the zipper”), Black Sabbath’s Masters of Reality and Billy Joel among his favorites.
In kindergarten, he discovered the acoustic guitar when a classmate brought one in for “show and tell.” Within 30 minutes, he was entertaining the class by playing the riff from “Satisfaction.” It wasn’t until he was 12 that he picked up the instrument full-time, enthralled by viewing clips of Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page and Eddie Van Halen.
“I’m dyslexic, so I could never read music,” he admits. “When I took classical guitar classes in high school, I would have to look at the page and pretend I was reading to fool the professor.
“I basically learned how to play by ear, which is probably the best thing that could have happened to me in terms of my songwriting, as it helped me develop my instincts for what would work in terms of the listener.”
Playing in cover bands, he avoided the microphone until others encouraged him to sing.
“I just decided, if I really wanted to do this, I had to start writing my own songs, and doing the vocals myself,” he says.
The result is Comin’ Home, the perfect showcase for both his warm vocals and impressive guitar stylings, which range from the bluesy feel of “Something Real” to the wah-wah workout of “For the Very First Time,” from the streamlined The Edge-like sizzle of “Sweet Diane” to the psychedelic fuzztones of “Slingin’ Dirt” and “Wrecking Ball.”
“I had the chance to use a lot of amps and guitars, including several Les Pauls and Stratocasters, in the studio,” he says. “I wanted to use a little something different on every song, so each would have a unique color.”
As for lyrical themes, much of the album is about being lovelorn, break-ups, bad relationships, the tug of the past set against the uncertainty of the future. Songs like “For the Very First Time” (“The lights went out on you/For the very first time”) and “Something Real” (“I’m going away/That’s what you said as you walked out of my life”) mourn the ones that left him behind. “Sweet Diane” (“All that you wanted/Was your face in a magazine”) and “When It Rains” (“So stop worrying about the things/That make the drama unfold”) are about people who can’t stand prosperity, while the hopeful “Sophia’s Song” and “You Got Me” tell his daughter he’ll always be there for her.
“My writing tends to go from one extreme to the other,” he nods. “It’s either about true love for somebody, or how things went south.”
At this point, Reagan Browne is ready to take his songs to the public. He admits it’s a lot different than making a movie or a TV show, where you have to wait to hear people’s reactions.
“The great thing about doing music is the instant feedback I get from all over the world when I put the songs up on MySpace,” he says. “People are already asking when they can buy the album or see me perform.”
For Reagan Browne, his debut album represents more than a return to his native state of Texas…it marks a homecoming to a place that he is increasingly making his own: as a singer/songwriter and guitarist.
“This is what I was meant to do all along,” he says. “I’m finally doing what everybody thought I should be doing from the get-go, and that’s playing music.”
Thankfully for us, Comin’ Home is the result. The acting world’s loss is pop music’s gain.
By: Roy Trakin
Senior Editor, HITS Magazine
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