2007 Acoustic Solo Album from Spaceseed/San Francisco Blue/Bibb City Ramblers Brian Fowler
Brian Fowler is a multifaceted musician and producer. Fowler has an impressive resume having shared stages with the likes of Hawkwind Legend Harvey Bainbridge, Charlie Daniels, Dr. Hook, Nik Turner, and Jefferson Airplane Founding Member Bob Harvey. He's a twenty year veteran of the music scene and works with scores of bands including, Bibb City Ramblers, Superczar, and Spaceseed and San Fransico Blue and T.O.T.M (Ambient Spacerock).
Fountain City Blues is Fowler's homage to back porch blue grass instrumental music. One of the impressive things about this disc is that it is a strictly one man deal. Brian plays all the instruments. Fowler produced it himself and over half the tunes are originals. This disc features Fowler doing some intricate plucking and strumming on the guitar, bass, mandolin, and he even takes a stab at the violin.
Fountain City Blues opens up with an original called White Tail Ridge which is a sweet taste of the great sounds to come. The time change in the middle of White Tail Ridge is so subtle and deft you hardly notice it shifting into high gear until the tune is speeding by you. It takes a breezy tune on a hairpin turn.
The traditional Train 45 is next. This track features some nice jangly guitar harkening back to the days of the Yardbirds and beyond.
Then we get the title track. The mando and the guitar swing off each other perfectly. There's so much going on the track it takes repeated listens to get your ears around everything that's going on. Fowler stretches his musical muscles on this one for sure.
Fowler covers Little Sadie next. There are some deep romantic slices of violin in his version.
Foggy Mountain Breakdown is another cover song. This one has a sweet waltz feel. Really nice for some slow dancing and romancing.
Port Columbus Blues features some spacey theremin whirls in the background. Ok I know that sounds like a weird thing to have going on in a blue grass tune but it works. It's hard to say why. Maybe it's because it adds a psych quality to an otherwise standard arrangement or maybe it's because the mandolin floats over the ethereal tones. Whatever the reasons it works out well and is a welcome component to this number.
Fowler gives us a rousing rendition of House of the Rising Sun. There's a stirring quality to Fowlers thick attack of the guitar.
Concrete Soldier has a strong melody that takes you away to a different age. You can really feel like your only care is sipping your mint julep as this song fills you up.
Ghost of Andersonville has some striking mandolin tremolos that hang expertly on top of thick acoustic guitar chords. There are some nice Kentucky style sweeps of the violin that really fill the space on what starts as a breezy number then turns into what might almost be called "proggrass" with some great time and structure changes creeping into the tune.
His cover of Amazing Grace is well, very spiritual. You can feel Fowler pouring himself into all the moving mando tremolos that decorate this tune.
Eufaula is another Fowler original. This is a fast paced number and you can hear Fowler's fingers flying over the mandolin. This is a great knee slapping dance number. You'll have to fight to keep your feet from moving to this tune.
The disc closes out with a rendition of the traditional Weeping Willow. It feels like there's a whole band blazing away on this one. You can't help but feel like your at the local dance hall on summer night with your best gal or guy and you're ready to cut the rug one more time.
The whole disc has a deceptively under produced and casual feel to it like it was done in a single afternoon but repeated listens reveal that to be untrue. The complexity of the playing and songs speak to long hours of writing, recording, and mixing.
This a great disc for chilling on the deck, barbecuing, cruising on a backwoods road, or watching a summer sun set.