Secretly Famous is the seventh studio album for preacher/guitarist/vocalist Reverend Jimmie Bratcher, but according to Bratcher, “I really feel like it’s my first.” The Rev explores his roots with a blend of back-porch blues, grime, and hope that feels just right.
Joining Bratcher on the album is Craig Kew on bass, Lester Estelle Jr. on drums, and Rick Steff on keys. Kew’s bass lines are grimy, funky, and soulful at the same time and lift this album to another level. Kew can walk and shuffle hard, but his syncopated, yet melodic bass lines create a masterfully funky groove on several tunes, most notably on “57,” which is one of the best tracks on the album.
Bratcher is a stellar guitar player, and has “the sound” that a true blues vocalist needs. An articulate and strong vocalist, Bratcher has just enough grime in his voice to sound authentic, but also enough power to be versatile, as this eclectic set demonstrates. From a guitar perspective, Bratcher is a very good player. Soaring solos and incredible tone are Bratcher’s hallmarks, and he develops them even further working with multi-Grammy award winning producer Jim Gaines, who has a knack for taking guitar players to other-worldly levels.
This is a good album, well worth listening to, and there’s not a single subpar track on the record. It’s progressive and hard-hitting, but also pays plenty of homage to the blues, country, and rock ‘n’ roll of days gone by.
The Review: 9/10
Can’t Miss Tracks
– Tobacco Road
– When I Fall Apart
– Never My Love
The Big Hit
– Never My Love
Review by Nik Rodewald