Mike Brookfield: Brookfield Review

Mike Brookfield follows up first release with the self-titled Brookfield. Living in Dublin currently the English born guitar whiz hooked up with Celtic rocker Eamon Carr the drummer and lyricist for the band Horslips and Eamon provided the lyrics that Mike then composed songs around.

This album starts with “A Message for Willie Johnson,” which is a modern blues and biographical account of the great bluesman Blind Willie Johnson. Most do not realize that Blind Willie was a preacher which makes Mike’s use of the line “Jesus sent a message to sinners far and wide. The message was Willie Johnson who spread the light” all the more poignant. “Beaten to Death by the Blues” is an upbeat tribute to the all those bluesmen and rockers who have passed before their time. Things develop a Hendrix influence with the frenetic “Zombie Craze,” which is a comment on many things including our cell phone obsession and even some of the soulless zombie tunes that passes as music.

Things take a much more introspective the slow blues of “Suitcase Blues.” There is a southern delta feel with some plaintive guitar solos that suit the tone of this track perfectly. Next up is a spacey atmospheric opening that was created solely through manipulating the sounds of his guitar on “Living In A Better World,” which morphs into a upbeat song. It has a great soaring guitar line that repeats through the song and the lyrics ask us to question whether despite the optimistic pulse of the song if regardless of all we have achieved as a society are we really living in a better world? The influence of Doyle Bramhall II and Charlie Sexton is evident in the rocking “Letter From The Devil,” which is a riff on a line out of Son House’s “Death Letter Blues.”

“High Class Shoes” is a down and dirty blues about dangerous women. It is basically a warning to watch out for those high class shoes. A little bit of country blues make an appearance in “This Restless Heart” with its doubled up vocals and loping rhythm. “Written In Chains” closes things out with a laid-back groove and ultra-expressive lyrics that ebb and flow surging to a solo that fittingly closes out the album.

Mike gives us an album that is introspective with some deep subject matter but does it a way that keeps you on your toes throughout with the key, tone and tempo changes. There’s plenty of interesting things happening on this album to keep you entertained for a while.

The Review: 8/10

Can’t Miss Tracks

– Suitcase Blues
– Living In a Better World
– Letter From The Devil
– Written In Chains

The Big Hit

– Living In a Better World

Review by Kevin O’Rourke

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