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It seems the world can thank Bryan Gorsira’s wife for her husband’s music. Not only is she the inspiration for much of the material on The Best Years – a collection of the best of Bryan’s work over the last three decades – but without her he may never even have started recording his songs.
Bryan has been writing songs and strumming his acoustic guitar all across America since growing up listening to the great singer-songwriters of the 1970s. But it was only when he decided to record one of his creations professionally as a present for his wife that he realised he could produce a whole album himself.
Anyone hearing this charming, understated but resonant music for the first time will be grateful that Bryan did finally have this revelation. “Humility, with a world-worn wisdom” is how his college-days playing partner accurately describes the mood of Bryan’s songs.
While the warmth of the music can be felt through every song on The Best Years, the styles range far and wide. Given that this is a record some 30 years in the making, this is hardly surprising. From the tender romanticism of the title track through to the Latin inspired Caught and the mystical, other-worldly Generations, The Best Years is an ever-evolving album.
Bryan’s songwriting skills are as at home picking his way through the folksy Americana that is at the heart of all his music as he is upping the tempo for the more blues and soul influence tracks such as Carry Me Away. The voice of Dana Cooper (who Bryan uses on many of these tracks), like the best country and blues artists, sounds like that of a man brought up on bourbon, Lucky Strikes and heartache. Add in to the mix the vocal talents of Julie Forrester, who brings a soulful female touch to many of these songs, and you have a pretty rich musical tapestry.
Producer Tom Manche has expertly kept the rough edges where required but also added a few nice tricks of his own. All of this makes a pretty impressive record, especially by one who claims himself to be an ‘amateur’. If that’s true, then there’s a few pros who should be looking over their shoulders at Bryan Gorsira.
The Best Years is available to buy now.