Brian Canning resides in Glendale, California with his wife and two children. Canning has been writing songs for other artists, scoring music for commercials and writing songs for movies and touring in bands for a healthy amount of time. Old Flames is his debut solo album.
This was an album that drew me in on the first listen. The music is warm and inviting but also melancholy and reflective. It’s got a folk oriented Americana sort of feel not too far from Wilco and mainly deals with the ashes of previous romantic relationships.
The opener “Never Loved A Girl’ and just has a classic late ’60s lower east side vibe. It starts with acoustic guitar and vocals but quickly fills up with an entire band. Everyone plays what's needed and no more. Fantastic introduction.
The opener was not a fluke. “I Don’t Care Anymore” is an exceptional song. Those Wilco vibes are strong in this song. I loved the chorus where he delivers the lines “I don’t care anymore.” It’s not sad or like he’s giving up. The feeling is cathartic and freeing.
He continues to have success with “Gentle Collapse.” There’s some spoken word on this song which sounds familiar in a Conor Oberst type of way. The chorus is warm, memorable and emotionally resonant. “I Will Always Love, The Person I Thought You Were” is such a beautiful sentiment just on its own but the song matches the feeling of that statement.
“Rebecca” is uplifting and catchy. It could be interpreted as being about unrequited love. If the delivery was off, this song could be a bit creepy because of the lyrics but it doesn't come off like that. Canning continues to hit it out of the park with a tender song about death called “Sweet Land.”
“And They Sleep in Separate Bedrooms” is an intimate song with some fantastic guitar. Some of the lyrics about not being tempted by his girlfriend's sister made me giggle in the beginning but not in a bad way. As the song progresses it is lush and warm.
“Wasting All Your Time” is probably the most chipper sounding song in mood while the reflective “It’s Not Broken” is the most melancholy but both were beautiful in their own way. I loved the Simon & Garfunkel flavor.
The Grammys happened recently. I was looking at the nominations and half of the “musicians” didn’t even seem to know how to play an instrument. It felt like I was looking at brands with glossy production. It was disappointing and sad being a musician myself for over twenty-five years. In some versions of the multiverse Old Flames would be recognized far and wide for what it is which is the sound of a very talented musician who sounds like he’s playing in a room with actual instruments. Highly recommended.
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