Bushmaster Featuring Gary Brown – Dancing In The Belly Of The Beast | Album Review

Bushmaster Featuring Gary Brown – Dancing In The Belly Of The Beast

GEM Records


14 tracks

Gary Brown is the Bushmaster and he has written all 14 of these great new songs.  This is his fifth album and first since 2011.  It includes many songs about the injustices that he and we all see almost everyday in society.

Born in Washington, D.C., Gary grew up with a diverse group of friends and was exposed to music all his life.  His mother turned to church music while Gary was young but that did not deter him from listening to everything whenever he could. He played guitar since he was 11 and after high school he wasn’t sure what he wanted to do.  He was at a Charlie Pastorfield and the Believers show and met the band (and his future wife Trudi) at the break.  Pastorfield invited him up for a solo in the second set and Brown found his calling.

The album feature his band and some great guests. Gary Brown is on guitar and vocals. Justin Kimball is on bass, Justin Pinkney is on drums, Tim McDonald is on keyboards, and Daniel Weston Cohen is on slide guitar.  Backing vocals are provided by the great Tracy Nelson and Vickie Carrico. Recorded at Sound Emporium Studios in Nashville, the album is produced by Geoff Wilbourn.

The album begins with “Profile,” a tune about what cops often do with people of color. The song itself has an up tempo beat and offers a slick guitar solo while the lyrics describe a continuing issue with law enforcement.  “Ajax And The Hot Wax” is a tune of unrequited love, at least in a sense. A funky groove, cool lyrics, and a slick guitar solo sell this one. “Song For Freddie Gray” is another song with a social justice theme.  Freddie Gray died due to spinal cord injuries while being transported in a police van in Baltimore in 2015.  A driving (almost marching) beat and strident, forceful vocals  make this quite effective a message and a good song. Next up is “The Blues,” a funked-up and cool cut about the labor of Brown’s love.  A couple of big solos spice this up sweetly, too. “Nowhere To Stand” is more commentary about the problems of violence and shootings, whether it be in altercations in the neighborhood or with the authorities. This is a slow blues with a throbbing beat, a big organ sound and more of Gary’s guitar.  Well done! “Mushroom” is next, a cool, angry, rocking tune about love gone wrong. “Miss Sexyfine” is a funky number Brown delivers with authority. He delivers a stinging guitar solo mid song to sweeten the pot.

“40 Acres And A Mule” is a driving blues about the broken promise to African Americans during the Reconstruction period after the Civil War.  Brown sings he’s waiting for his promise to be fulfilled, being stuck in low paying jobs and paying into a future 40 acres a mule that never will come.  Some very slick guitar work is featured here, too. Next is “Army Of Two,” a love song with super backing vocals. “Elevator” is a song warning his woman that the elevator goes two ways; more great guitar work here once again. The heavy funk groove of “Pressure Cooker” makes for a good backdrop for the commentary of how life has heated up and is ready to explode with unnecessary violence and injustice.  Brown offers another stinging guitar solo, this time to take things home. “Jekyll and Hyde” is a slow blues about a relationship gone bad with a two faced woman– very well done with more great guitar and the organ adding an almost church-like feel to the cut. “Profit from Pain” is a cut about greed and poor treatment of employees; more great commentary and music! “Thing Back Home” concludes the set. Tim Jones is on acoustic guitar in this commentary about the current top administration in D.C.

Brown does not hold back his feelings here in this great CD about life in the U.S.  He’s penned and played 14 great songs and has put together his best album yet– this is some powerful stuff.

This is one heck of a CD; mixing blues and funk, the Bushmaster’s got a real winner here!

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