You can catch Bruce Brown playing a mean guitar most any day of the week in The Charlie Daniels Band, but with Off The Edge, Bruce steps out front to display his apt skills as a songwriter (he penned all 12 tracks, as well as songs for Mel McDaniel and Travis Tritt by the way) and versatile guitar player.
Opening with the wah-wah guitar instrumental “Trap Jaw,” it becomes apparent quickly that Brown is stretching his wings. This isn’t country or southern rock, but it is infectious, amazing music. Upon listening to the first two tracks, the second being a latin flavored instrumental called “Five Syllables,” I felt like I was playing a Chet Atkins record. Oh, and Bruce busts out the wah-pedal again on the jazzy “Onion Skins,” a really nice cut with some smokin’ B-3 organ. Just tasty guitar perfection.
I was surprised that Bruce didn’t draft Charlie Daniels or any of the CDB to play on his solo record, but I also found that quite refreshing. He has, however, assembled a band that backs him with a lot of style and sheer talent.
While instrumentals are most assuredly at the forefront here, Bruce does do a little singing, and to great effect, especially on the haunting “Before The Fall” and the rocking “Opposites Attract.” The title track, “Off The Edge” is a funky thrill ride that put me in mind of the old Sea Level records that I used to love so much, and “Falling Fast” is another great vocal from Bruce that has an air of Eric Clapton. So good. If you like to hear guitar with a lot of heart and soul, check out Bruce Brown. It’s some fresh and exciting music.
-Michael Buffalo Smith