Guitar Legend Gary Brewer Releases “Old Brown Case”

When you take big acoustic guitars that are as bold as they come in the roots music genre, old school grit and focused, self-aware play that isn’t shy about laying all the cards on the table when the time is right, you get a golden-tinted instrumental single in the style of “Old Brown Case,” the latest release from Gary Brewer. Much like its parent album, which is also out this summer, the virtuosic “Old Brown Case” bears in its title the name a sense of reverence we cannot escape, and in its music, the pristine polish of the best of what acoustic music can produce on the underground side of the dial these days. It’s a juggernaut of a guitar track, and easily one of the most stylish songs that I have heard from Brewer to date.

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Brewer’s technique complements the sizzle of the melodies excellently, and at times the two become inseparable when breaking down the most prominent points in the song. The tempo rumbles with incredulous angst that bleeds into the pace of the rest of the track, but the percussive thrust of the strings still manages to bind everything together, even when it feels like the energy is more chaotic than a sporadic fight. Brewer never lets the music become so feisty that we’re drawn away from his amazing focus, and his aesthetical angle engages us just as much as the freewheeling swing of the rhythm does.

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Unlike a lot of roots songs, which utilize a straightforward, somewhat analog-inspired style of production, “Old Brown Case” shows off its countless layers of texture and never once tries to smother its unambiguous tonality in pointless frills and fluff. Brewer is very confident here and lays down a track that has the look and feel of a live performance given before a large crowd of admiring fans. His energy is off the charts-infectious, and while he doesn’t dwarf the skills of his equally gifted peer group in the underground at this moment in history, there’s never any question as to who the boss of the scene is.

The rhythm of “Old Brown Case” churns in stereo with impunity, tugging us left and right while Brewer remains centered amongst the sonic warfare he’s refereeing. Musically, he forges one of the most supple and richly evocative tones I’ve heard in the last few years. This single is devoid of the synthesized grooves and inarticulate lyricism that the current establishment has been making bank on during the 20s, and in their place, we find only earnest play skewed by rollicking strings that seem to go on for miles.

You don’t have to be a big instrumental enthusiast to fall in love with what Gary Brewer has cooked up for us in his latest release, but for those of us who appreciate a torrid roots work when we come across it, “Old Brown Case” is required listening. Brewer is making just as big a mark on the music industry as some of the most buzzed names in all of the industry, and so far he’s been doing it more convincingly than anyone in his class.

Rachel Townsend

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