Never mind the bullocks. The new micro-trends in the music business are authenticity and quality. This is good news for Tom Brosseau, whose work has always displayed a level of craftsmanship and singularity that is unmatched by his contemporaries. While so many buzz bands have been focused on copycat production techniques that seem tailor-made for the world of advertising, Brosseau seems to only be interested in securing his spot in the Idiosyncratic Songwriter’s Hall of Fame. His new album for Crossbill Records, Perfect Abandon, was recorded live by John Parish with just a single microphone, and the technique leaves Brosseau’s distinct voice right up front. Meanwhile, his three-piece band lends restrained support, calling to mind the rhythm sections of Buddy Holly and The Velvet Underground. The technical limitations of the recording result in a record that sounds vital and candid; that intangible quality that people refer to when they talk about “how music used to sound.” Brosseau explained, “I have always liked the live sound. There’s an unbound energy present, and when recording in this mode, there’s a feeling it is all happening without a net.” The album’s opening track (and the best origin story I’ve ever heard) tells the tale of how Brosseau came to be called a “Hard Luck Boy.” The song is also a prime example of what Brosseau does best: weave together the commonplace and the otherworldly in a way that just can’t be copied. There’s only one Tom Brosseau. But somehow, there’s still enough to go around.


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