A little Lyle Lovett, a touch of Paul Thorn’s New Orleans Jazz sound, and songwriting that would make John Mayer quiver- you can definitely hear Brian Chartrand’s influences on his latest album Live At the MIM Theatre, but to stand out and be original is something few have the ability to do. This 13-song live album is an impressive culmination of Brian’s solo work. Not only are Brian’s vocals and acoustic guitar playing mesmerizing, but his band is top notch. Adam Armijo on electric guitar, Mario Mendivil on bass, Lamar Gaines on keys, Mike Florio on drums, and Todd Chuba on percussion really bring these tunes to life. With musicianship and great songs to perform, the MIM in Phoenix is a beautiful venue, as well as a great sounding venue (one of the best, in my opinion), to host a stellar live album.
“Worth the Fight”, the title track off his latest studio album, starts this live set with a well executed pop song, filled with hooky melodies and memorable lyrics. “Is this love… Worth the fight”- a question many people have asked themselves, bringing a common memory with every listener. “Phone Calls from Home” may be one of the most instrumentally and tonally satisfying for music listeners. It’s core is very simple- simple acoustic chords and soft drums, but the bass brings a enhancing groove, while electric guitar brings reverb/ delay drenched erie riffs. The nicely executed solos on this track are definitely a highlight on this record. “Memories of Yesterday” sticks with the same theme as earlier songs, but aims for a more lighthearted feel.
One of my personal favorites on this album, “Ooh Yeah”, brings a touch of that New Orleans sound that many love. It’s also a perfect example of a band that knows when and when not to play. “How Can I” is where I feel the artists channels a little bit of Lyle Lovett (whether intended or not), with it’s slow groove and great dynamics.
The final half of the CD shows the wide array of Brian’s music. “Morning Sun” brings the first fully acoustic number, featuring Adam Armijo on classical guitar. This track is one of the better, highlighting Brian’s vocal ability, reaching falsetto during the chorus. More highlights include “Snow Falling on Woodbridge Street” (which features awe-inspiring musicianship), “Love Like a Radio” (another of my personal favorites- a well written song in every aspect), 9- Minute epic jam aptly named “Summertime Jam”, and the bluesy closing track “Mistake”.
Live At the MIM Theatre is not only a great album, but a diverse album, providing something for everyone. Brian has done a fantastic job on creating his own style that combines jazz, rock, blues, folk, and pop. This has given him the freedom to take his music anywhere. Truly a nice freedom to have as a singer, songwriter, and guitarist. With a band of very talented musicians capable of any genre thrown their way, this album gets an A+. If you’re looking for an album with everything going for it, make sure to pick up a copy of Live At the MIM by Brian Chartrand. Your ears will thank you.
To purchase this CD, Live At the MIM, please visit: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/brianchartrand5
To find out more about Brian and his music, please visit: brianchartrand.com