Nowhere Is Brighter

Nowhere Is Brighter

by Garrin Benfield


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Nowhere Is Brighter

Garrin Benfield sings and plays with authority on Nowhere Is Brighter, his wonderful follow-up to the Living a Dream release from 2000. "Hungry Ghost" is a strong opening track, anticipating guitars building up to the repeating chorus of "not enough." Many of these are relationship songs and "Hungry Ghost" is one of 11 titles where Benfield speaks his mind from the first person. It's hard to grasp if these are fictional or true events, but the singer's emotional frustration bubbles over on "Brother" and one can see why a significant other may pull a vanishing act on him: "You're my brother/But lately you're acting more like my mother/I can't drink/I can't smoke." Janis Joplin said to Dick Cavett, "How can you put down the people that love you?," and Benfield answers that question with pretty melodies, hooks, and lots of quiet anger. Sixteen songs and almost 70 minutes of music allow the singer/songwriter a chance to stretch his crisp melodies and precise lyrics into the three- to four-minute pop format that he finds so comfortable. It is really like a double album and the co-production by labelmate Michael Rodriguez is warm and clear, pulling you in on a song like "Will" with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young-style acoustics over a solitary vocal; different from the drive of most of the productions here, it has that lovely "Wooden Ships" feel that Jefferson Starship's Paul Kantner uses every night on-stage. This is West Coast music for sure, but with more of an edge than the J.D. Souther and Jackson Browne sounds of the '80s. Dark overtones keep things from getting too sweet, though "Tonight, I Know" is the Eagles meets the Raspberries, a light pop tune with George Harrison guitar lines and vocals kind of like Pete Ham from Badfinger. "The Sense That I Get" is pop/blues with Boz Scaggs showing up on additional rhythm guitar and the second solo. It swoops in like early Steve Miller Band before Miller went commercial and adds a nice change of pace. "Crazy Love"'s suspicion slides right into the Cajun guitars of "Brother." The latter part of the album abandons the radio-perfect sound of "Hungry Ghost" and "Tonight, I Know" for more traditional folk, making Nowhere Is Brighter a musically and lyrically deep record from a performer with a lot on his mind: seeking therapy and finding a focused outlet.

Product Details

Release Date: 05/28/2002
Label: Cd Baby
UPC: 0656613824122
catalogNumber: 5637305613

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