Nelson Bragg has spent the last several years recording and touring extensively as percussionist and vocalist for Brian Wilson’s touring band, and now the current Beach Boys reunion. On this new album, he works with a stellar cast of musicians including Probyn Gregory and Anny Celsi of The Brian Wilson Band. Unlike 2007’s Day Into Night, Bragg’s compositions are bigger and supported by lusher, richer orchestration. The sound is like a soothing blend of The Byrds, Posies and Dan Fogelberg (with a touch of Beach Boys too). The acapella harmonies usher in “You Could Believe” and we’re treated to a superb jangle filled melody. “What She’s Done To Him” is solid West Coast styled pop with horns accenting each verse. Nelson also covers “Baby Let Your Hair Grow Long” from Brain Wilson’s first solo LP, with a relaxed island feel, dense harmonies in the bridge and horns in the break. The tone of “Steel Derrick 1979” is more along the lines of Gordon Lightfoot and the epic “Let The Cruel World Go” is a piano ballad of the highest order, with a full string accompaniment.
“She Used To Love Me” is my favorite song on the album, with multiple guitar tracks and a sitar lead it recalls latter era Hollies or Beau Brummels. The pastoral twang of “Tyme and Tyde Agree” is another gem of a duet with co-writer Anny Celsi. The Celtic feel of the “Everything I Want To Be” is beautiful, but the instrumentation overshadows the melody here. Overall highly recommended and the production and mastering is done with the audiophile in mind. It’s streaming on his site, so don’t miss this one!