Meet Garreth Broesche (pronounced BRAY-shuh), a multitalented musician from Texas who plays Bach every day but has now independently released his first CD, The Garreth Broesche Trio.
If you walked into a Texas bar, you might mistake this recording for a live Dixie/swing band playing in the corner.
“Blue Moose,” one of only two Broesche originals on this record, shuffles as would the patrons in any one of the bars at which Broesche frequently plays around Austin, TX. Although he plucks a mandolin, Broesche’s debt to the 1920s and '30s shines through this music. The breaks and solos come in rapid succession. “My New Girlfriend” is a blast. The cheeky lyrics inspire laughter and provide a wonderful rhythmic follow up to the album opening, comprising 120 seconds of sauciness that we’ve enjoyed at a million weddings.
The Garreth Broesche Trio clearly demonstrates a fundamental knowledge of the tradition. However, the apparent live playing experience of the musicians animates the music in ways that make this a raw recording. “I had been playing with the bassist for some time, but the other two guys were hired for the session,” says Broesche. “We played a grand total of about a half hour together before we started to roll the tape.”
“Lazybones” sets a nice swinging groove in a simple structure that stresses solos. One gets a picture of musicians on their studio stools, heads bowed over their instruments, bobbing to the beat. Garreth Broesche, himself a recording engineer, admits the biggest weakness of this recording: “I feel the CD is a little too ‘safe’ sounding.”
Recording has always been brutally objective. It clarifies and identifies the musicians’ technical weaknesses. In this case, Broesche picks and strums soulfully, but the technical delivery suggests that his heart soars to places that his playing has yet to reach. Broesche can look forward to developing a clinical approach that will manifest itself in more polished future records. This one is a good start.
Gershwin’s “Nice Work if You Can Get It” is a nice three minute instrumental that serves as a great jam project. In fact, the whole album might have been enhanced with more jamming. But this collection of music gets better as it progresses. “Caravan” grooves nicely in a context that makes Broesche’s playing a compelling backbone. It helps that this song ranges beyond five minutes. Improvisation thrives with time. Monk’s “Straight, No Chaser” closes this 37-minute album much as it starts: like a live appearance. At the conclusion, one almost expects Broesche to say, “We’ll be back in 15. Come back now, y’hear?”
Music is much the better for the heartfelt efforts of independent artists like Garreth Broesche. If the recording needs a cleaning and the playing needs some shine, Broesche will have ample opportunity to reach those goals in subsequent projects. The victory of The Garreth Broesche Trio is in the try.
Personnel: Garreth Broesche, mandolin, tenor guitar(s), vocals; Lindsay Green, bass (tracks 1-6); Chris Gage,
guitar, accordion (tracks 1-6); Paul Pearcy, drums (tracks 1-6); J.D. Pendley, guitar (tracks 7-9); Rob
Jewett, bass (tracks 7-9).