Bryan Field,
(CD Freedom, 2004)

Bryan Field is a singer/songwriter/guitar player from Tennessee. Bryan's second CD, 2004's Way, has 11 tracks (one is hidden) and a clear folk sound to it. The lyrics often have a spiritual feel to them -- sometimes strong, sometimes very subtle. This is not surprising, as Bryan has a background as a church pastor and campus minister.

The title track has some strange lyrics. I don't think I've ever heard someone sing about dragons, pirate ships and potato chips in the same line before. The chorus is where this song truly shines. Another singer provides excellent harmony vocals to Bryan's voice. With this particular song, the lyrics do not really talk to me. They often seem a little nonsensical. I think words were added for their sounds, their rhyming capability. Still, there is a hook here beyond the chorus that makes this one of the better tracks on the CD.

"What's Been Giving" definitely has a positive message. The singer examines his life and through reflection on both the joys and pains he has experienced, he rediscovers his life. "There's no need to look outside for worth of who we are/it comes from deep inside...." Open your eyes to see your blessings and go follow your dreams.

The cello playing on "Lullaby for Meagan" grabbed me right away. The lyrics kept my attention. I'm pretty sure Meagan is Bryan's daughter. You can feel the love as he sings and plays guitar softly to his child. "Sleep Meagan, sleep ... when you wake we'll be here ... teaching you from the start how to live your own life." Any of you with small children will connect with this track (even if your child is not named Meagan).

Several musicians back Bryan up on Way. Rob Seals is very busy with bass, acoustic, electric, slide, high-stung and baritone guitars, dobro, mandolin, piano and ebow. Dale Baker plays drums and percussion. Brian Hoffman is on the cello. David Lamotte, David Holtzclaw and Laurelyn Dossett provide harmony vocals.

My first impression with the first couple of songs on Way was that this was a decent folk CD. Unfortunately, as the CD comes to a close, listeners will agree that there are some weak spots. The instrumentation is fine. The melodies are pleasant. It is the vocals that sometime falter. I enjoy most of the harmonies. I like the sound of the singers when they stay in their comfort range. When they stray, I cringe. If I was listening to these songs live, I would be more forgiving, but when I am listening to a canned CD, I have come to expect a little more polish -- especially since songs can be recorded again if one makes a mistake. Still, since I can easily skip the few tracks that are not up to the level of the majority, I will keep listening to Way by Bryan Field.

by Wil Owen
15 July 2006

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