Lachlan Bryan: Shadow of the Gun
Australian country man Lachlan Bryan has a day job as front man for the Wildes, but his debut solo effort sees him with a set of carefully crafted songs that have a strong feel for the mellow craft of classic country music. His richly-timbred voice fronts arrangements that recall but do not pastiche old Nashville favourites, and he is joined by some great players to bring this all to fruition. Most notable amongst these would be Kasey Chambers duetting on the lead single Whistle and Waltz, and her father Bill contributing steel guitar.
Love songs, heartbreak songs and dips into the territory epitomised by the Steve Earle/Jason Ringenberg song Bible And A Gun are all here; that fascination (male) country artists have with the dichotomy between God and the gun as the answer to your problems is taken up with some enthusiasm though I’m not sure that this is a man who’s ever given rein to his inner outlaw. Rather, this sounds like a man who is a songwriter through and through, fascinated with the craft of making a piece of music that works. For me, that craftsmanship has rather got in the way of displaying the fire in his belly that would make this album really come alive but I keep coming back for another listen because there’s no denying the skill at work here. When it comes down to it, there’s a far bigger audience for thoughtful, mellow country music than for the products from the spiky end of the alt-country scene, and Lachlan Bryan sounds like a fellow to find a long career in Australia and beyond.