Brad Belt "Some Stories Need Tellin’"
Mad Mama Music; 2012
This is clearly a homemade album, which in these days does not necessarily mean a lo-fi effort. Belt begins with bluesy rock tunes, which are competent enough and show some skill in arrangement as they have a nice swing to them. The third song, “Cold, Cold Ground”, offers up a stronger folk effort with a classic feeling throughout. After that it is a mix of blues, rock, country rock, and instrumentally a bit of bluegrass now and then. The vocals are good and the recording is strong enough so you do not think of this as a homemade project. But skilled musicians everywhere are proving that. Ultimately, Brad Belt does himself proud with this fine collection of songs.
© David Hintz
Brad Belt: Press
Some Stories Need Tellin'
Movie Soundtrack Song of the Year: Candle by Gwendolyn Edwards and Brad Belt
Brad's New CD "Painted Eyes" is a Milestone in His Ongoing Creative Musical Journey. Not Only is It a Musical Achievement In and of Itself... It Is a Complex Mixture of Earthy Romance, Heartbreak, Human Struggle and Spiritual Inspiration. "Painted Eyes" Does Not Give Up It's Secrets Easily... And Requires a Repeated Audience to Recognize and Appreciate the "Love & Truth" that Essentially Drives Its Unfolding "Heart Felt" Messages... And "Muse" of The Artist. There are Many Excellent to Great Songs on This CD. I Guarantee that Everyone Will Be Able to Relate to These "Real Life" Songs... In One Way or Another. Don't Miss This One...
Vanuit Illinois in het Amerikaanse Zuiden kregen we een mooi plaatje toegestuurd van Brad Belt, een al wat oudere singer-songwriter die sinds vele jaren aan de weg timmert en met dit “Painted Eyes” zijn vierde full-cd op de markt gooit. Zijn kracht ligt in het insluiten van emoties, persoonlijke ervaringen en gevoelens in de teksten van zijn liedjes. Liefde, spiritualiteit, menselijke relaties en relatieproblemen vormen de kern van de nummers op zijn cd’s. Muzikaal worden die teksten ondersteund door lichte folk-, rock- en popmuziek. Brad Belt groeide als kind op in het landelijke Amerika waar hij leerde om aandachtig te observeren wat er allemaal om hem heen gebeurde. Zijn liedjesteksten zijn daardoor vaak hele verhalen of een beschrijving van een reis doorheen stukjes Amerikaanse cultuur. Dat geldt ook voor de songs op zijn vorige cd’s “Movin’ On” uit 2003, “Long Time Dead” uit 2002 en “Golf Is A Cussin’ Game” uit 2001. Met zijn gevoel voor ritme en harmonie vermengt hij zijn stem met moderne instrumentatie en het verzorgde arrangement van de liedjes zorgt voor een knap afgewerkt geheel. In zijn dagelijkse leven heeft Brad Belt nog een andere grote passie naast het maken van muziek, namelijk golf spelen. Over de links tussen beide hobby’s had hij het in de songs op zijn eerste plaat. In zijn meegestuurde biografie omschrijft hij zijn karakter als dat van een ‘eeuwige optimist’ en ook dat kan je in enkele liedjes op “Painted Eyes” terug horen. Ook geeft hij aan dat zijn muzikale inspiratiebronnen te zoeken zijn bij o.a. John Prine, Steve Earle, Don Henley, Ray Charles en John Fogerty. Als we het nu nog eventjes over de liedjes op de recentste cd mogen hebben. “Someone Is Sorry” is een mooie, emotievol gezongen ballade die bij mij herinneringen oproept aan Kevin Montgomery. Dat geldt in iets mindere mate ook voor “Baby Come See Me Tonight”. De titeltrack “Painted Eyes” is meteen het mooiste liedje uit deze 13 eigenhandig geschreven songs bevattende plaat. De wat vibrerende stem van Brad Belt in dit nummer en het monotone gitaar-riffje geven het liedje een wat mysterieus tintje en bevestigt het gezegde “eenvoud kan mooi zijn”. Met een titel als “Nothing Like A Sad Song” is al meteen een goede omschrijving van de inhoud van dit liedje gegeven. Ook countryrock kreeg een plaatsje op de cd in de vorm van “Just To Be With You” en “Some Days (Are Meant For Flyin’)”. Op zijn sterkst is Brad Belt echter in de gevoelig gezongen ballades zoals “Want For Nothing”, “Hypnotized” en “Only Me”. Aan het einde van de plaat krijg je dan wel even het gevoel dat het allemaal een beetje van hetzelfde laken een broek is. Maar individueel bekeken staat elke song toch nog steeds stevig in zijn schoenen. En van hoeveel hedendaagse zogeheten succesalbums kunnen we dat nog zeggen. “Painted Eyes” is een onderhoudende en gezellige plaat.
Translated to English:
From Illinois, in the Southern part of America, we received a nice CD, from
Brad Belt, a somewhat older singer-songwriter, who has been working on his
career, for several years, and this time, hits the market with his 4th CD,
His strength is his ability, to include emotions, personal experiences, and
feelings, in his lyrics of his songs. Love, spirituality, human relations,
and relationship problems, are the foundation for his songs on the CD.
Musically, the lyrics are being supported by light folk, rock, and pop
music. Brad Belt grew up as a child, in rural America, where he learned to
observe intensely, what was going on, around him. Therefore, his lyrics are
based on stories or trips through America culture. The same goes for the
songs on his previous CD's, "Moving On", in 2003, "Long Time Dead", in 2002,
and "Golf is a Cussing' Game", in 2001.
His rhythm and harmony skills combines his voice with modern instrumentation
and the proper arrangements of the songs, puts it all together well. In his
daily life, Brad's other passion is golf. Linking both hobbies together were
some of the topics on his first CD. In his auto biography, he describes
himself as an eternal optimist, and it shows in some of his songs on the CD
"Painted Eyes". As his musical influences he refers to John Prine, Steve
Earle, Don Henley, Ray Charles, and John Fogerty.
Getting back to the songs on the recent CD, "Someone is Sorry", is a beautiful emotional ballad, which reminds me of Kevin Montgomery. The same goes somewhat, for "Baby, Come See Me Tonight". The title track "Painted Eyes", is definitely the best song out of these 13 self penned songs. The sort of vibrating voice, of Brad Belt, and the monotone guitar riff, ad some mystery to the tune, and confirms that "keeping it simple can be better". The title "Nothing like a Sad Song", speaks for itself. Even country-rock found a place on the album, in the form of "Just to be with you", and "Some Days (Are Meant for Flying). Brad is at his best with the heartfelt ballads, like "Want for Nothing", "Hypnotized",
and "Only Me".
By the end of the CD, you may get the feeling, that it all sounds the same.
But when you look at the songs, individually, they seem very strong. And how
many times can we say that today, with all these current so-called success
albums in circulation. "Painted Eyes" is an entertaining and fun record.
"Painted Eyes" by Brad Belt is an enjoyable adult rock album that speaks of faith, life experiences and companionship. Brad has a very nice, soothing voice with a great "storyteller" quality to it. You'll also notice a touch of country in his delivery. This is a romantic album with simple, but complimentary arrangements. Everything comes together very nicely. The production quality is very good and the lyrics are right up front and very clear. You certainly hang on every word while listening. The songwriting provides memorable choruses. Highlights include "Painted Eyes" with a rebellious electric guitar riff and a nice boy meets girl story. "Some Days (Are Meant For Flyin’)" features a quirky country/blues arrangement and has a ton of personality. "Only Me" has a nice piano progression and a nice vocal performance. If you enjoy adult rock with relevant, real-world lyrics and memorable songwriting, you’ll enjoy this excellent CD.
. . . listening to Harry Chapin... "He Hits Hard, so don't live in His World too Long"... and I thought that the same could be said about Your Soulful and Heartfelt Creation "Moving On". . . . Those Are The Characteristics of "Great Music"... and This CD Shows Many Elements of Greatness.
Long Time Dead
Two very different sides of fiftysomething home recordist Brad Belt. As its title implies, Golf Is A Cussin' Game is a collection of songs for and about golfers, presented with a country twang and tongue firmly in cheek. Belt's adroit songcraft and tightly focused subject matter have combined to make Golf Is A Cussin' Game an underground hit among duffers and the album has to an extent become Brad's calling card. Which is a pity, because Long Time Dead is a much more personal, serious and worthwhile endeavor. Dedicated to the memory of Belt's late brother Gary and largely concerned with matters of mortality, the album unfolds at a leisurely (less patient listeners may even say dirge-like) pace, framing Brad's insightful musings in moody, country-tinged arrangements reminiscent of John Prine or late-career Bob Dylan. Golf may crack 'em up at the clubhouse, but Long Time Dead scores an Eagle in my book.
When you hear Brad Belt’s songs, you hear life in all its many moods and colors. The things of which Belt sings are the sensitive and complex human issues that haunt all of us. . . The lyrics, although wistful and sad, are intelligent and introspective. “Long Time Dead” draws its life from life itself, with all the joys and sorrows that come along the way. . . The emotional depth of his lyrics provides a picture of a very rich man.
Brad - I received your album (Long Time Dead) and liked it a lot! It's obvious that you put a ton into it .. . I already put it into rotation over the weekend. Thanks for setting GidaFolk up with some great music to play for everyone and for sharing all your work - I'm sure the listeners will enjoy it as I have.
Golf Is A Cussin' Game
Golf Is A Cussin’ Game: Songs by Brad Belt Mad Mama Music
Yet another singer-songwriter has been seduced into translating his love for golf into an album. This one’s idiom is strictly country - the real thing this time, rootsy, occasionally hillbilly, resonances of bluegrass. It’s extremely cheerful stuff: none of the just-had-my-tooth-pulled agonisng of the heartache-country strain. Musically, it is very accomplished. Country is not my genre of preference, but you can’t deny quality.
These songs have good topics - that’s just about the only way to describe them. The lyrics are all perfectly metric, and accompanied by a superbly assured singer in Brad Belt, who plays his guitar with utter proficiency.
“I Don’t Go Golfin’ With My Wife” rehearses an oft-told tale in the recent collections of golf songs we have been listening to.
“Double Bogey Blues” is self-explanatory, and reassuring to the average (golf) player. It is intimidating to an average guitar player.
This guy’s a pro, and has feel for golf - no doubt. If country is your idiom, you’ll love it. Unlike the albums of The Divots and Brandon Ayre, it is not varied. You’re either there or you’re not in this genre. For me, it rose above what I see as country’s limitations, simply by being so well done. A very good listen.
Fess up: you've been yearning for an entire album of country songs about golf, haven't you? Yearn no more; courtesy of Brad Belt, your prayers have been answered. It may be a cliche, but folksy charm is the best way to describe these ten easygoing odes to life on the links. In general, they are paeans to friendship, love, and good old-fashioned values. In some, the game of golf supplies metaphors; others are simply about the "good walk spoiled" itself and what it does to the mind of the enthusiast. Warn the football players in your family: every song is loaded with golf content. You cannot escape. But what's wrong with that? The songs are sugared with gentle humor and spiced with touches of raciness. Belt sings as well as many a better-known country crooner, with a down-home delivery reminiscent of John Prine. The nice production and good performances are all the more impressive since this is a one-man project.
. . songs became "Golf Is A Cussin' Game," 10 country-tinged tunes about getting angry at a little white ball. Belt's song writing is remarkably slick and tuneful, with solid lyrics throughout. This does not sound like a first effort at all."