“American Courage” by Singer/Songwriter Brian Seymour 

American Courage is a ten-track outing from singer/songwriter Brian Seymour and his first such collection in a decade. He highlights his social concerns over the course of the song cycle and Seymour contends with the lingering effects and aftershocks of the pandemic, but don’t mistake these songs are broadsides ripped from headlines and set to music. There’s a personal touch that transforms the compositions into uniquely intimate works revealing just as much about the man behind the art as it does his points of view on our world at large. The songs may seem, at times, about a particular subject but, ultimately, American Courage is about how Brian Seymour relates to the world around him, circa 2023.

URL: https://www.brianseymour.com/

He never outright addresses the world we live in. Songs such as the album’s first, “Always Leaving”, and its successors are reflections of the times filtered through his experiences and consciousness. The opener embraces an acoustic singer/songwriter slant without ever sounding cliché. Much of the reason why lies with Seymour’s voice. He has a marvelously expressive vocal instrument that smacks of bluesy influence and countless miles. It isn’t the prettiest voice in the world, by conventional standards, but nonetheless has an unique beauty that stands out in modern music.

The slinky and unusual groove along with horns permeating “So Much Love” is a standout moment. Listeners of every stripe will likely love Seymour’s raspy but always musical vocals and his yearning lyrics are convincing line by line. It isn’t a revolutionary sentiment he’s pushing with the song’s message, but its sincerity is unquestionable. The album’s title song is arguably the collection’s finest moment. Seymour deserves nothing but plaudits for melding stately piano, a substantial lyrical statement, a deeply felt vocal, and strings into an instant classic. It’s the most emphatic expression of his ambition behind the release and is impossible to forget.

Pop genius helps transform “Everyday Girl” from a plaintive piano ballad into a full-on gem with mass appeal and an outstanding chorus of backing vocals. Seymour invests so much of himself into this song, much like the remainder of the album, and envelops performances such as this with exquisite sensitivity. “Slowing Down” is another winner. It’s many things and a meditation on time’s inevitable march and the progression of our lives stands near the forefront. Seymour has a keen inner eye that latches onto imagery and pinpoints statements anyone over thirty will relate to. The vocal arrangement ranks among the best on American Courage.

“Jigsawed” is another introspective tune. Seymour’s reflectiveness about love and the price we pay for putting our hearts on the line has endless value on this album. The slow development of the song’s arrangement steers our attention toward Seymour’s message without ever undercutting the song’s musical virtues. A final reflection on the value of love in an often loveless world comes with the closer “What Love Is”. Such a song title smacks of grand ambitions, as if a single track could ever answer such a multi-faceted question, but Seymour does an excellent job of delineating what that exalted feeling means to him. His much-ballyhooed sincerity is in full evidence throughout American Courage, but it’s never trite. It speaks to us and our humanity in ways that you’ll always remember.

Chadwick Easton


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