HGR CD Review: Steve Brosky

STEVE BROSKY – GRATEFUL (no label) Lehigh Valley singer, songwriter, institution and self-proclaimed saloon singer Steve Brosky has lived some life and seen some sights during his lengthy music career that began in the 1980s. His observations and experiences distill into the stories and songs crafted on his sixth album, Grateful. Through the disc’s 11 tracks, Brosky brings his musical stories to life with a seasoned, hearty growl; and his blues-rooted style recalls the storytelling traditions of classic Bruce Springsteen and Tom Waits, with a touch of Dr. John-flavored N’awlins spice for added edge. Brosky celebrates the musician’s life on the disc-opener “Buck a Man Blues,” telling his tale of selling his soul and paying his dues. He waxes hypochondriac on “Ugly N Personal,” and dishes some streety sass and swagger on the frisky “What Do You Mean By That?” Brosky tells the story of a depressing modern-day gig on the sullen “It’s Not the End of the World,” celebrates the allure of a cool car on the romping “My Coupe Deville,” and laments the root of all evil on the hard-driving “It’s Only Money.” “Fred” displays a country flavor, while the rocking “Jimi on Guitar” reveres a master of the fretboard. In a reverent vein, Brosky salutes a generation of forgotten heroes on the two-part “Vietnam Blues,” ending with a colorful jazz interlude homestretch. The warm and appreciative love song title ode “Grateful” finishes the album. Brosky makes each song ring out with personality and character, and his conversational singing style makes the listener immediately feel like they are swapping stories with a longtime friend. Brosky’s backing corps of guitarist Jimmy Meyer, bassist Suavek Zaniesienko, drummer Jim Ruffi, keyboardist Dan McKinney, trumpeter/flugelhorn player Wayne Dillon, saxophonist Joe Vitale, and backing singers Doug Ashby and Darlene Brotzman add color and depth to the arrangments; and the mix is clean and clear, allowing Brosky’s soul and the various instrumental ingredients to shine through. Grateful is a personable, heartfelt set, where Steve Brosky shows the full scope of his arts of songwriting and storytelling. An excellent listen. (The CD can be obtained from Brosky’s website, www.stevebrosky.com.)