Chuck Brodsky has been a folk circuit mainstay for nearly two decades, his work has inspired luminaries such as David Wilcox and Kathy Mattea, and some of his baseball songs are in the Hall of Fame. For those unfamiliar with his work, Two Sets, a live-set double CD, is a fine introduction. Brodsky is a story-teller extraordinaire who spins musical tales with the raspy nasality of Dylan, the down-to-earth feel of Greg Brown, the plebian sensibilities of Woody Guthrie, the humor of Steve Goodman, and the robust guitar picking of Doc Watson. He regales with poignant stories of Irish bartenders, mentally challenged folks, everyday heroism, and finding love where you least expect it, but he ll also leave you laughing with a talking blues put-down of lawyers, a road rage parody, musings on being a Jew on Christmas, and the most-inspired first-set finale ever written.
If forced to choose a favourite singer/songwriter from the thousands of artists we carry, Chuck Brodsky would come out at the top of a very select pile. He writes with compassion, wit and a genuine understanding of people; there are few writers who move me to tears with songs, but Brodsky has one that gets me every time, and at least two others that can often catch me unawares! This 2 disc live set gives the songs even more impact as he places them in context with introductions that add even more weight to the stories, and the presentation of the songs with Chuck on acoustic guitar and Don Porterfield on bass focuses the listener s attention on the fantastic lyrics. Chuck not only writes songs with genuine heart, he also has a fantastic line in light-hearted songs, the new song Armitage Shanks is the ultimate song to end a first set, and Talk to my Lawyer one of a number of his songs that take a sideways swipe a modern society. For all the humour and sharpness in these songs, it s the more serious pieces that steal the show, another new song Lili s Braids is genuinely heartbreaking; Radio remains a powerful song even after 10 years of repeated listening, and The Man Who Blew Kisses has a wonderful, uplifting story to tell. These are just five of the twenty-five songs on this two disc set, and together they represent a fantastic record of some of Chuck s finest songs. Those who already know Chuck will need no further invitation, but if you don t know his work I urge you investigate this album he genuinely is one of the very best, and this (and all his studio albums) come with the highest recommendation! --Fish Records
When Chuck Brodsky started making his mark, music fans and media had long-since stopped looking for the next Bob Dylan. That s probably a good thing, because today s pop culture would not know its troubadour if Woody came back from the dead. Brodsky is more a child of the next Bob Dylan s. He s the next, John Prine for his irony, Harry Chapin for the story songs and portraits, Tom Paxton for his accessible wit, Loudon Wainwright for the sharpness of his commentary and Steve Goodman for his love of baseball and the charm in his distinctive voice. He s been around long enough to have a loyal following and a repertoire that goes back 1981. Two Sets refers to just that, one on each CD in this live collection. Each song is special in its own way, whether touching, funny or thoughtful. For every Blow em Away, a first person account of a road raging warrior with a gun, there is a song like The Man Who Blew Kisses about a mentally challenged fan. His songwriting inspiration comes such various places as the evening news, his own family heritage and the stories gathered on the road. Brodsky s political commentary is as sharp and on-target as the songs that awoke a generation forty years ago. Here are two sets of music you don t want to miss, from an artist with enough memorable material to leave his fans wanting more! Michael Devlin --Music Matters
Chuck Brodsky's a folkie through and through, spinning out down-in-the-dust tales of the common man...except when slinging bullets and arrows at injustice, as in the intro cut He Came to Our Town, inveighing against political reptiles and smooth-talkers. The guy plays a fine guitar but the stories are the point, and the composer tells of the upsets, happinesses, contentments, curiosities, frustrations, and novelties of life in its endless expected and unexpected sidepaths and turns. Dock Ellis, for instance, relates the humorous true yarn of a pro baseball player who'd just discovered LSD...and pitched a no-hitter under the influence. This 2-CD set was taken from gigs in North Carolina, Georgia, and Ireland, live of course, and plainly shows the minstrel's role in Brodsky's low-key but attractive style. Once he begins letting the line out, every fish is hooked and reeled in, happy to be gaffed and waiting for the next length of filigree to play out, shimmering in the sun. The audience hoots, whistles, applauds, and laughs as each unexpected turn in the road takes them down familiarity with a twist. There's a time for cynicism and a time for joy, but Chuck Brodsky tends to walk the middle, finding warmth in the foibles and weaknesses of human beings as well as solace and hope in their strengths and common spirit. Yes, it's feel-good work, but not of the Reader's Digest variety rather of a non-judgemental understanding that we're all trapped in circumstances often beyond our control. 9:30 Pint readily demonstrates the situation, sympathetic to individuals meshed within a concatenation of events they never had much of a say in the creation of. I chose this disc because the guy who runs this site spoke well of Brodsky. Sometimes I agree with Dave's overviews, sometimes I don't (in fact, I Iook for certain somewhat negative adjectives for discs as indications that I'll like what he doesn't our tastes have differences, after all), but this was a great choice, much like watching a good European movie imbued with the kind of humanist spirit too many American flicks completely ignore or artificialize. There's no fakery here at all, just lots of great listening for a good long while. --Mark S. Tucker - Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange