Saturday, June 16, 2012

CD Review – BEEing Human, by Mark Bruland

When I think of farming and farmers, I don’t think of evocative, atmospheric instrumental music. To be honest, judging by the cover and the cutesy album title, I was expecting something more along the lines of rustic, folksy country bumpkin-ness. Mark Bruland’s third album, my first experience with Bruland’s music, smashes all such misconceptions to crop dust.

A former food and beverage industry executive for nearly three decades, the Wisconsin farmer and beekeeper tills the fields and grows produce during the spring, summer, and fall and writes and records his musical masterpieces at his farm-based studio during the winter.

And what a harvest it is! (The music, that is.)

Bruland plays all the instruments, including guitars, bass, piano, synthesizers, horns, drums, and percussion. The result is a warm, rich sound that holds the music together through a variety of styles, such as inspiring anthems (“Blue Eyed Steel”), pleasant ballads (“An Afternoon with Steve,” “A Cool Breeze for Louise,” “My Laughing Heart”), and ethereal excursions (“No Matter What,” “Pictures from Wheels,” “Tom Parker’s Wind Chimes”).

From beginning to end, these are sounds for sore ears and minds.

--Raj Manoharan

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