Grey Reverend: Of the Days
Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter L.D. Brown, better known as Grey Reverend, has a riveting, pessimistic vocal delivery and a busy finger-picking guitar style reminiscent of legendary late folkie Nick Drake. His soul-searching, sparse songs are sincere and acutely honest. Of the Days is music for the heartbroken with lyrics to feed the head on a rainy day.
Of the Days’ songs feature just Reverend and his acoustic guitar, although his compositions are so rich with metaphors and raw emotion you’ll never notice the sparse instrumentation. Reverend uses a second instrument on only one song, blowing a lonesome prairie harp on the bluesy “Forsake.” The opener, “Altruistic Holiday,” casts a gloomy, affecting pall: “Don’t cry to me about freedom you’ll never see.”
Reverend’s slurred introspective voice and looping, sliding guitar figures draw the listener inside “Walk the Same.” The instrumental, “Little Eli,” akin to the Jefferson Airplane’s “Embryonic Journey,” is more upbeat than the rest of the album– a hint that there’s a pin-prick of light in Reverend’s dark world. With its pounding “Get Back” intro and desperate pace, “One by One” display’s Reverend’s ability to hold the rhythm and take a solo simultaneously: “One by one days are behind us, side by side we will rise up.”
Every generation is blessed with acoustic artists with extraordinary talent. For children of the 60’s and 70’s, Gordon Lightfoot, James Taylor, Nick Drake and Joe South come to mind. For twenty-first century fans of acoustic expression, the artist to keep an eye on will be Grey Reverend.