Our premiere of the signature single “Carolina” from Brady Toops’ sophomore album Tried & True praised his strong yet authentic vocals. Was it too much to expect that the rest of the album would deliver the same quality? After all, the single release usually showcases the artist’s best work, and Brady had set the bar high.
He does not disappoint. If you’re searching for the vocal equivalent of hot chocolate with whipped cream and marshmallows, look no further. This is a collection to curl up with on the sofa and absorb into your soul.
While opening track “Carolina” is unmistakably Nashville, there’s a gospel rhythm at the beating heart of the album. No preaching, no pitching, just unravelling the themes of life. Whether raising up the heart in “Walk In Love”, summoning the warmth of family in title track “Tried and True”, seeking strength in “Let You Go” or giving inspiration in “The River Jordan”, Brady combines the familiarity of hymns and love songs, creating a collection that just fits, with the beautiful comfort of a favourite sweater.
Brady’s slow country side comes to the fore in “Bleed”, delivering a message of love and heartbreak, loss of identity and a search for new direction. There’s honesty in the story, stripped bare and with minimalist chords, occasional steel guitar and superb vocal control. If a song should be R&B, it’s “Everything Reminds Me Of You”. The chords, the phrasing, the structure. But Brady slows it right down, adds a soft harmony and turns it into soul, Toops-style.
Bracketing the album, “Love On My Mind” and “Gone” offer a blues influence. If ever a voice was made for heart-wrenching, it’s Brady’s bass-baritone, delivered with grit and reality.
Think you’ve got the measure of the artist? Take a listen to “Hollywood” and raise the roof with pure disco. Unexpected but deliciously upbeat, this track proves that Brady has fun with his music, his band and his life. Dig out your flares and hit the dance floor! We want to see the video for this track but, alas, it doesn’t seem to be out there…yet.
Resonant, warm and full of moments to sing along, Tried & True is the album to play when you’re alone and reflecting on life. Or when you’re with friends and putting the world to rights. The words, the uplifting melodies and that amazing voice should make everyone a better person. If not, we can always dance!
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