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Paul Bryan
Handcuff King

Album Review by LouV

Always the bridesgroom. That's what someone somewhere had to say about poor Paul Bryan (I think it was actually on Paul's site). Paul isn't so poor. I actually don't know how much money Paul has or makes, but from an artistic and musical standpoint, Paul is doing rather well, actually. Certainly he looks good. Even as a guy I can tell you that; my wife is unsparing with the praise. Paul also happens to be a really good musician, with a soothing harmonious voice; so good that he is considered A-list and is a resident member of Aimee Mann's band. Her right-hand man. 

 

Buy It

 

He's the guy you hear harmonizing with her on backup vocals in concert and on her last studio album, The Forgotten Arm. He's the guy you see playing bass or rhythm guitar when she takes the stage on Letterman or Leno; the good looking guy who resembles George Harrison. Paul is, in fact, one of the best backup singers and musicians in the business. Hence the title, 'always the bridesgroom'. 

But this review isn't about Aimee Mann or The Forgotten Arm, it's about Paul's first solo album -- Handcuff King. Released in 2005 to -- no publicity at all -- Paul has crafted some wonderful songs, brought his considerable ability to play many instruments to the table, and augmented it with his smooth, harmonious voice. 

Paul is a musician's musician, but also there is a bit of an artist in him. He brings that artistry to this album, introducing different sounds and tones, and setting a mood. And like any good music with complexities, it grows and grows on you.

Song number 4 on the album, I Listen to the Rain, should be a single. It should be on the radio. If there was any justice in this world, I Listen to the Rain would be on the radio.

The follow up song on the album -- Rubber Ghost, is like Johnny Damon followed by Derek Jeter: another potential single and run scored; great song. Other favorites are Ghost Town, One for My Head (love the chimes), Handcuff King, Jessie Blue. Real nice Dylan cover on I'll Keep it with Mine.

As a complete side note, really love the artwork on the album too. You know people can win Grammy's these days on just the artwork alone.

Paul used to sell his album on his own website, but nefarious individuals stole away his url (formerly paulbryanmusic.com). So even though that's the web address referenced throughout the album sleeve; don't go there. Go here: www.paulbryan.us. Again, poor Paul.

 

Note: This review was written on the Staten Island Ferry.

 

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Reviews of  Paul Bryan - Related Albums

Fucking Smilers, by Aimee Mann
PRODUCED By PAUL BRYAN; RELEASED 2008

One More Drifter in the Snow -- Mann's Christmas Album PRODUCED BY PAUL BRYAN

Forgotten Arm, by Aimee Mann