If I had been told a month ago that an important part of my summer soundtrack would be a collection of gospel-infused Americana tunes, I probably would have reacted in a fashion that portrayed disbelief and possibly confusion. However, here I am, absolutely enthralled with an album that is just that: an old-fashioned gem with a whole lot of soul. Bradford Loomis just released his new album “Into the Great Unknown”, and I’m finding it hard to find the correct words to express my reaction to these songs. So, better yet, I’ll just tell you about by describing my reaction.
Now, I am not what most people would describe as an “emotional” person, but the second I started playing Into the Great Unknown in my car, something in my brain broke and/or fixed itself. I was driving to the Ballard Market and from the first song, I had goosebumps all the way up my arms and I was holding back tears at red lights. But they’re happy songs! They make me happy! They just make me so happy that I have to try really hard to not look like I’m having a mental breakdown in front of other motorists. The biggest culprit seems to be “Dead Man’s Dance”, a ballad-turned-stomp-clap tune that could break your heart if it wanted to. Luckily, it just wants to give you a hug. A big, wonderful, musical hug.
The rest of the album is just as solid, beginning with an a capella rendition of the traditional spiritual “Down to the River”, which leads into the upbeat ”See You on the Other Side”, a blend of classical spirituals. “My Love”, a thoughtful love song with beautiful harmonies adds variety, while ”Stampede” is another standout track with its intense percussive guitar and complimentary string arrangements .
Loomis’ vocals, in general, are just outstanding. He has a deep, clear tone that resonates in his songs, though his not-so-secret weapon lies in his talent for dynamics. Ranging from a soft-spoken, gentle hush to a commanding roar that can silence a room (I can say it because I’ve seen it). His voice and the music he makes with it really is something special. You better beard-lieve it (ba dump ching!).
I highly recommend you grab a copy of ”Into the Great Unknown” for your own collection. You’ll be glad you did.