Perhaps best known for his stints as the frontman and primary songwriter of art rock acts The Curious Digit, Manishevitz and Sonoi over the past two decades, singer/songwriter Adam Busch‘s solo debut effort, River of Bricks was released last Friday. As the story goes, Busch began writing the material that would comprise River of Bricks while on a hiatus from music to spend time raising his newborn son.
And although Busch intended the hiatus to be about the domestic life, the time away was an opportunity to try out new ideas without the external pressure of having to produce material for an ensemble — and I would also presume that it allowed him an opportunity to create something carte blanche, without the pressure of having to write a song with a band’s established reputation for a particular sound or approach in mind either. In any case, as the story goes many of the songs emerged while Busch was studying guitar with with African music scholar Nathaniel Braddock, who began teaching Busch a variety of finger styles including African. American Primitive, as well as British folk.
Recording began during the Spring of 2013 in Chicago and continued in Phoenix with Busch’s longtime collaborator and Boxhead Ensemble founder Michael Krassner, and features contributions from several members of Manishevtiz, as well as percussion from Joe Adamik, who’s best known for his work with Califone and Iron and Wine; guitar, bass and keyboards from Wil Hendricks of Boxhead Ensemble; cellist Fred Longberg-Holm; and Justin Amolsch on French horn.
River of Bricks‘ latest single “Tiger” is comprised of a rather stark arrangement of drums and Busch accompanying his vocals with guitar. Sonically, the single sounds as though it were informed by Arabic music, psychedelia and jazz in a song that’s intimate and seems inspired by lonely contemplation of life’s eternally confounding mysteries. And as a result, the song has a hushed yet palpable feeling of awe and reverence paired with deeply imagistic lyrics. Simply put, it’s an effortlessly beautiful song that strikes me as being perfect for wandering around on a chilly but gorgeous Fall day.