Peter Bruntell Normal For Bridgwater

Peter Bruntell's collection of 14 songs, entitled Trouble for Bridgwater, is a folksy, mid-tempo, thought provoking effort. The songs, while seemingly derivative at first, actually have something to say. The melodies are simple, if not strikingly original, but the clean sound illuminates the atmospheric qualities of the various weapons in this album's arsenal, including a deft banjo, a mandolin, a Dobro and some piercing harmonica. Bruntnell's sweeping acoustic guitar leads the most successful tunes in a Jayhawk-esque manner. The rockers on the album do not get off the ground, as Bruntell's voice seems to be best suited for a more laid-back style. The songwriting itself twinkles with originality, even if the form does not. The inexplicable "N.F.B." contains nuggets of lyrical gold, such as, "I'm going where I don't need pills to ride my mind"; the pithy updating of a phrase from the annals of folk-dom is something that not everyone can pull off. Bruntwell also explores a wide range of emotional landscapes with his lyrics. The bitter "Jurassic Parking Lot" proves to be much more than just the pun in the title. The song intelligently bemoans the ever increasingly homogenous commercial development in small towns, as the weary narrator declares, "little pieces of yesterday manage to remain. I'll be yawning as they make everything the same." Normal for Bridgwater is a worthwhile production that should find an audience among more discriminating folk/rock fans. (Slow River)