Brian Dunn “tvs and radios”
Canadian singer-songwriter with a no-frills attitude to expressing his emotions speaks of love, regret, living on the fringes, listening to country radio and trying various things in an effort to get ‘high’.
Possessing hints of Eric Taylor during the early part of the song in his vocals, Dunn opens with “Winnipeg” — before it turns into something Whiskeytown could have done! Well-penned lyrics fueled by guitars, percussion and Rhodes piano set the tone. .
Better still is to follow by way of an infectious, chorus buoyed “Radios” that asks for the CBC to be turned back on and speaks of vices, cocaine etc available to those frequenting after hours locations. The focus of the lyrics and his grasp of a raw, darker side of life help give Dunn’s work a sharp cutting edge. Some people plug the occasional gap in a song with a smoothed-out lyric, Dunn just keeps on probing, prodding whether it brings heartache or downright excruciating pain
“Victoria Park” is an example as his gritty lyrics to combine the use of drugs and listening to your favourite voice on the radio, stereo, telephone, static, guns and drugs. One would be more concerned but for the fact the song has well-tempered energy and doesn’t cast a bleak cloak of darkness. More in keeping with wearisome darkness is “Slow Learner” that has the smell of bourbon thrown-in. The music and tempo of the record though, unpredictable (in a good way) one aspect rules, momentum. As one track is ushered, seamlessly into the next it brings a priceless, cohesiveness. One of the strongest and most compelling listens on the record is the pounded out (Band-like; Levon Helm of whom would have been proud of this) “Mexico”. Possessing lines speaking of how motor cycles echo by his door, standing in the hotel bar with girls just like American whores and listening to Spanish radio, the desert turning to sky it paints a place where you don’t visit alone. As for the “TVS” in the album title it is a mellow piece and one where he asks for it to be left on and the blinds down for him to sleep. It is like Dunn is chilling out (as it is six-packs and early cocktails).
“Crash” drifts along nice enough without hitting the heights of some (the excellent travel song “Country” one of them) as he hangs out in a tavern (again) prior to cranking it up a little for the groove orientated “In A Good Light”(Andy Magoffin). Then you have the real puzzler, “Love”. A maudlin and messily performed piece that has no right on the album, then to play out with he hits another fabulous home run with “Baltimore” (yes, it is dark, moody and utterly compelling!) Recorded live in Sudbury, Canada, Dunn with fellow musicians David Mackinnon (who also produced the album, Dunn’s second) and Ryan Levecque they share all the playing duties. Other than drums by Matt Foy. There is no reason the album shouldn’t soon become a ‘must have’ on many a discerning Americana follower’s wish list next pay day.