As children riding in a car or lovers lying on the beach, we’ve all looked up into the blue and tried to see images in those puffy white cotton balls we call clouds. Whether we visualize a lion’s face or a slice of cheesecake, what we see and describe to others is rooted in who we are. Our perspectives are shaped by our experiences, emotions and current circumstances. And when elements of our lives become overcast, happy clouds turn dark and grey. Sometimes, they even speak to us. We start hearing the black clouds talk.
On his first solo release entitled "Black Cloud Talk", Brian Deer writes songs that come out of a place where negative thoughts and things can surround. But they can also lift and disappear as we pick up the pieces of our life. For Deer, these songs are a collection of scenes and moments that capture those emotions, both the ‘dark night of the soul’ and the hopeful expectation of brighter days to come.
"Black Cloud Talk" takes the listener on a journey with a destination. From the confusion over broken relationships in “Veiled Eyes” to the exposed hurt in “Playin’ With Guns,” Deer doesn’t shy away from the intimate feelings of loss and need for reconciliation.
Troubled relationships are at the forefront of "Black Cloud Talk". Perhaps hitting home the most is the track “I’m Not Built That Way”. A plaintive acoustic guitar gives way to a simple string melody, and lyrics that expose the depth of Deer’s honesty. Deer credits the success of his previous group, Citizen’s Band, for sparking the creativity and courage to begin his solo career. Deer played guitar and shared songwriting and vocal duties with band mate Matt Boyer. A staple on the Indy scene for several years, Citizen’s Band played its brand of roots rock all over the Midwest and released a CD titled "Truck Stop Chapel". As Dave Lindquist from the Indianapolis Star noted, “[Citizen’s Band] plowed straight down the middle with its brand of alt-country/Americana. [They] offered equal portions sweat, urgency, twang and sincerity.” Citizen’s Band also opened for several national acts, including Dickey Betts, Rusted Root and the Continental Drifters.
However, Deer’s style as a solo artist takes a different direction. The songs on Black Cloud Talk take their cue from equal parts alternative rock and engaging singer/songwriter, with only occasional hints at roots rock sounds. Trained in both classical and jazz guitar, Deer allows his playing to exist as a layer of the songs, alongside his soulful vocals, soft organs and transparent drumbeats. Drawing on influences that range from Elvis Costello and Bruce Springsteen to Wilco and Radiohead, Deer creates a unique blend of textures that add contrast and color to the integrity found in his lyrics.
Deer recorded "Black Cloud Talk" at Studio Chicago with musician/producer Matt Thompson and engineer Dan Steinman. Thompson is known for his bass work with Chicago's Mighty Blue Kings and has played with and produced many Chicago artists. Deer originally met Thompson’s mother, who is Deer’s next-door neighbor in Indianapolis. She introduced the two and collaboration was formed. Deer and Thompson demoed songs at Thompson’s home studio, and once in the studio they called upon many Chicago players to perform on the project, including members of Sonia Dada, alt-country hero Robbie Fulks, and Chicago icon Larry Gray.
Deer’s desire for "Black Cloud Talk" is that listeners might identify with the different emotions expressed on this project. As for those black clouds, Deer can look back and understand their purpose. Perhaps a future with fair weather clouds on the horizon.
For more information, visit their website: http://www.briandeer.net
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