Exposé Online banner

Brian Woodbury & His Popular Music Group — Pay Attention
(Some Phil 9, 2015, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2015-10-03

Pay Attention Cover art

It’s one thing to have that exceptional ability to fuse humor and witty lyrics to great music – Zappa, 10cc, Ray Stevens, Weird Al (though rightly, Yankovic’s material would more correctly be classified as parody) and many others come to mind in the field of those who have done it successfully with repeatability over the years, but it’s all together something else to be able to do it while genre hopping all over the musical map with highly original material. Woodbury’s abilities first came to my attention with the 2004 reissue of his 1988s release All White People Look Alike, which I believe was his debut album under his own name, and even at that early stage there was a lot more substance than promise to his songwriting abilities. Now, 27 years and a half dozen albums on, Woodbury’s masterful songwriting and brilliant arrangements have resulted in Pay Attention, what may well be his best work to date. There’s a lot here we could talk about, like “The Real World” where Woodbury takes down every conspiracy theory with spirited country backing, or “Every Lousy Band,” where the refrain “When every lousy band in the world disappears, that will be music to my ears” is something we all may have thought at some point, but never had the courage to sing about. And then there’s “Brother Can You Spare a Diamond Ring,” and a lot more, but I don’t wanna spoil the fun of discovery. Eighteen tunes in all, you can listen to them all on his site and follow along with the lyrics. Although Woodbury can play just about any instrument one can think of (here he’s credited with vocals, guitar, banjo, mandolin, bass, keyboards, harmonium, ukulele, and more, track depending), for this endeavor (His Popular Music Group) he has assembled a who’s-who of session players including drummer Andy Sanesi, Marc Muller (electric guitar and bass, track depending), bassist Dan Lutz, and many others too numerous to list here, including some rapping and sax from our friend Johnny Unicorn, whose work we have covered may times in these pages. So there you have it: it’s quirky, witty, artful and sometimes poignant, covering the pop and country spectrum. No words I can spill here will faithfully and accurately describe what Woodbury has done, so best go to his site and check it out for yourself.


Filed under: New releases, 2015 releases

Related artist(s): Johnny Unicorn, Brian Woodbury

More info
http://brianwoodbury.bandcamp.com/album/pay-attention

Latest news

2018-07-31
Tomasz Stańko RIP – Tomasz Stańko, one of the greats of Eastern European jazz, has died at the age of 76. Stańko's career started in Krzysztof Komeda's quintet, where he contributed trumpet from 1963-1967, when he formed his own group. He worked extensively with Edward Vesala, Don Cherry, Zbigniew Seifert, Chico Freeman, Howard Johnson, Cecil Taylor, and many others. Many of his recordings have been released by ECM, an association that began in the mid-70s. » Read more

2018-07-09
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more

2018-07-01
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more

2018-06-25
Fred Chalenor RIP – We have news of another sad passing in the world of creative music. Bassist Fred Chalenor, whose creativity featured on albums by Tone Dogs, Caveman Shoestore, and many more, died on June 23, 2018 after a long battle with Alzheimer's. Tributes have poured in from the many musicians and fans whose lives he touched. » Read more

2018-06-13
Jon Hiseman RIP – One of the great drummers of the rock era has died. Jon Hiseman was a veteran of such ground-breaking groups as Colosseum (I and II), Tempest, John Mayal's Bleusbreakers, and was a founding member of the innovative large band United Jazz + Rock Ensemble. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Rush - Beyond the Lighted Stage – Beyond the Lighted Stage is directors Sam Dunn and Scot McFadyen's look under the hood at the venerable Canadian trio, with the bulk of the content based on personal interviews with guitarist Alex...  (2011) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues