Album Review – Andy Brasher’s “Myna Bird”

Bringing the grit and guts of grassroots influences from his hometown of Owensboro, Kentucky, and a blurred lines approach between country and rock akin to what most are used to hearing from Texas music or Red Dirt, Andy Brasher takes some new songs and some old favorites, and folds them into a new record called Myna Bird to be his big solo debut.

A long time fixture of the Owensboro music scene, Andy Brasher has also ventured far afield both as a solo artist and with a band, and with the duo Brasher/Bogue he started with Dustin Bogue, releasing numerous records and sharing some stages and lineups with bigger names in country and Southern rock over the years like Kenny Chesney and Lynyrd Skynyrd. Brasher also did time in Nashville as a young man, playing both a long list of cover songs and his originals, paying dues before returning to Owensboro.

Myna Bird is a mixture of Andy Brasher’s numerous influences from Southern rock to songwriter country, compiling them into an entertaining set that has a little something for everyone. If you’re looking for a stone cold murder ballad, “Crows and Buzzards” has you more than covered, and is one of the best modern murder ballads you can run down. If you wanting something more romantic, try “If She Loves.” “Close Your Eyes” offers a more intimate moment, and if you want something a bit more fun, the acoustic singalong “Checkbook” or “Drugs in the Tip Jar” may be down your alley.

No matter the mood or how the songs are rendered, these are stories that say something and go somewhere, and Andy Brasher shows an alacrity for numerous styles to fit the desired feeling. To make sure Myna Bird is stacked from cover to cover, he takes a couple of songs from his previous catalog to bolster the effort, including the title track of both his 2007 album Crows and Buzzards, and his 2010 album Last of Our Kind.

The concern with Myna Bird might be that while Andy Brasher proves himself proficient with many versions of roots music here, he doesn’t get around to defining which one is his signature. Also, most of the songs stretch to over five minutes, including a couple with extended outtros. This gives the songs and stories of Myna Baird the opportunity to develop, but some of them possibly could have used a radio edit, and go on a little longer than the melody and theme are able to sustain.

Still, this is an interesting project you can see many finding appeal in from the wide net it casts, and the quality writing and passion Andy Brasher brings to each song. Balancing some rock sensibilities with a gritty Kentucky attitude and ambitious songwriting, Brasher proves why he’s worth paying attention to.

From a club stage in Owensboro with his band, to a regular on the songwriting circuit, to opening for some of the biggest names in Southern music, Andy Brasher’s appreciation for song comes through in music that moves from raucous to deeply meaningful.

1 1/2 Guns Up

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