by Nathan Cardiff

Spencer Brown is a folk mastermind. His wonderful EP Part One is five tracks of stunning musicianship, strong vocals, and stellar lyrics. The fast paced tempos of “Travelin’ North” and “Burning Cold” are wild masterpieces, letting Brown belt out his rich, warm voice. The rigorous time signatures become foot races between the guitars and his lightning quick delivery of the lyrics. “If I ever see you again, I’ll tell you where to go…” he sings on the second track with raucous piano and rowdy guitars.

Brown brings in the sweet melancholy of “Wasn’t For You,” a gorgeous duet with Ali Edwards. Heartbreak flows through the lyrics and emotions run high. You’ll even feel a chill in the blazing summer heat when Brown and Edwards harmonize on the chorus (“The blood and the hurt, they weren’t the worst/It’s the long winter nights that are my curse”). That longing is enough to make your chest swell and your breath short. But what’s great about the song is that both perspectives know that it wasn’t meant to be. An incredible track.

The pop sensibility is clear on “Call Me” with its shimmering electric guitar. As short as Part One is, Brown hits all the sounds he wants with perfect accuracy and always come off as genuine and clear with his lyrics (“Why don’t you just call me if you need/Misery needs company/I’ll be at your side”). The record culminates with “Hard Time Killing Floor,” a great closer that really encompasses what he’s shown on the previous four tracks. Brown lets the tension build and build for two minutes before the guitars explode. You can feel the strumming as if the band were in the room with you. From beginning to end, a beautiful accomplishment from the singer/songwriter.

Favorite Tracks: “Wasn’t For You” & “Call Me”

by Nathan Cardiff