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Brynna Campbell “Rough Masters” (2008) January 16, 2009

Posted by rawkfistmusic in 2008, Brynna Campbell.

Written by Jake

And from out of Left Field comes singer/songwriter/actress/novelist daughter of the bassist for 70s band America (infamous for the song “Horse With No Name”. You know, the one with the guy who has been through the valley. On a horse…with…you know what, you can finish it)! What, you don’t know who she is? Dude that’s OK, me neither.

Well that’s not completely true. I first heard Brynna Campbell on the Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog DVD (AVAILABLEATAMAZON.COMRIGHTNOWGOBUYITANDSUPPORTTHINGS) via an Evil League of Evil application. That little ditty was entitled “Undead” (she was a Zombie Princess, get it?) and it wasn’t half bad. Unfortunately I didn’t know she actually had a full album out.

Then our very own “Gravity” pointed out to me that it was available online. Yes, I was skeptical at first. Yes, I may have stumbled onto something that is straddling the fencd on “Rock Music”, but she still ain’t half bad. Her genre is TECHNICALLY Pop/General, just so you are aware.

Let’s begin with a little back story. As stated before, Brynna Campbell is the 22 year old daughter of Richard Campbell, bassist for the 70s group America. She is a self-proclaimed singer/songwriter/actress/author and is currently on 124th page of her novel (info via her MySpace page, accurate as of this posting). Oh yeah, I’m supposed to be talking about her music aren’t I?

Well, that’s just the thing. If you go into this opus without a mindset of understanding about her then it would seem very scatterbrained and probably unbearable. But once you learn this information (and get used to her voice) it’s actually quite enjoyable. Certainly not even radio quality (Brynna I mean that in the nicest way possible) material, but let’s not forget the album’s title: Rough Masters. Certainly some of these songs, however, with a little polish, could be heard spinning on your local station in no time. And they are quite deserving of such treatment.

Running at a mere 10 tracks, the album leaves a little to be desired. As mentioned before, her singing styles take a little getting used to, and by the end of the album you’re used to it and you want more. But you’ll be fine, just run the album again. It’s totally worth it, I promise.

It’s very jazzy, alternative, acoustic, funky, mellow blues. Songs like “Forsaken” and “Rain” emphasize her jazz and (almost) 90s Pop Female Vocalist influences, as well as emotional lyrics. I could’ve sworn “Rain” was some sort of Kelly Clarkson song when it started. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find quite the opposite.

As emotional as her lyrics are though, I can’t help but get the uneasy feeling that they could be better. They’re very jumpy and teenage girlish. There is certainly promise there, it just needs to be nurtured and brought to full fruition. This is true with all new acts, just starting out. Give it time and I feel it will truly become something epic and at least noteworthy.

The weakest song on the album is almost certainly “Branches”. It’s not a bad song, not at all, the concept is good and damn me to hell if I don’t like that flute. It’s a song that Brynna steps out of the box on, something new to break up the album. It seems like she wasn’t quite as prepared as she could’ve been when she was singing it, with very raspy high notes and wavering breath throughout much of the track. With more experience, as I’ll say again, this could be easily rectified.

As a side note, I’d just like to say that the verses in “What You Get” are the closest thing to a School House Rock song I’ve seen since…well, School House Rock. Which is awesome. I loved School House Rock.

Closing out the album we find the one true rock song, “Undead”. As is it’s pretty good, and I don’t presume to know how to make an artist’s rendition of their own work any better, but production quality could probably be a smidgen better. Turn up some volume, twist a few knobs. Who knows what could happen?

The Point – Brynna Campbell’s very first formal foray (like the alliteration?) into the realm of music is fair, but not great. The songs are catchy enough, if not lacking a little in the vocal and lyrical areas. Instrument use is top notch (as I can only assume she recorded most if not all of them of her own accord) and, overall, the whole thing is fun to listen to. Just remember to keep in mind these are Rough Masters and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it as much as I did.

6.5 out of 10

Download This – “Undead”



1. K.G.G.Pennington - January 22, 2009

Oh, jumping out our rockin’ boundaries, eh? That’s okay, I like it.
Dr. Horrible! Well, if she’s involved in that in any way I’ll give it a listen. Good review Jake. 😀


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