The catchy blues
Brooks Young Band has commercial appeal and releases new EP
By Dana Unger firstname.lastname@example.org
Concord blues and rock group the Brooks Young Band has slowly edged its way into the popular New Hampshire music scene in the few short years it’s been together. Helmed by guitarist and vocalist Brooks Young, the band has already played at such prominent Granite State venues as Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom, the Capitol Center for the Arts and the Stratham Fair, as well as a performance with the J. Geils Band at Concord’s Market Days.
“One of the most memorable performances for me was one where we played at the Capitol Center,” said drummer David Lombard in a Feb. 17 interview. “We did this benefit for the Young Professionals of New Hampshire. There were about 300 people there and we did a full 90-minute show. What made it great was the people at the Center ran the show perfectly for us. They were so gracious.”
The band recently released its debut five-song EP, Back on the Ground, a contemporary work tinged with influences of Tom Cochrane, Bob Seger and The Rolling Stones, all filtered through vintage guitar sounds — Brooks Young himself uses a 1962 Gretsch Country Classic guitar, a 1957 Fender Stratocaster, and an Eric Clapton Fender Stratocaster (it should come as little surprise that Brooks Young also happens to be endorsed by Fender). The singles “Last September” and “Dream Away” have already had some regular rotation on 92.5 The River.
“All of the songs were written and recorded by us,” Lombard said. “We had been working on the material for quite some time, but with the recording we were pretty under the gun. We booked time over a weekend span — but we also played Market Days that weekend, so we loaded up Friday night, went to Rockinghorse Studios on Saturday, tested our levels, and began tracking around 8 a.m. to around 4 p.m. Saturday was just a horribly rainy day for Market Days, but we were still able to play under the tarps and it was just a phenomenal show. Then went back and stayed over on Sunday. Like I said, it was pretty under the gun. Not a lot of sleep.”
The group also shot a video for the EP’s title single.
“We had our video shot by a close friend of ours,” Lombard said. “We had kind of talked about the idea and Brooks Young knew this guy named Brian who is a videographer, and it pretty much materialized in a little over a week. We shot several hours of footage — most of the metro city stuff was done around the Boston area. Doing it was a way for us to offer a different format, to go after the larger venues and clubs.”
The past year has seen changes in the band’s music marketing style. They signed with Why Don’t You Productions, which revamped the band’s Web site and put their songs into direct-sale marketplaces like iTunes. The band also saw a change with the addition of guitarist Mark Bradford in December 2008, who has provided a positive contrast to their signature sound.
“What I like about Mike is that he’s a completely different style than Brooks Young,” Lombard said. “He’s a little more of an aggressive sound and just a great soloist.”
The band is already working on new tracks and their next steps as a group.
“We have a couple of fresh tracks that we’ve solidified,” Lombard said. “One of the main things we’re trying to do is to go after different markets and working to broaden our radio campaign.”
With so many area artists competing and vying for the attention of labels, venues and radio, the Brooks Young Band mates see themselves — however positively or negatively perceived — as a group with large commercial appeal.
“We go after that radio type of market and try to craft our songs around strong, catchy hooks,” Lombard said. “Our songwriting is very marketable — very friendly.”