Reviews: 6.13.19: David Brookings and Willie Wisely Fill Our Hearts With Song

By Alan Haber – Pure Pop Radio

David Brookings and the Average Lookings
Scorpio Monologue (2019)

After the credits roll at the end of the making-of video for this album, David Brookings turns to his guitar player, Patrick Yoho, and fans a deck of playing cards.

“Pick a card, any card. Don’t let me see it,” David says. Pointing to the deck in his hand, he tells Patrick to “Put it face down right here. Don’t let me see it. Right on top.” The card returned to the deck, David taps it, waves his hand over it, and in a move that echoes those of famous magicians through the ages, scratches it. He turns the card over and asks Patrick if it’s the one he chose. “Is this your card?,” David asks. Patrick nods in the affirmative. “It is,” David confirms, the room laughing and his voice smiling, as if that’s a thing.

It’s the details that matter, in other words. Also, have fun creating your art. And the art, this collection of catchy pop-rock songs called Scorpio Monologue, Brookings’ eighth release in 19 years, is all about the details that get tended to as songs are written and brought to the band; parts are worked out by each of the players, and the artist and his co-producer and engineer, Don Budd, shape it all into minutes-long symphonies of careful, musical expression that listeners absolutely dig.

It’s the details that matter; if Brookings and his cohorts get them right, and for each of the baker’s dozen tracks on Scorpio Monologue they most certainly do, the result is entertainment of the highest order which, in the hands of Brookings and his Average Lookings, is a trick that pays off handsomely with untold dividends.

Scorpio Monologue–11 originals and two covers–announces itself as a force to be reckoned with as the jangly and propulsive opener, “And It Feels Like…” begins to play. The song, about always striving to succeed amidst the chaos around you, safe in the arms of the one you love (“Go for the dream where you’re in the meadow / Something about you always calms me down”) is but one of many of the top-flight songs on offer.

“I Grow Up Fast” is an uptempo, poppy, jangly number about going after what you want in life, having learned from what you experienced in your youth (“And I played the field / And finally settled down”). “Rainbow Baby,” a gentle mid-tempo pop song, is about how much the new Brookings baby is a gift to his family (“Personality turned up to a hundred / Like your sister and your mom before you / When I see you smile it’s a look of wonder / How’d we get so lucky that we got you”). Brookings’ family makes cameo appearances during the song; baby Brady charmingly giggles during the close.

The upbeat, countryish “Silicon Valley” is a fun song about the quirkiness of the area (after a seven-year stint as a tour guide at Sun Studios in Memphis, Tennessee and giving a tour to Apple’s Steve Jobs, Brookings relocated to San Jose in 2009 to work for the tech giant). The blazing Chuck Berry-esque “She’s Mad at Me Again” is another top highlight about a guy who frequently does the wrong thing (“I did it different than I meant to do / But don’t defend me or she’ll get mad at you / She’s mad at me again”). The rocking guitar, plucked right out of the sounds-like-Dave-Edmunds playbook is a lot-of-fun highlight.

Scorpio Monologue, Brookings’ second album fronting the Average Lookings, is another in a long line of meticulously crafted collections from one of pop-rock’s top indie artists. Don’t miss it.

Where to Get It: Kool Kat Musik, Amazon, iTunes

Willie Wisely | “Fall Inside Your Eyes” (2019)

A lovely, reverent cover of a song from Jackie Lomax’s March, 1969 debut album on Apple Records, “Fall Inside Your Eyes” is all about the feeling and effect of attraction.

In the booklet that accompanied the 2010 reissue of Lomax’s Is this what you want?, Jackie says that “Fall Inside Your Eyes” “…is about a psychic connection between two people that doesn’t need words.” And, in fact, the lyrics carry that idea: “I know I can’t explain just why I feel this way / But just one look from you and there’s nothing I can do.”

Lomax’s song floats atop a seductive melody and affecting lyrics. His original track, produced by George Harrison, features an electric piano in the mix; Wisely underlines his ace arrangement with tender pedal steel guitar played by Eric Heywood, and elevates the track with an equally tender harmonica solo. Wisely plays that solo and the guitars; John Fields, who produced with Wisely, plays bass and drums.

“Fall Inside Your Eyes” features on Wisely’s upcoming, much-anticipated new album, Face the Sun, due on August 2.

Where to Get It: Amazon, iTunes

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Alan Haber’s Pure Pop Radio is the premiere website covering the melodic pop scene with in-depth reviews of new and reissued recordings, and a wide variety of features. We’ve been around since the first weekly Pure Pop Radio shows, which began broadcasting in 1995, and the 24-hour Pure Pop Radio station, which ended last August.

Welcome to your number one home for coverage of the greatest melodic pop music in the universe from the ’60s to today.

May the Fifth be With Your Ears: Pure Pop Radio’s Four-Day New Music Songfest is Full of Stars!

star wars fifthWe totally spaced on yesterday’s universe-wide Star Wars holiday, but Yoda’s cool with that brain freeze…as long as we carry on (see at left) with our Four-Day New Music Songfest. And so we will by bringing you our reviews of three outstanding platters now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio.

And now, to get our program off and running…

david brookings and the average lookings coverDavid Brookings and the Average Lookings | David Brookings and the Average Lookings Sixteen years on from his first solo release in 2000, Richmond, Virginia native, and current California resident David Brookings is set to release his new album, a typically infectious collection of songs centered around his pleasing, catchy melodies and his smooth, inviting voice. Songs like the mid-tempo pacer “Hearts” work around sumptuous melodies and clever chord progressions. The very America vibe of “Don’t Stop to Doubt Yourself” is a clear winner, as is “The Optimist,” a song about riding a wave of positivity.

david brookings colorfulDavid exhibits a healthy sense of humor too, in the title of the record, the cover photo, which depicts him as the only one facing the camera, and in the shuffling, country-tinged rocker “I’m in Love With Your Wife,” in which a shameful, overly confident, loose-lipped narrator confesses his empty love for women, singing “I can have any girl I know/Cause I was in Derek and the Dominos” and “If you think you’re living the dream/I played lead guitar in Cream.”

We’re playing seven of these hardly average sounding songs in rotation: “Hearts,” “The Optimist,” “Don’t Stop to Doubt Yourself,” “The Basement Room,” “I’m in Love With Your Wife,” “Place We Can Go,” and “Come Back Home.” David Brookings and the Average Lookings, produced by David, Isaac Fischer and Don Budd at Tone Freq Studio in San Jose, California, is the best album yet in a catalog full of solid releases. Top shelf all the way.

erikvoeks second singleErik Voeks | “Tired of Feelin’ Alone” and “Mondrian” Longtime Pure Pop Radio favorite Erik Voeks returns with his latest single release, pairing an exciting guitar-driven, horn-accented Rolling Stones-ish pop-rocker, “Tired of Feelin’ Alone,” with the short and sweet ballad “Mondrian.” As we said back in April when we added his last single, “She Loved Her Jangle Pop” b/w “Blue Water,” “New Erik Voeks is always a good thing. A great thing, actually.” And we stand by those words here in the merry month of May.

the redhill valleysThe Redhill Valleys | The Redhill Valleys This ostensibly Americana band from up north in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada got in touch and charmed us with their melodic, multi-genre approach to their music, which turns out to be perfect for Pure Pop Radio’s eclectic mix. Guitarist Danielle Beaudin, drummer Tim Allard, and bassist Chelsea McWilliams (all three sing) know their way around a good tune, as they prove with the four-on-the-floor, uptempo “Waiting,” the pretty, acoustic picking, harmony-rich “Either Or,” and “Wrong Way Turns Out Right,” a dreamy, melodic wonder. These songs, plus “Can’t Be Alone” and “Lay Me Down” are now playing in rotation. Welcome.

That’ll do it for today. Tomorrow: Much more. More new music that will absolutely blow your mind. Pure Pop Radio makes it happen right here and on the air!

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