In his day job, Rob’s a range technician for the B.C. Ministry of Forests, working with ranchers and their cattle on the rugged crown ranges of the Interior. He spends a lot of time in the saddle, which inspires a lot of good songs.
Hands Up showcases nine of Rob’s originals, plus David Wilkie / Stewart MacDougall’s Wind In The Wire. He digs into history for songs about the province’s legendary cowboys, cattlemen and stage drivers.
Rob’s western swing side is always close to the surface, and Dancin’ on A Saturday Night shows off some fine “up the neck” jazz chords. The first track to make The Spirit of the West playlist is Jimmy McDonnell, a tribute to the legendary cutting horse trainer. Rob also re-recorded his popular song, Born to Be A Cowboy, with a new arrangement as well as some mandolin from Dixon Zalit.
The album offers a colourful ride through B.C. ranch country, with a tip of the hat to legends like Val Haynes and, of course, train robber Billy Miner.
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Brenn’s love for good horses inspires Equine, a powerful, sometimes personal collection. It’s pretty edgy and contemporary — and I really like it. It’s the kind of sound that might attract a new generation of fans to songs about cowboy life in the 21st century. Electric guitars and drums in western music? You bet! And it works with these songs.
The original concept for the CD featured exclusively about horses. However, three of the tracks ultimately were inspired by his two-year-old son’s recent battle with cancer.
The power in songs such as Ridin’ Them Colts, Monster on Your Back, Hell On Yer Women and the rest really comes through and stirs up action-packed images of all that makes a life with horses good and bad, rewarding and risky. A line in one of the tracks inspired by Briggs and his battle says it all for me: “There’s nothing
in this life worth doing that you can’t do on a horse.”
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