Review: The Heartache and Hope of Bradford Loomis

Touring now to support his latest solo album, Bravery and the Bell, Bradford Loomis was recently on social media looking for a place to sleep in Ashland, Oregon. He wound up in a hotel, he said, which is not unexpected for a solo artist on the road and seems fitting for his music.

Loomis’ vocal range is astounding. “Chasing Ghosts” showcases the higher end; although early videos show him in choirboy form with even higher notes, but just when you think he’ll play it straight, enter the growl you’d expect from a guy with an imposing frame and long beard.

The upbeat vibe of “The Swinging Bell” and “Drive You Home,” harkens to John Hiatt, and it would be a treat to see them share the stage. They offer similar stories and accompanying assortment of tempos to give musical accounts of the American experience, truly honest in delivery. The aching message of “Though the Days Are Fleeting” is delivered softly, then spirals into the heights of his falsetto.

He’s a modern day prophet, like the Johnny Appleseed of music, sharing his heartache and spreading hope along his path. Loomis literally bursts with emotion when he performs, but one doesn’t have to see it to hear it. It’s as if he’s compelled in the best way to turn it loose lest it consume him.

“It’s been really powerful for me. These songs are very vulnerable and meaningful for me,” Loomis says. “Americana and roots is our history told in musical form. I feel like having a keen eye on our past helps us to see where we are headed. It helps us process where we are as individuals, as cultures and as a society. Moreover, Americana music tells those stories so effectively.”

“Across the Great Divide” is the final cut, offering inspiration to rise and overcome the difficulties of the past. It’s a triumphant anthem to close what is clearly a very personal bit of work.

(You can listen to “Across the Divide” below and pre-order Bravery and the Bell on Bradford Loomis’s  website  and get more info about him on Facebook HERE.)

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