Album Reviews

Brent Best

Your Dog, Champ

Artist:     Brent Best

Album:     Your Dog, Champ

Label:     Last Chance Records

Release Date:     08/07/2015

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Saddled with an unlikely name and even more unlikely lack of broader success, Texas band Slobberbone never came close to achieving the notoriety that clearly seemed their due. Therefore, one can only hope that lead singer Brent Best can garner the praise that sadly eluded his compatriots. Suffice it to say it wouldn’t be a matter of poetic retribution — the fact of the matter is that Best has created a set of songs that ring with the kind of timeless appeal best reflected by artists that are far more wizened than he. Nevertheless, Best’s gravelly vocals and weary perspective make these songs sound like the vintage narratives their subjects suggest, all homespun tales of remembrance and remorse spun from the distant light of age and sorrow.

For every assertive anthem like “Good Man Now” or gritty, hardbitten tale exemplified in “Tangled” there are a wealth of laments — “Robert Cole,” “Daddy Was a Liar” and “It Is You” included. Even so, there’s a certain resolve borne through these songs, conveyed with a detail and clarity that fosters both sympathy and understanding. Your Dog, Champ places Best on the same platform as other tattered troubadours — Guy Clark, Steve Earle and Townes Van Zandt among them. Whether he’s eventually elevated to a similar level of acclaim remains to be seen, but should he continue to make records as rewarding as this, there’s no doubt he’ll eventually come close.

– Lee Zimmerman

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