In hindsight, it’s easy to understand why hearing a prepubescent kid sing “Darling Nikki” might make someone uncomfortable, but to her credit, it was my allowance and I could listen to what I wanted. To someone raised on mostly Irish folk songs and 70s pop ala Abba, Purple Rain sounded like it came from an entirely different planet. I thought Prince was the coolest person on earth.
I still do.
The more I learn about music, the more I appreciate that record. I’ve heard it countless times, enough to wear out that cassette, buy another, buy a CD, and transfer it to the computer. It still surprises and thrills me. I’m listening to it as I write this; I might even be listening while you read it. We tried to make the title track on my new record sound like a cross between Prince and Tom Waits since those two set the standard for me. You can twist those songs into whatever form you like and they hold up. I’ve heard a honky-tonk version of “Take Me WIth U,” a folk version of “When Doves Cry,” and a straight up rock version of “The Beautiful Ones” and they all worked. A great song bends; it doesn’t break.
This an album about love, sex, family, spirituality, technology and everything in between and it tells you that with one of the best opening lines ever: “Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called life.” And while it may have lost some of its ability to shock over time, it’s still music that’s alive, alive and beating with a funky, purple heart.
Bryan Dunn’s classic roots rock weaves tales of romance, murder mystery, ghost stories and late night drinking with catchy hooks and clever wordplay. A true storyteller, his mix of Texas Twang, Irish folk, and New York City grit can move audiences to tears with one song and get them dancing with the next. Dunn will release Sweetheart of the Music Hall on April 3rd, a disc that highlights his timeless – at times love-worn and other times exuberant – whiskey-soaked sound.
Think: George Jones and George Harrison drinking Jameson (in Brooklyn).