Recorded in his basement under lockdown, with the band down to a three-piece (Tyler Bryant played bass himself), this album could have been lowkey.
But no. It began as one song – the upbeat Crazy Days – recorded in response to the pandemic flipping the world upside-down, grew into an EP, and emerged as a fully-fledged fourth album.
By turns heavy (Pressure and Fuel), bluesy (the barbed-wire slide-filled Hitchhiker) and funky (Wildside), its palette of styles is richer than on previous records.
Okay, Automatic echoes early Aerosmith, Misery follows Nazareth’s take on Woody Guthrie’s Vigilante Man… but even the bluesy Loner and the T Bone Burnett-style acoustic Coastin’ sound fresh.
Three songs feature Bryant’s wife Rebecca Lovell (of roots-rock duo Larkin Poe) on vocals, and Blackberry Smoke’s Charlie Starr sings on Holdin’ My Breath, but it peaks with the poignant, soul-searching beauty of Like The Old Me. Bryant has truly come of age with this record.