R E V I E W S

CHUCK LEE BRAMLET-Murder of Crows (Listed under: Artist: CHUCK BRAMLET)
London (James Close)
-Chuck Bramlet ‘s elegant and raw emotional lyricism will hypnotise you. A primitive form of folk rock but an effective one, and overall in these times of computer driven music, a likely album to treasure for the future. Irresistibly introspective and of high acoustic and lyrical quality.

PANARTIST.COM – June, 2004

CHUCK LEE BRAMLET
Pooks Road – Cretaceous Records
What a gem! We get a lot of CDs in here, so many we can barely open the packages, let alone listen to them. When we hear a good one, what a treat, and I must have listened to this one over 200 times already.

This is rock ‘n roll in the tradition of Tom Petty and John Fogerty – guitar strumming, great lyrics, band music, with some folksy tunes as well. Chuck came to North Hollywood from Portland, Oregon where he kicked off his solo career as a writer after gigging and recording with The Violets, Lisa Hayes, and Gingersol as a bassist.

Stating his main influences as being Nick Drake, Johnny Cash, Roger McGuinn to Otis Redding, Bramlet plays music that is definitely old school, picking up where The Byrds, Moby Grape, and Buffalo Springfield left off. On this 11-track CD, starting with the intro “Pooks Road,” the songs take one up and down with killer melodies, some fine strumming, and excellent vocals. Delighted was I to find in the liner notes, after I had already listened to it to death, that Anastasia Newham sings on this project – no wonder it’s so good. Drummer Jano Janosik is the only other musician involved, leaving Bramlet on the guitars, bass, lap steel, accordian and Hammond Organ.

Although the songwriter claims this selection of songs are “dark,” dating back to his time spent in Portland (a dark place), I found the songs to be uplifting, even if they are a little melancholy and undoubtably haunting. The last two cuts, “Long Thin Line,” destined to become a great hit, and “St. Johns Bridge” being an instrumental, will send you back to track one to listen to the whole thing all over again. If addictive forming is dark, then yes, this is a very dark work!

With more sweetening for airplay, I think Chuck would sell a couple million copies!

Anna McWillie – Editor-in-cheif – NoHo LA – Feb 27, 2003

CHUCK LEE BRAMLET
“Murder of Crows” (Cretaceous Records 2004)
Available: Now. Review by Pete Gow
Assured second solo release from the one time Gingersol-Man. After years as sideman in AOR outfits Rebel Train, The Violets and more recently Gingersol, a chance listen to Son Volts ‘Trace’ prompted Chuck Lee Bramlet to put down his bass, pick up a proper guitar & start to write some proper songs. Ahem! So now I have isolated one of the largest music buying demographics in America, a fairly popular & big selling band & all bass players in a single paragraph, do you trust me to lead you through the finer points of ‘Murder of Crows’? ….‘Murder of Crows’ takes its lead from the aforementioned ‘Trace’ as well as perhaps Tom Petty’s ‘Wildflowers’ and Warren Zevon’s ‘The Wind’. Grown up, sure, but with an edge and a little conscience for added social validity… ‘Thank you Starbucks, ’cause there’s one more another block away, are you Justified?’ (Justified) To take the Zevon thing a stage further, on ‘Not My Brother’ the resemblance in singing style is uncanny (As is the similarity in melody with the late masters ‘ She’s Too Good for Me’) although on the Bramlet track we are treated to a stunning backing vocal from the Melissa Etheridgesque Lisa Hayes. Other standout tracks include ‘Justified’ with its double tracked vocal set hauntingly under a trio of driving guitars and ‘Denial’ which deals with an unspecified addiction… ‘How many of those did you take today?’ This record is however, not without its VH1 moments; ‘Dark Star’ ( not the Grateful Dead cover) and ‘Little Lights’ are fairly unimaginative pop tunes, the latter being partially rescued by a lovely mandolin figure holding it together, only partially mind. While influences are worn proudly on its sleeve, in ‘Murder of Crows’, Chuck Lee Bramlet has produced an album that will easily appeal to fans of any of the records mentioned in reference here and recorded it in a style that will ensure a similar longevity. Also available ‘Pooks Road’. www.chuckleebramlet.com

Pete Gow • AMERICANA U.K. – June, 2004

CHUCK LEE BRAMLET
Murder Of Crows
Bramlet has been deservedly compared with Tom Petty and George Harrison. Murder of Crows is an excellent album that also demonstrates how similar his music is to recent material released by Steve Wynn. The song “Justified” even has elements of Adam Schmitt and Crazy Horse. Bramlet’s “alt-pop” songs – like “Midnight Sun” and “Dark Train” – are certainly catchy, and those unfamiliar with his work should seek it out.

Erik Sorensen • Fufkin.com – June, 2004

CHUCK LEE BRAMLET
Murder Of Crows/2004 Cretaceous Records
Chuck’s sophomore release is another first-rate, mid-tempo jangly roots-based pop extravaganza that was established last year on “Pooks Road”. Will appeal immediately to fans of Tom Petty, Wilco, Son Volt, Peter Bruntnell, etc. We particularly love “Dark Train” which very well could be Chuck Lee’s musical answer to Neil Young’s “The Loner”! Makes an excellent first listen after your weekly dose of Sunday morning mellow pop!

Ray Gianchetti • Kool Kat Musik – May, 2004

CHUCK LEE BRAMLET
Murder Of Crows
The follow-up to Bramlet’s debut disc, Pooks Road, makes good on its predecessor’s promise. It’s no feat to self-record an album that’s merely listenable. It’s a far greater task to come up with something distinct. He does it on Murder Of Crows. With Bramlet again handling much of the instrumentation, he solidifies his sound with a rootsy, mid-tempo groove that’s earthy and vibrant, wrapping his Roger McGuinn-esque vocal with a warm and cozy glow. Several friends help out – including former band-mate Lisa Hayes singing duet on “Not My Brother” – but no one more than Jano Janosik, now of Stewboss, whose steady, sizzling drum work is a stark, blistering presence. One of the album’s highlights, “Dark Train”, leaves you with a striking feeling of familiarity that leaves you thinking, “What exactly was that?” The final resolve is, “I can’t place it, but it sure was cool.”

Miles of Music – Apr. 2004

CHUCK LEE BRAMLET
Pooks Road
Chuck Lee Bramlet, ex-Gingersol bassist, makes his solo debut with the textured, jangly, roots pop Pooks Road. Bramlet’s lyrics are honest with a subtle anguish delivered with a sound akin to George Harrison or Jeff Lynne. The standout tracks include Calling You and Explaining To Do. All told, a successful debut from Bramlet which showcases a musical maturity worth exploring over and over.

Miles of Music – Jan. 2003

Chuck Lee Bramlet
Pooks Road 2003/Cretaceous Records EXCELLENT!!
Ex-Gingersol bassist’s DIY solo debut is a rootsy delight! The songs have a haunting quality to them – and Chuck’s Petty-like vocals enriches them! An excellent debut that was a long time in the making. Looking forward to the followup which is already underway!

Ray Gianchetti • Kool Kat Musik – May, 2003

CHUCK LEE BRAMLET | POOKS ROAD
CD, Creataceous /
When bassists are solo, i mainly have my doubts and that goes for Chuck Lee Bramlet. His talents up to now on the guitar were mainly heard in Lisa Hayes and the Violets. Especially this one will not be unknown to many lovers of Americana. In Gingersol, Bramlet is even with other bands of the American scene. On Pooks Road Chuck Lee Bramlet comes to fruition.

This recording takes away my preconceptions. Together with Jano Janosik, the drummer with Stewboss, and singer Anastasia Newham behind Chuck Lee Bramlet plays many other instruments (keyboard etc.) Chuck Bramlet has succeeded in producing a very rich disc, where intensity like a red thread goes through all the songs.

Listening to the record again is different in the ears than the first time. The guitar moments of Pooks Road remind me of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – but different. The finest moments are intense – “Calling You” is one of the highlights, but after that the less flamboyant “Eyes of a Killer” the impact is not less. Every listening brings new surprises.

door Maurice Dielemans – KINDAMUSIK – Twang – Feb 25, 2003

CHUCK LEE BRAMLET
Pooks Road – Cretaceous Records
First solo outing for former Gingersol, Lisa Hayes and Violets bassist Chuck Lee Bramlet. Featuring 11 self-penned songs, this is close to being a one-man show as Chuck handles not just the vocals but all guitars, bass, hammond organ and lap steel too. The only other musicians involved in the project being Stewboss drummer Jano Janosik and backing vocalist Stacie Newham. The result is a solid rather than spectacular collection of country tinged rock/pop. He modestly plays down his musical abilities, claiming “I just bang way till it sounds right” but as is clear from opening track “Love Like Mine”, there is much more than mere ‘banging away’ going on here. Citing Roger McGuinn as an influence, some of his vocals bear much more than a passing resemblance to the Byrds mainman as does much of his guitar work. The chiming, jangly pop of the aforementioned opener and “Long Thin Line” are standouts but there are times when you feel that someone to bounce ideas off and help flesh out some of these songs a little, would not have gone amiss. A promising debut for all that and one which bodes well for follow-up “Murder of Crows”, work on which is already underway and is due later this year.

Patrick Wilkins – Americana UK – March 2003

CHUCK LEE BRAMLET
Pooks Road – Cretaceous Records
Chuck Lee Bramlet was drummer bij het zeer onderschatte alt countrybandje Gingersol. Tegenwoordig is Bramlet solo – en blijkt hij een multi-instrumentalist te zijn. Samen met drummer Jano Janosik (Stewbos) en zangeres Anastacia (Stacie) Newham maakte hij Pooks Road. Dat betekent dus dat Bramlet behalve de zang de meeste instrumenten voor zijn rekening nam, te weten gitaren, orgel, bas, lap steel en accordeon. En dat is op zich knap. Een liedje pennen kan hij ook, gitaarrock a la Tom Petty, met dromerige momenten – alleen is zijn stem niet overtuigend genoeg. Net alsof hij nog wennen moet plotseling zelf in de schijnwerpers te staan. En het een beetje veel is wat allemaal op hem afkomt als solo-artiest. Toch bevat Pooks Road enkele pakkende momenten, te weten de liedjes met iets meer snelheid en power: I Don’t, Explaining To Do (Petty in optima forma) en Long Thin Line.

Bart Ebisch, The Netherlands – Feb 2003 – Alt Country NL

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