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Music Review - `Overdue` by Severin Browne (ea)

Severin Browne - Overdue (click on image to watch video)

 27  June 2021



“On my way to play a bar in the South Bay I used to stop and see the dad that couldn’t remember me But I remembered him, the builder of my jungle-gym, on my way to play a bar in the South Bay.” That’s Severin Browne’s poignant song “On My Way To Play,” from his latest album, “Overdue.” 

Growing up in a musical family, Severin  mastered accordion, drums, saxophone and guitar all before puberty hit. Older brother Jackson, became a million-selling Singer-Songwriter alongside like-minded artists like Joni Mitchell, Linda Ronstadt, The Eagles and Warren Zevon. 

 Severin inked a deal  with Motown at  age 21, first as a staff-songwriter than a recording artist. Other musicians had hits with his compositions, but he’s managed to carve out a satisfying solo career on smaller labels over the last several decades.  Recent albums include “From The Edge Of The World,” “This Twisted Road” and “Lucky Man-A Songwriter’s Notebook.” Now he returns with the aptly entitled “Overdue.” The record opens  with the one-two punch of  “Young And Free” and “Sparkling River.” The former is an expansive ode to the sometimes reckless and feckless follies of youth. The latter is melancholy and measured. A courtly and crystalline meditation on love and loss. Although  his  melodies are in the same wheelhouse as Jackson’s, and vocally, there’s a family  resemblance (Severin’s tenor is more reedy),  lyrically,  his nuanced narratives lean closer to Loudon Wainwright III.

  That descriptive flair is especially evident on the aforementioned “On My Way…” Smoky harmonica partners with rippling mandolin jangly guitars and a sturdy backbeat a he unspools a yarn that’s  instantly familiar to anyone who’s elderly parent’s memory issues are consistent with the onset of Alzheimer’s. With a few deft strokes he paints a vivid tableau shot through with humor and grief; “The nurses say he’s like allmen and sometimes he will flirt with them, other times he is withdrawn, obviously almost gone/At first,  he smiled and asked about the family, now he doesn’t know my name, but I can’t say the same.”

Highlights on “Overdue” include the title-track, a barbed groover that pays homage to indefatigable bar bands everywhere. Then there’s the brilliant musical hues displayed on “Fukushima Sunset” and the Gospel-tinged Rocker, “I Am, I Will.”   “Miguel And Maria” is a deceptive South Of The Border charmer that speaks to the on-going  plight of the immigrant. The album closes with the sultry saloon song, “Quiet Night.”


Music Reviewer - Eleni P. AustinEleni P. Austin - I was born into a large, loud Greek family and spent my formative years in the Los Angeles enclaves of Laurel Canyon and Los Feliz. My mother moved us to the Palm Springs area just in time for puberty and Disco.  I have spent over 40 years working in record stores, starting back in High School.

I wrote music reviews for the Desert Sun from 1983 to 1988. I began doing the same for the Coachella Valley Weekly in 2012.

I live in Palm Springs with my wife and our amazing dog, Denver. 

To Read All of Eleni P.'s Reviews, Click Here




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