Review by LarryG|
2½ stars out of 4
A blind middle aged musician who had been playing for years on
the street, in churches and in small bars is discovered by young rock
musicians floored by his authenticity. It's quite a story but the
great thing about Time To Discover is that the music is as good as the
story. Time To Discover is a very cool, smooth record. With his
seemingly effortless singing, Bradley is the embodiment of soul and
the blues and the band supplies the easy grooves that give the record
a classic sound.
Bradley is consistently cool yet his voice has an edge of
experience that gives the songs gravity. On the single Baby, both the
content and Bradley's laid back delivery bring Marvin Gaye to mind.
Bradley makes his move and slyly invites a new friend to "stay here
tonight." Brothers Michael and Andrew Nehra play guitar and bass and
they also produced Time To Discover. They consistently provide full,
seductive backgrounds that show an intimate knowledge with 70's soul.
Smooth female backing vocals, orchestral string effects, Michael's
inobtrusive bluesy guitar and Jeff Fowlkes' steady beat give Baby an
easy 70's soul sound that supports Bradley and doesn't overwhelm him.
There's not much new on Time To Discover. Bradley's singing on Higher
is reminiscent of Pop Staples' on his version of Jackson Browne's
World In Motion. The easy rocker Gambler has a riff like Stevie
Wonder's I Wish. The title track references Joe Cocker's Feelin'
Alright. But even if it's not incredibly original, Time To Discover is
definitely a worthy listen because of the inviting music and Bradley's
cool yet dominating personality. Kid Rock, who like the band, hails
from Detroit opens Higher with a rap but Bradley's charisma soon makes
Kid Rock a supporting player. Bradley oozes spirituality as he asks to
be taken higher over Michael Nehra's gritty psychedelic guitar and the
sound of rising strings. Tramp 2, which Kid Rock produced, has a more
mechanical beat and doesn't have the same full sound and groove as the
rest of the record but it still sounds a lot more like Bradley than
Kid Rock. To Kid Rock's credit, he doesn't try to impose his style.
The music has a austere, restrained feel which is an interesting
contrast to the CD's bigger arrangements and an appropriate
accompaniment to Bradley's modest tale of some of the stops he's made
between his birthplace in Alabama and his current home Detroit. Tramp
2 is one of the few songs not about Bradley as love man. Keyboards and
backing vocals give the blues rock of Ride a vibrant energy as Bradley
sings about following his mother's advice and holding his head high as
he takes on the mystery of love. On the soul ballad You & Me, Bradley
is irresistably alluring, promising his woman a dream life. The music
is restrained but still flavorful.
Time To Discover is a very good record. Bradley has a rich,
evocative voice and a beguiling, cocky persona. The music is familiar
and respectful of its 70's soul sources but it's strong and has its