Country Jukebox Jury LP: Brad Cox – My Mind’s Projection

Brad Cox – My Mind’s Projection

This album came out towards the end of last year, so I come to praise it belatedly. Brad is an Australian who is huge over there (and huge everywhere, he’s a burly bloke) but, having opened for Jon Pardi and Brett Eldredge, he’s got a foot in Nashville.

I love the album’s single Give Me Tonight, a rocker which reminded me of Semisonic and namechecks John Denver. After Brad meets a girl at a bar in verse one, he bellows the chorus and in verse two pieces together last night, ending in a ‘handwritten letter’. Drinking Season was also rolled out a few months before the album’s release. It’s a chugging rocker where Brad is drinking by the lake. I love the animated video where various animals are chugging beer or lazing on the grass. Backwoods Creek, I’d love to hear a cover of it.

Album opener Hold Me Back is a perfect set opener too, the type that Jason Aldean cranks out once a year so he can now fill an entire set with ‘You ready to party?’ music. The devil appears, as does a very rude word which can be abbreviated MF, and in verse two there’s ‘blood on my face’. The title track has a similar mood and a cameo from the devil before a Memphis-type horn section come in to soundtrack Brad ‘chasing trouble’. I can see why Brad wanted to name the album after this track.

I suppose he couldn’t call it Caught in a Noose by a Stranger, after the LP’s penultimate, eight-minute song, complete with muted trumpet outro. ‘Honest’ Brad is trapped by a femme fatale stabbing him in the back, possibly represented by the meandering solo in the middle of the song. There’s a lot of Stapleton in the arrangement and this would be the centrepiece of his live set.

On Remedy, a crash of drums brings Adam Eckersley in to sympathise with Brad, who can’t stop thinking of his beloved and ‘running up hills backwards’ while a guitar weeps in the background. Adam has visited the UK to play Buckle and Boots and I hope Brad gets to come over when events allow him to.

The third single was heartbreak song Short Lived Love which begins ‘I’m trapped in a hospital room…inside my head’ and continues with despair and woe, as Brad (who wrote the music and lyrics by himself) delivers a wounded vocal from a character who turns to ‘the harshest chemicals’ and tries to ‘disappear’ while the melody line repeats itself into submission.

Wasted Time opens with Brad wanting to ‘numb my pain’ cos ‘it’s happy hour and I’m feeling down’. I also like the mention of Brad’s home state of New South Wales, but it’s a very bleak lyric set to a charming major-key melody because ‘I know I’ll find a way…all she put me through is wasted time’.

The ubiquitous Randy Montana co-writes the wedding song Thought I Knew Love (‘till you loved me’), with rimshots on the backbeat and Brad around a fire ‘with a couple of pals’. There are touches of harmonica too to underscore a list of ways to define love and companionship. I Keep Driving sees him, guitar in tow, throwing out any ‘need for a GPS’ with ‘no destination’ in mind. It’s the album’s poppiest moment.

Brad closes with the elegant I Still Want More, where he wishes to meet the mother and see the hometown of his beloved, and move things along to the soundtrack of trumpets and another crunchy guitar solo. This is an album full of peril and demons, with the odd moment of light and celebration. I would love to know more about Brad and I’m only sorry that I’ve only just got round to listening to the album.

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