The Alternate Root’s Top Ten Songs of the Week
BUFFALO, NY (Sept. 4, 2020) – The new album from Brendan & The Strangest Ways finds solace in the dwindling hours of darkness as a raw first-hand vulnerability begins to turn the page on a new chapter in life. Are We Sure The Dawn is Coming? represents being stuck in an increasingly desperate place that feels impossible to escape. The album’s songs tell a collection of stories through the sepia lens of Americana melodies, each one a memory taken from years on the road and across the country.
Brendan Shea creates music for the restless spirit, and Are We Sure The Dawn is Coming? is no exception to that deeply personal honestly. Over the nearly four years it took to write the record, he was going through some dark personal times, including several messy breakups. With the mounting everyday logistic and financial struggles of being a musician adding up and the inability to keep a band together long enough to get it off the ground, he began turning to other forms of escape. Shea explains, “I was drinking too much, trying to stop, and having a lot of difficulty sustaining sobriety, losing count of all the ‘rock bottom’ experiences that were each a little more frightening and dangerous than the previous one. I felt trapped in a downward spiral, with no light at the end of the tunnel.”
This resulting album is a very personal journal of those years and those experiences. Shea’s delivery and cadence walks the line between comfort and conflict as he invites the listener into his traveler’s journey. The resulting nine songs smolder and burn with layers of twang, as various acoustic, electric, and steel guitar elements meld with punctuated banjo and expressive fiddle melodies. From the plea to stop fighting on “We Can Beat Mercury” to the realization of overwhelming circumstances on “Turn Your Luck”, Are We Sure The Dawn is Coming? has a common thread throughout with a new layer exposed upon each listen.
Are We Sure The Dawn Is Coming? Track Listing
- Emerald City’s Gone
- We Can Beat Mercury
- Poor Waking Hours
- The Good
- My Little Hypocrite
- Light Me a Candle
- Turn Your Luck
About Brendan & the Strangest Ways
Brendan Shea adopted the moniker Brendan & the Strangest Ways to create music for the restless spirit. Heartfelt reflections comprise the songs: loves and losses experienced over countless miles traveled in search of something that always felt just a little out of reach.
Early in 2019, Brendan and the Strangest Ways broke ground on the sophomore album Are We Sure The Dawn Is Coming? at County Q in Nashville. In October 2019, Brendan connected with veterans of Buffalo’s alternative country scene and former members of the band Bareback Jack: Tommy Bijak (electric guitar), Pete Wilson (drums), Paul Belardi (bass) and Kenny Blesy (steel guitar) to reform the Strangest Ways. The members backing Shea on Brendan & the Strangest Ways have done stints in Nashville recording and playing live. In their previous band, they opened for Marty Stuart and Charlie Daniels.
Praise for “We Can Beat Mercury”
“Top Ten Songs of the Week” – The Alternate Root
“a powerful hook-laden country rocker” – Beehive Candy
“solid country-rock song-writing” – Americana UK