I'm Bryan Masters, and these are my songs.
Bryan Masters' crooked heart was educated along the two-lane blacktops and dirt roads of Kansas, and his music speaks of small towns, dreams lost and found, and the torments of real love. It's literate, lyrical Americana that croons country and blurts rockabilly. Imagine a bare-knuckles brawl between John Prine and Elvis Costello, refereed by the fat guy from Barenaked Ladies.
Bryan's newest release, The Incredible Adventures of Back Porch Buddha, is finally available. It was a long labor of love, and worth the wait. Preview the CD and buy it today!
Recorded live by good friend and Roomfull of Walters guitarist Mark Scheltgen, this new CD showcases Bryan's songs in fully-realized arrangements longtime musical co-conspirator (and the other half of Back Porch Buddha) Dennis Hardin, as well as some of the region's finest musical talent. These are songs that stand up well in solo performance, and they shine even more brightly in a full-band context. Here's what others are saying about it:
"What you're holding in your hands is an instrument of truth.
"Its primary creators, Bryan Masters and Dennis Hardin, channel music with uncommon accuracy, clarity and an elegant simplicity that allows the keen knowing of Masters' ear, eye and heart to illuminate the familiar and render it in a light that allows the listener to see the disappointments, sorrows, triumphs and joys of their lives and the lives others for the first time.
"In Masters' world, we are one, joined by both our shared and singular experiences, the ache of oncoming forgiveness behind "Heart Shaped Hole," the soothing sentiment within "September 14, 1966," the celebratory bop of "Goodbye Kiss" and the emotionally tugging but unsentimental catalogue of loss and losing, "Good Man Down." Hardin's flavorful guitar licks add important but unobtrusive dimensions to Masters' songs, as evidenced on tracks such as "Two Flattop Guitars," "Neighbors" and "Most of July," where he lends a sense of lyricism and soul akin to David Lindley's work with Jackson Browne.
"Joined by the ace rhythm section of John Probst (bass) and Steve Hatfield (drums) as well as backing vocalists Barney Byard and Shalen Scheltgen, Masters and Hardin take the listener on a journey through the peaks and valleys of the human experience, leaving us occasionally sad but ultimately elevated for knowing that someone out there has been through the same thing. So listen up to the laid back sounds of Back Porch Buddha, to the inherent happiness of "When You Smile," to the folktastic "Small Town Kids," to the spiritual but earthbound "One Candle/Grace," to each of the songs that they and their band of merrymakers have gifted us with on this caring journey through and about the ever-changing and ever-fragile human condition.
"What you are holding in your hands is an instrument of truth and a portrait of unspeakable beauty. Enjoy the ride."
"How ... to talk about a rootsy music that is melodically focused, lyrically witty, energetic, and filled with the kinds of hooks you'd expect from a polished guitar pop band? ... Doesn't Bryan Masters know singer-songwriter songs are supposed to musically meander and be depressing? ... (This) handful of pop-disguised-as-folk tunes defines Masters as unique among the current crop of whisky-voiced, world-weary troubadours of the heartland."
Many thanks to all the people who helped to make this record, and to everybody who lent encouragement along the way. Please enjoy your visit to this site, and don't forget to join the mailing list.