The name Brandon Heath is becoming more and more known; with three major albums, multiple Dove Awards, and the hit single "Give Me Your Eyes," this artist is making an impact on the music community. Still, every artist has to have started somewhere. Early Stuff is that place for Brandon Heath. The amateur singer/songwriter that made Early Stuff is not quite the same professional we know Brandon Heath to be today. This album was before the record deal, the awards, and the hit singles.
Musically, almost every track on Early Stuff is just Heath with his voice and his guitar, with the exception of piano appearing on "Overdue," and an additional guitar on "Nothing But The Chill." So, needless to say, this album has an acoustic feel to it. From this album, it is obvious that Heath's real approach in his songs is something he has valued since the beginning. The themes on the album do not have much spiritual depth to them, but are still very inspirational. For example, "Tyler's Lullaby" is about Heath's nephew who died at a young age. Two songs, "Set on You" and "Running Wild," were written by Heath to play at friends' weddings. "Small Town Flame" is a song that was inspired by the film Forrest Gump. So, although many of the songs are encouraging and moving, the spiritual message is not present here as much as it is in some of Heath's later music.
The first track on the album, "Our God Reigns," later became a single and jump-started the early days of Heath's career as a signed artist. This rendition is recognizable as the same song heard on the radio, even though it is very raw and acoustic. The style of this original version flows very well with Heath's other songs on this record, even though it may stick out to the current Brandon Heath fan. Because this was an independent release, it comes as no surprise that Early Stuff features no creative mixing, extra instrumentation, and skillful production. For Brandon's first project, this is a good showcase of his songwriting talent and passion for music.
In the CD insert, Heath wrote, "I was talking with some friends the other day about my theory on how most artists' best music is their early stuff. There are rare occasions when these artists put out some amazing songs later in their careers, but it's rare. I listen to the songs on this record and think, 'I hope this isn't the best stuff I ever put out!'" He has come out with some chart-toppers since then, so I think his hope is proving to be true. This album is not too impressive when treated as a stand-alone record, but as the humble beginnings of this talented artist, it has the unique potential to show us how this once unknown artist began his impressive career.JFH Reader Review: Review date: 6/3/11, written by Ben Coakley for Jesusfreakhideout.com
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