While some are content to let fate shape their lives, Brett Randell decided to forge his destiny with his own two hands. The native New Yorker did not come alive to his musical giftings until he turned 20 but when he did he set about writing, singing and playing like there was no tomorrow. Within a couple of months he had mastered the acoustic guitar he had gifted himself on his 20th birthday. A year later, Brett shelved his plans for settling into a comfortable business career for the uncertain path of a professional musician. He moved to Austin, Texas to hone his skills as a live performer. By 2010 he had two EPs (one of which is ‘Glow’) and several gigs across the US and Europe under his belt.
Still Brett yearned for a deeper way to connect with the creative side of him. And so in 2012 he bought a one-way ticket to Florence, Italy having nothing in mind but playing, singing and writing. All he had was a backpack and that first guitar he bought. During his travels through vineyards in Tuscany, ancient Roman streets in Croatia and parks in Tbilisi he got to rub shoulders with people of all walks. He also loaded up on material for his next release. But even after going back to the States Randell spent most of 2013 traveling around the US before settling in Denver, Colorado.
It was here that the singer-songwriter began work on his latest project, ‘Rise’. It took him the better part of 2014 and 2015 to record the five songs that make up this EP, but you will be happy that he took his time. Not only has Randell succeeded in molding the experiences from his travels into poetic imagery, he is untouchable on the guitar. And to make sure everything sounds like it should, he had Xandy Whitesel, who does live sound for Bon Iver, help him with the recording and mixing.
In the title track, Brett is essentially singing his life story while encouraging the listener to unearth that treasure they have buried deep inside; to reach for that place of happiness and fulfillment they deserve. There’s an air of hope and rejuvenation in the guitar licks and Caleb Polashek’s whining violin as Brett croons, “You’ll rise above with light and love, your eyes shine with something golden that can’t be broken.” Daniel Herman adds some gentle piano notes towards the end to consummate the spiritual aura of the tune.
‘Ghost’ is the song that best captures the feelings of aloneness and despair that arose during Brett’s time as a footloose wanderer. Accompanied by nothing but his beloved box guitar, like he was when he trudged about Europe, he sings of the “Ghost of your love is always inside me no matter how far…” The cello-backed ‘Enigma’ is a fitting closer for the album, hinting that the 28 year-old has merely scratched the surface of his immense talent and artistry. He couldn’t have picked a more melodious way to say, “to be continued”.
Download Rise here.
Miami Based, Internationally Known