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Paul Bryan
HANDCUFF KING
(paulbryanmusic.com)

Bryan is best known as a sideman. Heís played bass and sung backing vocals for Aimee Mann on stage since 1999, recorded with Graham Parker and Kate Pierson, and produced Dennis Brennanís excellent Rule No. 1 (Esca). But this exceptional collection of beautifully played pop songs for adults, his first solo album, is overdue. Bryanís sweet, soft-edged vocal style is perfect for these numbers about love and loss. Theyíre set to carefully textured arrangements that propel his lyrics along on gentle guitar and keyboard melodies ó just right for the balance of loss with warm resignation thatís the discís emotional tone. "Houdini and Cecilia" explores the great magicianís will to contact his mother in the spirit world, but itís actually about unquenchable longing. "I Listen to the Rain" is an insomnia-fueled contemplation of a troubled heart. Thereís also a gentle, lightly swinging piano ballad reinvention of Dylanís "Iíll Keep It with Mine." Bryan is airing these numbers in town for the first time this Saturday at the Lizard Lounge with an outfit that includes guitarist Duke Levine, bassist Greg Porter, and fellow Mann band mate drummer John Sands.

(Paul Bryan appears this Saturday, January 29, at the Lizard Lounge, 1667 Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge, with Amy Correia; call 617-492-7679.

BY TED DROZDOWSKI


Issue Date: January 28 - February 3, 2005
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