What: Jeff Brinkman Band, Strange
Where: Albums on the Hill, 1128 13th St., Boulder, 303-447-0159
T he latest album from the Jeff Brinkman Band is out, and it’s beautiful. It’s also one of those records that packs an emotional punch, so we caught up with Brinkman to talk about making the recording with his songwriting partner, Mark Kranjcec.
You know, I’m not a particularly sentimental person, but this album changed that for at least 40 minutes. Do you find people getting emotional over your music often?
I have definitely had that. The people that have really been into it usually stay into it and usually become friends of ours. I would hope that the music has a pretty strong impact on people. I think we’re getting better at touching a deeper chord with our songwriting.
Of course, a lot of the reactions people have are thanks to your songwriting. Tell me a little about writing the music for Strange.
I think the songwriting on this album — Mark and I really tried to peel it back a few layers and try to be a little more transparent about what we’re trying to say. The song “Island” is about growing a family, and “Kiss” is more about growing a relationship. “Look at You Now” is more about what it’s like to fail at being a musician and keep going. There’s a lot of, I guess, it’s a little more naked. Actually releasing it, we felt pretty strongly about it and we’ve had really, really good responses, and a lot of good support locally. A lot of people around Colorado think we’re doing something right. I feel like the first album, we were under a few layers kind of hiding a little bit, and this one was a little more, like I said, naked.
So how does that partnership with Mark work when you’re making a record?
It’s been awesome. When we first initially started it was, I’d bring something to the table and he’d add to it and vice versa. The majority of the stuff we come up with now, we’ll sit down together. We’ve gotten to a place where working together is pretty intuitive. I’ll have an idea and he’ll finish the idea. It’s a lot more of working together throughout the whole process and adding to each other’s thoughts.
And that’s a benefit of having a long working relationship with someone.
We’re really fortunate with that. I feel like it’s gonna be a strong album and I’m already thinking about the next one. … By the time you’ve finished an album, hopefully you’ve grown more. We’re already excited about the next album and excited about this one coming out. It’s been a positive experience and we’re finding more and more what kind of shape the music that we create should be.
Did you end up having a favorite song on the record? One you think really stands out?
I felt like the “Island” song was the most simple and deep and in the format that I would like to try and strive toward. I think that would probably be one of my favorites on the album. Lyrically, it felt like it had a picture and all the elements that I wanted to put into it. And also, it was one of the ones that happened in 45 minutes and we looked at and examined and thought, ‘Let’s keep it.’
Do you find that those gut-instinct songs are usually the most meaningful?
When those things happen, it’s a good sign that the song’s gonna do something or organically kind of build itself. The ones that you try to hammer, and re-hammer, and retool and change it — those are the ones that end up being… They’re still good, but they help you recognize when the others are going to work. We had a good amount of the true songs on the album and we put a lot of work into it.
You can hear the music live and pick up a copy of Stranger at the release party at West Flanders Brewing Co. on Dec. 6. You can also hear some of the songs in his performance at our in-office studio at secondstorygarage.com.