Grounded in a firm belief that pop music and intellectual lyrics are not mutually exclusive, Briar Rabbit coined the phrase “thought-pop” to describe his sound. “A lot of times [pop music] feels like an idea that someone didn’t believe you were capable of chewing and mushed it to baby food. For me, the chewing is essential.”
With his suspenders and classic style, it’s easy to imagine Briar Rabbit on a stage decades ago crooning away. He is not only a musician, but also a storyteller, writing his lyrics with the intentions of having them processed by listeners and creating a dialogue with his fans. While his “thought-pop” is captivating, Briar Rabbit wants listeners to really respond to the lyrics which he carefully crafts like a story, just as his namesake would insinuate.
In 2011, Rabbit's debut release, The Company You Keep, dealt with the usual suspects of songwriting (love, loss, and self), and for 2012's Black History Month, he wrote an EP called The Great Routine, about a fictional black actor performing as a minstrel in the early 1900's. His newest release, From Your Bones (out September 10), digs deeper while presenting a songwriter really coming into his own. Produced by Chicago jazz pianist Josh Moshier, recorded by Mike Hagler (Wilco, Neko Case) and with contributions from Jeff Parker (Tortoise) and Quin Kirchner (Wild Belle), Briar Rabbit says the new release is quite the Chicago record.
He draws inspiration from reflecting on past situations, most notably involving love and personal growth. In the relationship-tinged “So Long,” Briar Rabbit portrays the last steps in getting over a break-up set to a pulsating folk rhythm. “Bothered No More” features a waltz that floats along on the album, while reflecting on a falling out with a former bandmate. While he’s demonstrated his songwriting and singing talents touring the midwest, Rabbit also spent some time collecting accolades in his home base, Chicago, such as Taste of Chicago, ABC 7's Windy City Live, being featured in a full-length film, WBEZ, The Huffington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Red Eye; while steadily haunting the city's staple venues.
With a commanding stage presence in tow, Briar Rabbit achieves musical complexity without pretension, combines multi-layered lyrics with infectious melody, and presents self-awareness with a strong sense of honesty. It's smart, catchy, and something we didn't even know we needed.