I asked a handful of my favorite Indianapolis musicians to review my debut album, "Let's Begin." Here's Ryan M. Brewer's take. Brewer is a household name on the Indy singer/songwriter circuit and (allegedly) a hard-working touring musician. I greatly respect Ryan's songwriting and loved hearing his thoughts on the album.
From the viewpoint of a fan, I can't say enough good about Steve Boller's new record "Let's Begin". From the viewpoint of a singer/songwriter in the Indianapolis usic scene... I find nothing about his record to be the slightest bit relaxing.
From the audacity of opening the record with an a capella une, to the unbridled optimism that peppers the lyrical narrative, to the sugary-sweet radio-ready goodness that colors every track.. .this record sets the bar pretty high for independent artists everywhere - let alone those in his own scene. It is, however, one that we should all heed... and let me tell you why.
I've known Steve for a while now and what has always drawn me to him as a musician is his fearlessness. He's never scared to explore a new genre or to entertain a possible new influence... and that fearlessness and that ability to remain untethered by the confines of easy genre classification are all over "Let's Begin". But the aspect of his courage that is most striking is his refusal to be intimidated by happiness.
This may sound silly to non-songwriters... but a lot of us struggle to write entirely happy songs. Melancholia often appears to be written into our DNA. Steve is different. His lyricism is unabashedly positive and can, at times, read out like a self-help book. One not yet familiar with Boller as a musician might think that sounds like fingernails on a chalkboard... or at the very least boring... and the truth is - it might, were the songs not so damn good. His always encouraging, never patronizing glass-half-full spin permeates topics at once universal and personally relatable - not letting difficulties bog down relationships, overcoming self-doubt to make and tackle goals, and fulfilling your calling as a songwriter despite the obstacles that may appear along the way. In my rarely humble opinion, "Let's Begin" should have been self-titled. Because, while it does serve as our introduction to Steve as a full-length record creating artist, it also encompasses everything that Steve Boller is as a guy and as a musician.
I'm over-the-moon to have gotten an early copy of this record in order to write this review and can honestly tell you it's been in a back and forth spin battle with Katie Pederson's "Loose Ends" in my tour car for weeks.
Fans of good songwriting, high quality musicianship and thoughtful arrangements should obviously give the record a listen... but every musician struggling to maintain the precarious three-way balance of home life - the day job - and a passion to pursue music should give it SEVERAL listens. We're a gloomy, pessimistic bunch and "Let's Begin" is the self-help book we desperately need.
...And if you're excited about the album, go grab tickets to the album release show, June 30th at The Hi-Fi! VIP tickets are running out: