Volume 1 (n / a)
Reviewed by Doug Freeman, Fri., June 13, 2008
Brian BirdwellVolume 1
Given the sudden superstar re-emergence of Jack Johnson, it's not surprising to discover a new contingent of mellow-minded balladeers surfing in his wake. Though locally landlocked, Brian Birdwell's debut breezily pops with beach bonfire bon mots. The lawn-chair philosophy of "Jesus & Buddha" and "Free Ride" lap expectedly playful but ultimately shallow, complemented by the carpe-diem meanderings of "Life Is Short" and Shawn Mullins-styled "California Girl." Birdwell's acoustic strum-and-thump strikes best on the tender "Certain Things," his voice carrying a soft tremble, as well as the melodic picking of closer "Soulful Lovin' Man," though unimaginative lines, like "I want to thank you for listening to my songs, thank you for sharing your touch," on "Thank You," undermine his indisputable sincerity. Volume 1 is refreshingly light and catchy but dips below the surface.