What would happen if Bill Monroe, Layne Staley, Johnny Cash, and Marilyn Manson decided to collaborate, on an album together? Well you can bet it would probably sound something like, Bird in the Tangle, the first solo album by Brett Detar, former lead singer of the emo/indie/rock band The Juliana Theory. Detar released the album November 9, 2010 and decided to give it away as a free download, on his website, www.bretdetar.com. Just go to his sight and enter your email and bada bing bada boom the album is all yours. All songs on the album were produced and written by Detar except for “A Miner’s Prayer,” which was co-written by Detar and Nate Campany. Furthermore, Nashville session musicians back Detar’s haunted vocals and superb acoustic guitar style, throughout the album, with instruments that include the banjo, fiddle, steel guitar, harmonica, and mandolin.
The album is a departure from the indie-rock Detar is known for. He describes his music from Bird in the Tangle, on www.myspace.com/brettdetarmusic, as “Americana/Country/Roots music,” as the album is a synthesis of Country, Folk, Bluegrass, Blues, and Rock. From the whining dark tone of the steel guitar, on the albums first track, “Empty House on a Famous Hill,” the ghosts of country music enter your consciousness and prepare you for the ride. Detar’s unique vocal delivery on the song, coupled with his delicate picking on guitar, help tell the story of a man who knows he has to leave the woman and town he loves because if he doesn’t, as the lyrics point out, “If you sell your heart/ to their empty souls/ you’ll be vacant like this house upon the hill.” The dark and poetic lyrics on the album’s third track, “It’s Only the Night”, convey the desperation and despair of living a life of excess. “Cocaine, Whiskey, and Heroin,” is a classic bluegrass song with an up tempo foot stomping rhythm that is in direct contrast with the narrative of the lyrics. It tells of a man conscious of the fact that he is losing everything to addiction.
Detar put his blood, sweat, and soul into his first solo album and it paid off artistically. Bird in the Tangle is a classic album that could only be produced by an artist with full artistic control over his own music. If you have not already obtained a copy of this album you need to. While there are so many crossover artists trying to make a buck off the popularity of Country Music, almost all of them are city dwelling carpetbaggers or posers that have no real interest in the genre. This is not the feeling one gets from Brett Detar after listening to his new album. Detar grew up on a farm in the hills of Western Pennsylvania, and it seems, despite his running away, the country never left his soul. For more information on Detar, to purchase his album on vinyl, or to download your own digital copy of his album, visit his website, www.brettdetar.com. You can also join Detar at www.facebook.com/BrettDetarMusic or www.myspace.com/brettdetarmusic.