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Quotes

"Merging genres and writing honest, poetic, insightful lyrics that speak to the heart and doing so while providing a great hook, Brian Larney's At the Starting Line is a masterful work."

Andrew Greenhalg - Along The Journey

"This is everything you enjoy about Wilco, Glenn Tilbrook, and Neil Finn wrapped up in one package."

Joshua Smotherman - Middle Tennessee Music

"Each song gives us something to remember and that is definitely a positive quality."

Matthew Forss - Inside World Music

"His charisma and voice are distinctive enough to pull off anything he wants to do."

Wildy Haskell - Wildy's World

About Brian Larney

For years singer-songwriter Brian Larney had been a band guy quietly amassing a solo back catalog of exquisite pop-rock. Though he felt fulfilled in the collaborative partnership of a band, deep down he always wondered whether he could create something uniquely his own. With the sophisticatedly accessible At The Starting Line (Nunya Records) he proves he can, and boldly showcases his personal and prodigious songwriting gifts.

“It’s a triumph of the spirit,” the Bridgeport, Connecticut artist says laughing playfully. “I always hid within bands so everything about this is like starting over, hence the title, At The Starting Line.

At The Starting Line conjures up the refined hooks and winsome introspection of artists such as Crowded House’s Neil Finn, Michael Penn, and XTC’s Andy Partridge. Larney seasons his imaginative songs with a modicum of Americana replete with back porch harmonies and shimmering twang. Larney’s writing manages to be both wry and wide-eyed. “You Me And Allison” is a clever “us verses them” anthem, with expansive ringing guitars elegantly adorning a masterfully written folk song core. “That’s a song about friends going ‘let’s take off!’” Larney explains. “I like the idea of three people as a team against the world, everybody usually seems to do two people against the world.”

Larney’s vocals are sweetly plaintive, imbuing the weightier tunes with an elegant poignancy. On “Why God Why” he sings: Wake up Dad I need you now/Is this the place you were layed down?/And why are you still sleeping? “That’s the most personal song on the album, I had to trick myself into doing it,” he confides. On “Solace” he juxtaposes social commentary about spiritual oppression with graceful roots-pop.

“I'm attracted to the way people like Glenn Tilbrook, Neil Finn, and Michael Penn weave melodies through chords in a non pop way that’s still really hooky. I know it’s nerdy,” he says with a smile. “But they all deliver hooks, and I’m such a sucker for hooks.”

Larney grew up in the Northeast obsessed with well-crafted songs and the art of harmonizing. “I would get to school at 6:00 AM and go into the piano practice room and pick out songs and work on harmonies,” he says. As a songwriter, his early efforts were he says, “overly complicated 7-minute opuses.” Through his eclectic tastes as a listener—which span pop to bluegrass—and work as a gigging musician within a diverse array of bands, including the genres pop-punk, power pop, post-punk, and hardcore, he gradually essentialized his songwriting style.

Noted cinematic Americana songwriter David Mayfield produced the album at SUMA Recording Studios in Painesville, OH. Larney was a fan of David’s work in The David Mayfield Parade and sought an audio vérité production aesthetic with organic performances captured with pristine fidelity. “In the past, when I recorded, I tried to make everything perfect. I would do so many takes. I squeezed the life out of the music,” Larney explains. “David brought out this air of ‘acceptance’ in the music where expression was paramount.”

“I wanted to do this so bad, it feels like I ‘tricked’ myself into making it, happen” Larney says, thoughtfully assessing the road that brought him At The Starting Line. “I really had to bust through the fear and the dream aspect of this and just do it. Now I got to trick myself into taking this to the stage!”

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