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With 30 years of live performances under his belt, Brad Fielder is a well seasoned entertainer. Paying homage to the American experience, he makes folk music for all folks. It's quirky and relevant, old and new fashioned. While busking as a one-man-band or leading a full ensemble on a festival stage the mission remains the same: Bring the music to the people.

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PRESS & REVIEWS

Praise for Way Highly

It’s almost crazy just how much chaos one man can create.

For the intrepid Brad Fielder, it’s the chaos of barely contained junkyard blues, unhinged and unbound by seemingly any adherence to traditional pop structure or melodic stricture.

For Fielder, not one of those elements is as important as the raw sonic outpouring of feeling, and on his newest release, the eight-track, half-hour “Way Highly” – dropped on streaming services on January 19th – those feelings blast through loud and clear.

Well, “clear” might not be the right word.

Everything is distorted, fuzzy, and on the verge of caving in. He plays guitar like Tom Waits sings, with an unstable disregard for accessibility and an absolute commitment to pure, unrestrained individuality, enough to give necessary new meaning to the phrase “one-man band.”

Sure, Fielder sings and plays guitar while sitting and hitting drums with his feet via some pedals and some apparently inexhaustible energy, but it wouldn’t be right to put his music in that same “one-man band” vein of some other remarkably popular local bar-stormers.

Fielder isn’t replicating a kit or a kick-snare backbeat with his foot drumming, Rather, the drums are mainly just there to give him something to stomp and kick while he’s wailing, something he’d presumably be doing anyway.

This isn’t singalong bar rock. It’s not stomp-clap alt-folk. It’s blues. And not that modern, precise electric guitar affectation that John Mayer and Joe Bonamassa call blues.

On “Way Highly,” precision is the enemy. Only unrepressed intensity and smoking Delta-blues fire reign supreme.

And in that sound, there’s something oddly comforting.

Not comforting like a warm blanket. Comforting like a punching bag.

It’s the sound of working-class anger and down-on-your-luck, holes-in-your-shoes energy, and more importantly, it’s the sound of expelling that energy, of ranting and raving your complaints and deepest dreams around an oil drum fire or stowed away on a boxcar.

Fielder is frequently lauded for his obvious grasp of traditionalist blues and the roots of Americana history, and that’s on full display here. But it’s nothing so boring or academic as a throwback style exercise.

These songs just feel like they fell out of him in exactly the state in which you hear them, like there was practically no filter and no time between the writing and hitting record.

And that’s clearly what the songs on “Way Highly” represent. This is as much punk as it is blues or folk. Maybe it’s proof that all of those are really just the same thing.

This is music for everyone that’s ever felt like every day was exactly the same or that’s ever gone out for a walk and ended up spending all their money or that’s ever loved someone that’s not afraid to get their hands dirty.

More than anything, these are songs that openly oppose polish, cleanliness, and clarity and instead stand for the simple truth that music is available for anyone and that it can scream and grunt and wail and stomp whenever you need it to.

Brad Fielder finds comfort in cacophony on ‘Way Highly’

Brett Fieldcamp, Oklahoma City Free Press, January 23, 2024

My buddy Brad Fielder has once again produced something that is entirely unique. This is an LP album of “one man band style” music. It is a mess o’ dirty electrified old timey, bluesy, outlaw, indie rock folk music.

I wouldn’t call it a big stylistic departure for him, but the one-man style gives it a more pressing, raucous, immediate presence. His foot is stomping a bass drum while he picks, slides, strums, and sings.

He recorded it in all of 2 hours which gives it a cadence of live performance, especially when he peppers in a little banter, and the whole production has a distorted, chrome, sepia, edgy tone.

There are three original songs: Every Day, Hundred Dollar Day, and Stew Meat Hands. The rest are hard-spun covers that sound like they could be Fielder originals. The originals are standouts to me, though: playful, mouthy, hard-edged. Stew Meat is particularly quintessential of Brad’s brilliant humor and flavor.

I’m not gonna write an exhaustive review, but this is a truly special work of folk art driven by Brad’s deep respect for the roots of American music and meticulous dedication to his unique brand. Like a master comedian, the seemingly effortless, natural, spontaneous quality of his music is built on obsessive discipline and meticulous attention to detail. I know, because I’ve performed and recorded with him and have seen him practice his craft.

I relate to Brad quite a bit as an indie artist. We are both hard to categorize and predict, but when you hear and read us, our voices are unmistakably our own. Perhaps we both yearn for wider acceptance (I’m rooting for both of us), but we do what we do, only as we can do it. If we did it any other way it wouldn’t be worth your time…

And this album is worth your time.

David Wilson-Burns, Author

Priase for Welcome To New Hoyle

"Welcome to Brad’s world! New Hoyle is less a physical entity than a state of being: “It exists wherever I am,” Brad says candidly and informatively (albeit cryptically) in his liner note, “and you will come to know that place when you listen to these recordings.”

Hoyle, according to Brad’s artist’s narrative, is “not a place lost to time”, but, it turns out, a former name for the tiny burg of Ames in north-west Oklahoma where Brad’s grandparents had made their home.

    Brad’s songwriting inclinations towards nostalgia have informed his ostensible placement squarely in that locality, whereas his musical idiom of choice is the template that comfortably straddles early ragtime, 12-bar barrelhouse blues, raggy hokum, cod-oriental and old-timey, as easy as breathing!

    The pervasive, aromatic swingalong chugging vibe of the album is infectious; it’s honest ol’ good-time backporch fun, with deliciously oddball lyrics and a quirky instrumental complement to back Brad.

    The thoroughly tasty supporting playing (including some cute, delicious – and admirably economic – incidental soloing) comes courtesy of a tight little trio ensemble of trusty cohorts comprising the Norman, Oklahoma, sousaphone maestro Charley Rivers(sic) and Kansas City duo the Matchsellers – aka Julie Bates (fiddle) and Andrew Morris (banjo, mandolin, guitar) – all crammed into a tiny Bristol, Virginia, studio belonging to Jon Atkinson of Bigtone Records.

    It was all recorded live direct to mono tape on “vintage audio gear from the golden age of radio”, and each take was the final mix. High on the home-grown immediacy scale, then!

    This unpretentious little record is virtually self-recommending to any fan of the genially oddball school. It’s been a real joy to listen to, and with its winning combination of gleeful down-home ambience, fun lyrics and natural, assured musicianship that doesn’t need to shout to proclaim its virtues, it has sure brightened up my week."

Brad Fielder - Welcome to New Hoyle

David Kidman, Folk London, February-March 2022

"Old-fashioned doesn't necessarily mean outdated, as Brad Fielder continues to prove on his new full-length album, Welcome to New Hoyle. Sure, there are hokey tunes in the bunch that seem like silly nostalgia at first blush, but many of them have strong notes of relevance behind their yokel veneer."

Soundcheck: Brad Fielder - Welcome to New Hoyle

Evan Jarvicks, Oklahoma Gazette, February 9, 2022

"New Hoyle is the mythical backdrop for a cavalcade of zany all-American characters, adventures and corn pone wisdom."
"Self-deprecation, satire, parody and pastiche permeate Welcome to New Hoyle’s dozen tracks..."

Welcome to New Hoyle
Doug Deloach, Songlines, March 2022

"Essentially, wherever Fielder resides now is “New Hoyle.” His remarkable collection of songs channels the past through a 21st century lenses."
"The record has that rare quality of sounding polished, yet spontaneous. Cheerful fun is in a sound caught on the fly."

Americana music freshly reimagined: Brad Fielder releases 'Welcome to new Hoyle'

Doug Hill, Norman Transcript, December 10, 2021

Various Articles and Reviews

"Fielder’s playing is musical and nuanced, with gorgeous tone and subtle timing and sonority you have to hear in person to appreciate."

Woodyfest 2018: Brad Fielder & RT Valine
Chris J. Zähller, Mercury Photo Bureau

 

"Brad Fielder has been crusading against the grain of modern music trends for quite a while now. His signature brand of lo-fi, blue-collar folk is so rooted in its own early roots that it’s old-fashioned even for the old-fashioned."

Top 20 EPs of 2018: 20-11 (Jarvix's Big 50)

Evan Jarvicks, Make Oklahoma Weirder

"From its very inception, folk music like the kind Brad plays has been a way for common people to express their dissatisfaction with their leaders...and to unite each other in that dissatisfaction. With 'Vernacular Songs', Brad welds himself in as a link in that honorable chain."

brad fielder - vernacular songs

J Moss, The Modern Folk Music of America

"Brad Fielder is a from-the-ground-up sort of artist. From writing and recording his songs to packaging and distributing physical albums under his own imprint..."

Oklahoma Band Q&A: Brad Fielder

Becky Carman, NewsOK.com

"From songwriting, to photography, to producing videos, Brad pours his proud Okie heritage into everything he does."

Getting To Know Brad Fielder

Jessica McKim, NakedCityOKC

"The idea or story always comes first. Telling a coherent and cohesive story is most important..."

Uncovering Oklahoma

Dennis Spielman

Brad Fielder uses GHS strings      www.ghsstrings.com

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