Brian Woodbury: Rhapsody and Filigree

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BRIAN WOODBURY: RHAPSODY & FILIGREE

ON BIG BLEND RADIO: Prolific songwriter Brian Woodbury talks about his music and latest release “Rhapsody & Filigree” the fourth and final volume of his “Anthems & Antithets” series. Listen here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on Spreaker, Podbean, SoundCloud.

 

Brian Woodbury is a songwriter who straddles the avant/pop/theater/comedy divide. His eclecticism ranges from writing Disney cartoon themes and children’s TV songs, to experimental jazz big band, to arranging 1960s Bollywood covers, to a country anthem about marriage equality and Tom Lehrer-esque comedy songs. He has released eleven albums, including the current 4-volume Anthems & Antithets. He creates music videos for his songs, most recently “Gimme Some of That Old Time Prog,” a spot-on sendup of prog rock. His songs have been sung by Nathan Lane, Lisa Loeb, Terre Roche & David Yazbek.

Says Brian, “Anthems & Antithets is a series of 4 double albums I’ve made during the pandemic, each one in its own musical mood: comic, confessional, political and arty. Rhapsody & Filigree is the 4th Volume in the series, and the culmination of the project.

“Rhapsody & Filigree is expansive, fancy and fanciful – with a wide variety of arty, experimental kinds of pop songwriting, both musically and in subject matter. An emphasis on melody and beauty. The assumption is we’re all educated adults here. I always try to write songs about the things nobody writes songs about. For this album, even more so.

“On this album, I condense large forms into smaller ones. For instance, the rock opera ‘Theseus Rex’ where Theseus is the bastard son of Jerry Garcia from the Grateful Dead. Inspired by early Genesis and prog rock concept albums, this rock opera lasts just over 9 minutes, but it has a sweeping cinematic scope and it tells a tragic story. Another example is the ‘Brief Mass,’ a full setting of the Latin Mass in just over 7 minutes.

“I also love miniatures, like ‘When Byron Swam,’ a song about the elusive nature of artistic achievement. (“Did Lord Byron swim the Dardanelles or was it the Bosphorus?”) Or ‘The Honorable Mention’ where a Hollywood award show nominee rehearses his acceptance speech.”

Says Brian, “I had the great opportunity of collaborating with dozens of unique artists on this album. One song ‘How Soon We Forget, How Long We Remember,’ a song about the evolution of culture, was constructed using a game of musical telephone, where a half-remembered musical theme was recreated and passed on to the next musician in the chain.
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“Another collaboration came about when I found my music confused with the music of a different Brian Woodbury on all the streaming platforms. A situation apparently beyond the ability of the tech giants to solve. So, I reached out to this other Brian Woodbury – a jazz trombonist – and we wrote a song about it. Called ‘The Other Brian Woodbury.’

Brian concludes, “The overriding theme of the new CD is the future. Whereas Volume 2 is a wistful look at the past, and Volume 3 is an indictment of the injustices of the present, on the new album I tried to glimpse the future. To see what positive or at least non-dystopian outcomes we have to look forward to. Dystopia is an easy pose, but it shows an utter lack of imagination. In the face of climate change and authoritarianism, it’s a copout. There are solutions, and hints of better things to come. There will be a future.”

In support of the new releases, Brian is making music videos for the 18 songs on the new album, as well as continuing to make videos for songs from the other volumes of “Anthems & Antithets”. There are 20 music videos so far from the other volumes. And in a unique kind of tour, Brian will be doing a series of attentive listening parties at select music listening rooms in the US, UK & Europe. More: https://brianwoodbury.com/

National Parks Arts Foundation

 

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