Brian Paddock began writing lyrics long before he ever picked up a guitar.
In 2010, when he was 30 years old, Paddock’s wife encouraged him to take his writing more seriously. Paddock learned how to play guitar and started trying to sing all the things he’d been writing. Four years later, Paddock co-founded the rock ‘n’ roll band Shimmy and the Burns. Based in Knoxville, Tenn., the band earned a good reputation over the next few years, touring the Southeast and recording two critically-lauded full-length albums. Still, there was something missing. Paddock had a stack of songs that needed a quieter, more subtle musical home. To that end, he recorded the EP “Villains,” which Blank News praised as “a major introspective psychological whallop,” and began working on a full-length album. That disc, “Under New Management,” due for release later this summer, realizes the promise that the EP hinted at.
In his characteristically gruff voice, Paddock delivers 11 songs where the lyrics aren’t in such competition with the music to be heard. It’s sweet. It’s honest. And, featuring acoustic-heavy arrangements played by some of Knoxville’s A-list musicians, the music flows easy. The title cut name checks John Prine song characters in a thoughtful rumination on modern life.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t a couple of rockers. When Paddock sings “I drink poison, ‘cause I like the taste,” you know it’s not going to be a soundtrack to a church picnic.
“Under New Management” isn’t going to shock Paddock’s longtime fans. More likely, they’re going to love him even more. If you haven’t heard him, take a little extra time to let the songs sink in. You won’t regret it.
"A guitar driven country stomper."
"Wonderfully idiosyncratic songs... like the countrified love child of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and Neil Young and Crazy Horse."
"Delivering driving tunes of clear conviction or musing on contemplative, heartfelt narrative ballads imbued with sensitivity and substance... Simply superb."
"...wrapped in the earthy guitar tones on a song like “Street Lamps,” it finds its niche alongside similar-throated Americana dudes like Ben Nichols of Lucero, B.J. Barham of American Aquarium and Chip Robinson of The Backsliders."
"Brian Paddock emotes with a sandpapery vocal that seems to reflect the toll taken by troubles and travails, that unbowed attitude is never in doubt... songs of almost anthemic proportions."
"Brian Paddock’s raspy voice and matter-of-fact delivery on top of the band’s solid country-rock foundation. It takes about the length of one song to fall in love with the combination...Take time to listen to the lyrics and there’s even more of a pay-off."