Michael Brondstetter Steals the Show on His Iron Mountain EP
Based in the badlands of San Diego, CA, Michael Brondstetter wrote, recorded and released his first record, Iron Mountain. It’s an Americana amalgam of Folk and Blues roots that’s permeated with a strong Country and Western twang. San Diego is hardly known as a country music capital, so Brondstetter often takes to the road to perform wherever he can plug in, tune up and sing his songs.
Iron Mountain opens with a tune titled Dark Cloud Blues. It’s as eerie and ominous as a killer storm brewing overhead with nary a place to hide, or to take shelter. Crunchy acoustic guitars come in on the upbeat and for the next two measures, along with some glissando Dobro slide guitar riffs, he tensely sets the stage. The effect is like how before you even see a flash of lighting you can taste the electricity and smell the ozone in the heavy, damp air as you anticipate the appearance of the megawatt bolt. That sense of danger and dread prior to a tumultuous tempest you feel deep in the pit of your stomach. In an otherworldly baritone, Brondstetter then delivers his verse, “Married on a sunny day, never more to be that way / Walking down to the lake, smiling like my belly aches / Changing gears to the left, orchestrating my own theft / Preaching is so passé, that’s what others have to pay”. There’s no wonder that Dark Cloud Blues recently received the distinction of being selected as the Best Folk/Blues Song by the Academia Awards organization.
In a waltz time rhythm Friends follows next with a very nice lead fiddle accompaniment in the sixteen bar introduction. The verses leading toward the chorus provided well phrased lead vocals which play a bit of cat and mouse with a few simple, but well chosen electric guitar fills. By the time the Friends chorus arrives Michael is joined by an organ holding sustained chord patterns and a heavenly choir of back-up singers. This sparse arrangement only highlights the instrumental build up as this little number in three quarter time progresses to its final perfect cadence. Again, it comes as no surprise that it too was designated as the Best Americana/Country Song by the aforementioned board of the Academia Awards group.
Ghost in the Walls is a stripped down production featuring only voice and acoustic steel string guitar. As intimate as it is haunting it toys with some brief, but interesting, time signature change ups. Tear It Apart picks the tempo back up as he shares with us the early rock and roll roots that was one of the many sources of inspiration during his musical career. Closing the curtain on Iron Mountain is gospel flavored Love Is the Key. Backed anew by an angelic choir, a wailing fiddle, laid back drums and dueling guitars Michael Brondstetter (http://brondmusic.com) leaves his listeners on a hopeful, albeit mournful, note. Iron Mountain is a composite of the strengths that come from life’s often painful experiences and which are tempered by those joys we take to heart along the way. Can I get an “Amen” here?