Brianna Gaither and the lasting resonance of ‘Vanity.’

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In 2011, singer-songwriter Brianna Gaither released her debut album Love is Patient. I got my copy via Noisetradewhich is a great site if you are looking for fresh independent artists. I really love the album. For anyone who stumbled upon her albums after a terrible relationship, loss or pain, that album was (and still is) a friend’s comforting hand on a weary shoulder.

It took six years for her to release a follow up called Vanity. With her amazing range and expressive delivery(both as vocalist and instrumentalist), Vanity is worth the wait. This album is a testament to what Oklahoma can provide musically.  In fact she wrote 10 songs, in 10 months, with 10 different, Oklahoma-based producers. You can learn more about it by reading this Q & A and her decision to take this path.

Although Vanity presents her big Indie Pop or Adult Contemporary influences, you can feel her other influences with each track, from quieter ballads to arena friendly sweepers. This album also presents the power of collaboration and how different ideas can bring forth something fascinating and fresh. I noted this with the track I Won’t Rest Until which is totally different from anything she has every done as a songwriter. The big drums, reverb and insistent chorus can sweep you off your feet.

Vocally, I do miss some stretches that she did in Love is Patient. I miss those high notes in ‘Find You’. There’s also the heavenly sonic tides of Faithful among other things. But then again,  Vanity offers what’s missing in the first album, which is sonic exploration. In I Can’t Make it Grow,  she showcases her prowess in chamber music. The instruments play in and out of the recording like imagines from a half forgotten dream. It’s a gorgeous track that stretches and leaps into your subconscious.

And like Love is Patient, she makes sure there is at least one unique track in the list. Such as Psalm 57. It is a powerful song. I consider myself as spiritual rather than religious and this is the kind of song that can really touch you regardless of your belief. It doesn’t preach but embraces you like a pair of glowing wings.

Oftentimes when I want to do something productive, I need a to be emotional in order to get things done(as in the case of blogging). And the urgency is also dependent on the intensity of that emotion. I wonder if her two albums were dictated by emotional impulses rather than the discipline to set down and really ‘work on the music.’ But whatever or however she makes her music, her efforts got them where they are today. If you’re an avid follower of her music as I am, you do know that in 2011, she injured her wrist. It is a big no no for artists who play the piano. I can imagine how hard it must have been for her to let go of her music for a while. She found work in a local tech company. Wow think about it: Technology and Songwriting. That’s Brianna Gaither for you!

In a way Vanity could be conceived as a sort of experimental album. I do have this curiosity when it comes to making albums. Oftentimes artists choose one producer to work in that particular album. And because of this, the producer lives a mark on the musical process even though the songs were primarily crafted by the artist. And Vanity gave us the answer. It is indeed an interesting decision that yields variety in the total musical collection.

One thing I admire about Ms Gaither’s musical career is the impact of her music outside of her identity. You could say that Vanity is the album for our times-the ‘anti-me’ in this generation of entitlement. And rather than focusing on herself as an artist, she is aware of the responsibilities that we as people with voices have to the greater world. That we are not just serving our egos but also the consequence of our actions and for me this is good enough. You can get your copy of Vanity via the following:

https://briannagaither.bandcamp.com/album/vanity

https://www.amazon.com/Vanity-Brianna-Gaither/dp/B01N29SI4A

http://noisetrade.com/briannagaither/vanity

This post originally appeared in www.spheremusic.me

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