Brant Croucher ‘Blanco Country Lights’ - White Cat

The debut album from the Houston born singer-songwriter is an accomplished body of work that is testament to the life experienced by this much traveled troubadour. Produced and recorded by Jack Saunders in Houston, Texas it finds Croucher as an assured vocalist and interesting writer. His songs cover a range of rootsy sounding songs that run from the electric charge of 84 Boxes, a song that considers the nature of physical work to the sadder sentiments of Free Will an acoustic rumination on being free to love and to lose. A hopefulness is inherent in the opening song When You Come To Me wherein Croucher’s voice manages to give the necessary depth of meaning. “I guess it hasn't been as easy as I had hoped that it would be and the wins don't come as often as the many mercy pleas” sums up the hope of finding something to hang on to through the hardship. From that first track all the sings are there to let you know your likely to enjoy the album as whole. And that indeed is the case. 

The group of players here included seasoned percussionist Rick Richards, fiddler Eleanor Whitmore, guitarist Sam Austin and guests such as Riley Osburn and Lloyd Maines. These are players who you know that you are in safe hands with, both as artist and as listener. The gentle setting of Drink (Drink Drink) belies the thoughts of the protagonist who wished to lose a memory before he looses his mind. A song that takes the classic 'drinking to forget' template but delivers in a way that gives you empathy for the outcome if not exactly the process. Time I Walk Away takes a difference stance both musically and philosophically. It is a nicely paced track with some strident lead guitar. The title track is a sombre piano ballad - played by Croucher - suggests an underlying melancholy that sums up many of the songs. This however is done in a way that is musically positive and perceptive.

All in all one can applaud the efforts of all involved and hope that Croucher may get some of the attention that thus album deserves. However, he is in a pretty crowded segment of a small market and quality does not always get the breaks it deserves. But the lights of Blanco County are capable of drawing you in and bringing you to the place where another of those Texas singer/songwriters shines bright. Well worth looking over the horizon to find.