Brook’s debut release “Stripped Away” tells his story of growing up in rural Alabama and the challenges he faced since birth. The EP includes five original songs that encapsulate the experience of growing up in a small place but having the courage to move forward despite a multitude of adversities. Brook’s lyrics are youthful and transcend a message of hope. It serves as a reminder that you do not have to be a victim of uncontrollable circumstances. Each song casts a ray of light and inspiration to everyone who may be navigating their way through treacherous waters.
Stripped Away begins with “Smalltown” which tells the story of wanting to escape familiar surroundings and a place where “Everybody knows your name”. It sends the message of yearning for a new chapter and redefining yourself. The next track “Little Long Life” is also a gentle ballad with minimalist fingerstyle guitar accompaniment backed by warm strings, piano, and soft harmony vocals. It’s about having lived a simple but long life experiencing the spectrum of “Joy and Pain”
The third song “Words” sounds like an autobiographical piece that shares the experience of being born with an illness and at the beginning facing the uncertainty of survival. But then the song evolves into playing baseball, falling in love with the guitar in high school, and living a life littered with struggles but being surrounded by love. This song is also about faith in the creator and having hope to one day articulate his journey.
“Merry Go Round” is a nice contrast in pace and instrumentation. The strumstick and accordion create a gritty texture against Brook’s pure vocals. It’s a relatively short tune compared to the rest of the EP. The final cut “Not Your Remeo” takes a different direction. It’s a smooth jam with soulful electric guitar and simple percussion. Again we hear Brook’s sweet yet delayed harmony vocals and we’re rewarded with a relaxed guitar solo near the end of the song.
Stripped Away is a short record that wastes no time in sharing Brook’s story. It leaves the listener hoping to hear the next chapter in this young songwriter’s journey. You can listen to the complete EP on Spotify. Joseph Brooks is performing Tuesday June 15th at Little Village in Panama City Florida at 6pm.