There’s nothing like listening to a new artist for the first time, but when that new artist is embarking on a career that’s been a long time in coming, the rewards are amplified are the more. Brady Stogdill states that case succinctly by naming his debut album Better Late Than Never, elevating the anticipation and suggesting that it ought to be memorable as well. It’s an especially apt title, given the fact that the music he makes sounds ageless, even on first listen.
In his sleeve notes, Stogdill claims he was wholly influenced by his dad, Dean Stogdill, and it seems that the lessons he learned made an indelible impression. Every entréee sounds as if it’s been inhabiting the ether forever, and while much of that is due to the fact that every song in the set is a cover, Stogdill makes each selection sound like his own.
That alone is worth repeating, because while any number of storied songwriters are represented here — Dorsey Burnette, Buck Owens, Jesse Fuller, and Lowell George, among them — Stogdill never seems intimidated by the fact that he’s covering their classics. His take on Little Feat’s Willin’certainly doesn’t ranks as the first remake of this timeless trucker song
Not surprisingly, his enthusiasm is obvious elsewhere as well. The effusive treatment accorded Traveling Down the Blue Road, Apple Trees, Honey Bees, 99 Years, and The Prisoner’s Song makes it clear he’s consistently upbeat, but fully committed to the form as well.
That said, Stogdill has an able support team to work with as well, among them, Michael Cleveland, who makes his presence known with his fine fiddling and mandolin playing throughout. In the midst of all the revelry is enticing, the calm caress of Standing on the Outside of Her Door, Slippers With Wings, and Things Have Changed also lends a certain familiarity factor as well.
There’s not a single song here that fails to resonate on first listen, suggesting that Stogdill will likely maintain his own proverbial presence for some time to come.