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Bramblett’s musical core, however, is R&B. Growing up in the swamps and forests of small-town Jesup, Georgia, Bramblett was raised and learned to play in that genre. His new album, Pine Needle Fire, is a blast of pure, blue-eyed, one-hundred percent funky Southern soul. Blasting horns and grooving bass lay the sonic foundations on which Bramblett constructs his stories of everyday, working-class folk.

Perhaps the most explicitly political moment on the album comes on “Another Shining Morning,”  when Bramblett sings, “Look what’s lyin’ on the floor / It’s people’s hopes and dreams for a better world than we had before.” It’s a melancholic moment, a perfect expression of the weariness of the past several years.

Bramblett nicely balances these downcast lyrics with affirmations of hope. “I’ve Got Faith In You” feels like a friend or family member speaking to the listener, offering encouragement. On “Never Be Another Day,” he sings to his granddaughter, “Never be another day like the one you’re living.”

Pine Needle Fire is a first-class Southern soul stew, beautifully played, written, and sung.