All great musicians need to begin somewhere and Jake Bracey, as with Billy Joel and Andrew Bocelli, began as a bar musician. Performing in various venues from tiny dive bars to festivals, Bracey has been through the gigging mill playing cover after cover; however, it was the collaboration of Fred Keller and Joe Venango that sparked the formation of Jake Bracy & The Mountain Laurels. Describing their influences as folk with “…anything that involves a great story”, the threesome is making a splash on the US indie music scene along with some critical acclaim from international blogs. One of the latest releases from this folk-rock trio is ‘Synapse’.
Once the “original music valve” was opened, Bracey spewed forth with his Mountain Laurels in the form of the debut EP Asleep on a Highway in 2019. Fast-forward a couple of years, and we have another two singles on the Bracey discography. Written during Covid-19 lockdowns, ‘Synapse’ is the result of serious introspection and reflection on Bracey’s life; a situation that many of us are facing at the moment.
“This song is a reflection on being a long-time bar musician and the time spent away from those I care about. It’s a hard look in the mirror and as honest of songwriting I’ve ever put forth.” – Jake Bracey on ‘Synapse’
Drawing together various genres and styles, ‘Synapse’ has a unique sound that is not to be pigeon-holed. Blues guitar-driven, although not acoustic, has a powerful impact enhancing the poignant nature of the track. The gruffness of Bracey’s vocals is heart-breaking but expose the grittiness of reality in the yearning tone. No, seriously, listening to ‘Synapse’ is very gritty like walking through a baron wasteland of nostalgia surrounded by a haunting ambience.
Powerful without being forceful, Bracey shows how subtle intimacy can be found in rugged ballads. One part I find most intriguing is the ear-shattering guitar solo that is not expected but incredibly effective. Bracey shares that ‘Synapse’ “…is the most personal song I’ve yet released…it is a true testament of how the last couple of years have felt in terms of both music and life.” I don’t think much more needs to be said.