The Return of Neil Cribbs!

Neil Cribbs is no stranger to my blog as he has been featured on multiple occasions (Neil Cribbs Part 1 & Part 2). The reason for this is simple, his music is written with so much depth and has a sound that follows it’s own path. Neil does not create music that fits current trends, but instead he releases music that is more fitting to him and his own musical direction. This is clear to hear throughout his previous releases and this is one of the many reasons that I have huge respect for what he creates.

I get excited every time that Neil releases new songs as I don’t know what I will hear, which is refreshing. This was how I felt when I heard that Neil was releasing his latest EP called ‘Built, Broken, and Mended’. Before I talk about this I want to share a quick interview with Neil himself. We discussed his music and more, this is what he had to say:

How did you plan your approach when you started to write the new EP?

The idea for the concept just kind of developed. I have always had this obsession with the 1930s. The 20s get a lot of attention as it’s the era of flappers, swing music, and the speakeasy but the 1930s, the time of the Great Depression, seems like it’s almost shunned. I feel that the Depression/Dustbowl era was a time of great human persistence. People always looked for “tomorrow” to be better. It really speaks to me.

I love how this ep has so many different sounds, its one of the many reason that I like your work. Is this important to you when you when you put this release together or do you just go with the flow?

I like to pay homage to music that influences me and impacts my life. That’s kind of how I write. If I’m listening to Bob Marley, John Denver, Frank Sinatra, Richard Buckner, Stokeswood, or Taj Mahal, I’ll try to write something as a tribute to those artists. I’m not a fan of defining “what type of music I am.” As you might imagine musicians get the, “What type of music do you play?” question a lot. I like to “keep em guessing.”

This EP feels different from your previous work, did you change the way it was produced?

It is a lot different. As you probably know, I used the same Producer and Engineer as “To the Left” but from the beginning I laid down some ideas for the guys. I wanted the instrumentation to be honest with the 1930s. I wanted Simon Illa and Sam Thomas to step out of their element (whatever that may be) and really try to find the throwback feel of this and make it true. That being said we had some of THE best independent musicians I know performing on the album with me. I was truly honoured for their commitment. We also used microphones from the 1940s and Sam did some really creative microphone technique. The final touches of mastering with Colin Leonard at Sing Mastering was the icing. After hearing the first song Colin said something along the lines of, “I’m going to master this so that 10 years from now, sonically, it will still be relevant.”  Music to my ears.

What is your favourite song from this release and why?

This one’s difficult. Carolina has a special place in my heart. It has kind of been the sleeper in the whole group. I wrote it a while back and pushed it up as a free demo on my website. I didn’t play it out for about 2 years. I just didn’t  think it was relevant. For some random reason I started playing it at the end of last year and received amazing responses from it. Completely shocked. It has a place in my heart being that I’m from North Carolina. It’s simple and sweet and, ultimately, an homage to wherever “home” may be.

What else is planned in the musical adventure of Neil Cribbs?

I’ve been working on some more swing stuff with my friend Daniel Groover (co-writer of the Capital T song on the new album) and I’m also working on a few singles to release. As far as the next adventure I’m approaching a 10-year idea with a friend of mine Markus Jones who is a writer/poet (and drew the To the Left cover). We’ve been turning over the idea of a project based on a collection of the Grimm’s Fairy Tales. Either way, there is always something brewing. I suppose it’s wherever the road leads and then, hopefully, into the woods.

So, let’s talk about ‘Built, Broken, and Mended’ EP. Again, Neil has somehow exceeded my expectations by releasing another collection of songs that improves on an already impressive songwriting talent.  The first thing I notice while listening to this EP is the improved sound quality which gives his music an added depth. Neil has a wonderful gift when it comes to the musical arrangement of his songs as there are so much different styles that can be heard throughout the 6 songs that are on offer. This eclectic mix of sounds include Gypsy Jazz, Dustbowl Ballads, Folk, and Swing melded with a modern twist. If these are not your usual type of sound, I urge you to continue reading as well as listen to Neil’s music. The way he blends this sound with so much soul is a wonderful listening experience.

This soul is also heard when you hear Neil sing. I think this is my favourite element of his music as he adds the right tone and emotion to share each song to maximum effect. When you listen to my favourite song ‘Carolina’ you can hear what I am trying to explain. This song is one of my favourite songs that I have heard from Neil as his vocals are so drenched with emotion to help deliver some wonderfully detailed lyrics. I also recommend that you check out another highlight song called ‘Better Weather’ which really impressed me in the delicate tone and impressive vocal control. Another beautiful song!

Overall, this is another audio journey that my ears have enjoyed from start to finish. I think this may also be his strongest collection of songs to date but its hard to choose as he has so many great songs under his belt. I recommend that you head over to his Bandcamp site (click HERE) and listen to ‘Built, Broken, and Mended’ for yourself. I’m sure you will feel the same way about Neil Cribbs music. If you do like what you hear then you can grab a copy of this EP from his Bandcamp site or over at his CDBaby site (click HERE).

As long as I am supporting music I will continue to help Neil Cribbs get his music heard. This is a musician that I not only respect but I believe in his music. Yes, I am a fan, the real deal. Like all music fans, you have to support what matters to you and hopefully this will now include the music of Neil Cribbs.

If you want to find out more about Neil and his music then head over to his website at NeilCribbs.com. Alternatively, go and say hello to him at his social media sites at Facebook and Twitter. If you want to purchase his music then click the links for his Bandcamp and CDBaby sites. Go on and support this talented musician today!