Brown Bottle Flu

Brian Holbrook

This is an album of contradictions: it’s “new,” but most of the songs were written and recorded over a decade ago; there are certainly studio recordings on here, but they are mostly layered over old demos; the songs are intimately personal, but are holdovers from a person I no longer am. Part of living with my disease is learning how to MAKE do with the best I CAN do, and I suppose that’s what “Brown Bottle Flu” represents. It was my original intention to release this album (with about four more songs on it) back in 2008. Then, my disease sort of took over. 2008-2011 were terribly hard years, physically and mentally, where I spent months at a time in the hospital every year. I kept telling myself that when I finally started to get better, I’d get back to the studio and turn these demos into an actual fit-to-release piece of work. But then time moved on and I never got better. My voice started to fail and it soon became clear that these were the best vocal takes I was ever going to get of these songs (that is, at least, until I get the double-lung transplant I need so desperately) so I began to balk at releasing what I considered to be substandard work. As time moved on, I began to lose touch with the reasons and motivations behind why I’d ever written the songs in the first place. I just sort of lost the feel for them. I moved on, wrote other songs –hell, I wrote three whole other albums—before I decided to make do with the best I can do. So, I took the old demos to my home studio and began giving them a good makeover. I’m proud of the results. There are damned good lyrics, great melodies, and even a couple of earworm-y hooks lurking in a couple of them. Would I have rather had pro-level studio recordings that I could have released back in 2008? Sure. The songs suffer a little bit for the demo level base recordings, but not enough that I don’t think they can stand on their own in the world. I hope you’ll listen to a few and agree with me that these songs deserved a life of their own before I release my 17-song double-album (“Marina”) in July and they become an overshadowed afterthought. So, here they are, 8 dirty little disheveled devils that rattled around in my mind for a while then languished on my hard drives for a dozen years. The download is free. Take and use them with my blessing. If you happen to like one enough that you think I ought to be compensated, consider going over to Apple Music, Amazon, iTunes, Spotify, Pandora, Napster, or wherever you buy digital music and dropping a few dimes on a single or two. Hell, you can buy the whole album for less than a fast-food dinner, if you have a mind to. If not, that’s fine too, I just hope you’ll give ‘em a listen. Songs stop being useful to the writer once they’re written, after that they need an audience to survive, and I think more than a few of these deserve a shot at survival. I hope you agree. -Brian Holbrook Rockaway Beach, Oregon January 20th, 2020

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