The Man From RavCon: The Traveler

The Man From RavCon: The Traveler eg music - surf rock music reviews by Emma Jade Gunn
The Traveler
Reviewed by: Emma Jade Gunn

Grandma used to tell me, ďYouíre fiddle-footed just like your daddy. You're always going to be on the road.Ē Grandma was right, I do love my wheels on the road. I wish I had an airplane, too, because I can't drive across the ponds. What does this have to do with The Man From RavCon? Read on, my lovelies.

Mike Brown is The Man From RavCon. His mother worked for Eastern Airlines. Daddy and I were pretty much earthbound while Mike and his family were flying. Ah... to fly! He does, oh, baby, he does!

What a flyalicious treat his CD, The Traveler, is for anyone who is fiddle-footed! You donít have to honest-to-goodness have one foot on the pavement and the other in Adventure Land to love it, either. Anyone who likes solid surf, spy, psych-prog, spaghetti western, super uber superb instro songs is going to AAAAdore The Traveler.

Mike calls The Traveler an adventure in three acts and it delivers in three ways:

1) Itís delish with sound. No boring sections. Not a single one!

2) Itís profusely permeated with stupendous styles of instro rock.

3) Mike Brown can tear things up at the speed of a Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird.

So, as Mike would say, "No need to leave home - just slip on the headphones, dim the lights, sit back and let the journey begin."

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Act 1 - Takeoff
"The Passenger, Above The Clouds, and The Jetsetters (Beautiful Day) mix the excitement of takeoff with the anticipation and wonder of going somewhere you've never been before."

The Passenger - Opens with a jet searing across the tarmac, leaving a catchy drum syncopation in its wake. You can hear those heavy engines pulling the air from your lungs and into their turbines as it pierces the sky like an arrow. Newton's laws of motion have me in a grip and Iím going somewhere, nowhere, everywhere ... and loving every single minute of it. The Passenger invokes rather than evokes. It digs inside you and pulls up a need to go along for the ride and embrace whatever comes. The drums pat you on the back as if saying, ďItís okay, youíll do fine.Ē Then some background FX let you know maybe the drums are just teasing. Mike's orchestration of the various instruments and FX fills you with anticipation. Iím on board all of the way, all of the time. I know Iíll get there. The sureness of the guitar tells me it has to be so.

Above The Clouds - Does the word angel mean anything to you? How about angel in flight? How about angel in flight with wings floating against a cerulean blue sky, arms wrapped around your body, holding you aloft, keeping you safe, but letting your senses experience the true beauty of soaring without fear high above the land and oceans below? Can you feel the birds calling from a few feet away? Is the soft, cool air ruffling your hair, caressing your cheeks, tugging a luminescent smile from your lips? Mike Brownís juxtaposition of bass, drums and guitar melds bliss to expectation. Iím not just Above The Clouds. Iím above everything.

The Jetsetters (Beautiful Day)) - There was once a time, before TSA, when you could dance at the gate of your terminal before bounding aboard your plane to paradise. The sheer joy of doing the most incongruous thing, dancing in your loverís arms for no reason other than thereís five feet of floor space and a jet waiting to take you away together! The Man From RavCon captures such moments with his jubilant lead guitar, touched with exactly the right amount of string bending. The beauty is backed by a deft, syncopated rhythm section. So we dance, you and I, to the tune of adventure.

Act 2 - Adventures Abroad
"Speakeasy, The Bishop, The Charmer and The Traveler make up the core of the trip and provide the scenery, adventures and interesting characters you'll meet along the way."

Speakeasy - My plane landed in New Orleans. I traveled from there to the bayou and a dirt-floored bar deep in the glades. Iím in my best flapper dress, the one with fringe from here all of the way to there, just a bit of leg showing through the slit up the side. An ivory gardenia drops past my emerald earring, slipping oh-so-slightly from the place where Iíve pinned it to my hair. This song was originally done for Scott Greenbergís Debts No Honest Man Can Pay radio show. Speakeasy is a righteous name for the feeling you get listening to it. Itís smoky. Itís jazzy. It has a darkly enticing saxophone and heavy, thick, rich, brushed drums and a guitar. The sounds of a vibraphone and jazz flute melt me. Iím so into the sound that I donít hear the two bruisers boxing each otherís ears outside, the SWAT team landing on the roof, a siren screaming delightfully and menacingly from the road, the alligator eating the screen door. Iím in the sound, in the zone. My gardenia drops lower and I keep moving like a python in the trees. Mmmmmm...

The Bishop - Mike Brown says The Bishop was influenced by composer/jazz musician Roy Budd. If you remember Buddís soundtrack to the 1971 film Kidnapped or, especially, his Get Carter theme song, you will celebrate along with Mike. The Bishop is as diverse as it is impeccable. My eyes shine with delight every time I listen to the fabulous Easter Eggs - the subtle background sounds, the voices of angels, the moments of absolute quiet that pace The Bishop. I disembarked on the Emerald Isle, met Michael Kaneís doppelganger, and we sought vindication from The Bishop.

The Charmer - We made it to exotic locales. The guitar and drums open a conduit into The Charmer in a way that makes our circadian rhythms slow a bit. Wait. Slow, but intense. Very intense. This charmer makes me swivel and eye him like a snake sizing up her prey. Youíre in my sights now, charmer. I see the languid movement of your hands, the half-smile on your lips. Yes, you mesmerize me with your entrancing guitar and hypnotic drums. I will sleep, but I will return.

The Traveler - In the old days, we took an acoustic guitar and played as if yesterday was forever lost, tomorrow would never come, and today was all we needed. A guitar, a pair of boots, a riff and something wet in our glass made the day rich. The Traveler is never poor. He pulls the lead into a beautiful sequence of notes, finds someone with a violin, a drum, a bass ... and a corner where two roads meet and itís as if he is King. If the world is your oyster, music is the pearl. Mike defines the art of travel with The Traveler and Iím with him on the ride. My daddy would love your music, Mike Brown. I know I do.

Act 3 - Return Trip
"The Station, Addio, Amore Mio, and Escape draw a bittersweet conclusion to your journey and then return you safely back Home."

The Station - Meet me at the station, my love, and I will give your heart a sweet good-bye. The Station is so fundamentally heartfelt with its Latin guitar sounds that I want to taste it instead of just listen. It's so soft and mellow during the solo guitar intervals, but rich and succulent when all of the instruments come in. The string orchestration takes my breath away. The Station gives you the thrill of a terminal in an exotic place where you mime your desires because the language - ah, the language, itís something you donít speak or understand. How do you say it? I look with my eyes, with my smile, frown, panic and hands. The Station is so exciting I canít leave, so romantic it startles my senses, and so unfamiliar I sometimes forget to breathe.

Addio, Amore Mio - In his erotic version of this track, James Blunt teased me, ďAnd love is blind and that I knew when my heart was blinded by you.Ē The Man From RavCon is equally poetic and I canít help but pour out my love for this song. Addio, Amore Mio means "goodbye, my love(r)." The guitars are mysterious. The drums are passionate. The organ and choir are nostalgic. In my journey, were my love to present me with this song, I wouldnít leave. I couldnít leave something so filled with promise. Perhaps I will stay awhile. Catch the next plane. Even a traveler slows once in awhile.

Escape - Rich. Vibrant. Filled with adoration, tension, brilliance. Itís an Escape of ever-escalating passion that unsettled my mind and wrenched my throat into a clutch of exaltation I couldnít release. Oh. How do I count the ways this song changed the way my body felt? It was barely two minutes in when a change, an escape from what came before, tugged a whisper of a breath from my lips. Escape is swollen with rapture then released to a halcyon flute of contentment. Itís exactly why we who canít sit still must always move on. I canít say it enough. Perfection. Perfection. Perfection.

Home - I can envision a lone man walking down a quiet country road, pack on his back, cap pulled low over his brow. Heís going Home. It isnít far now, just a few more miles. The brushed drums pace him, place him, face him into the wind and carry him closer and closer. Guitars remind him itís been so very long and things may not be the same as before. But itís with hope he walks on and with love he returns. Someone is waiting. Someone. Is. Waiting. If it were to be me, I would rush to the end of the road to meet him. This trip Home is so worth living, so deep and spiritual and never to be questioned... Just relived again and again for the passion and promise of the final note.

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The journey has ended, but only temporarily. "Of course, the best thing about a trip with The Man From RavCon is that you can relive the journey at any time. Just put The Traveler back in, and give it another spin." I couldn't agree with you more, Mike.

Mike Brown broke my heart, fixed it, reinvented it and then made it sing with his extraordinary CD, The Traveler. I laughed. I cried. I finally understood my father and myself, both of us travelers, as I never have before.

By the way, that Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird goes 2,193.2 mph. Mike goes 2,194.

The Man From RavCon: The Traveler

01)  The Passenger
Mike Brown
02)  Above The Clouds
Mike Brown
03)  The Jetsetters (Beautiful Day)
Mike Brown
04)  Speakeasy
Mike Brown
05)  The Bishop
Mike Brown
06)  The Charmer
Mike Brown
07)  The Traveler
Mike Brown
08)  The Station
Mike Brown
09)  Addio, Amore Mio
Mike Brown
10)  Escape
Mike Brown
11)  Home
Mike Brown

All Songs 2012 Mike Brown (BMI). All Rights Reserved. For more info, contact: RavCon, 4127 Winfield Dr, Charlotte, NC 28205

The Man From RavCon

Emma Jade Gunn
Reviewed by Emma Jade Gunn
© Emma Jade Gunn 2013
All Rights Reserved

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