Facebook / Brandon Padier
San Antonio singer-songwriter Brandon Padier
made the most of his time in quarantine.
The folk-rocker hunkered down in his East Side home studio over those lonely weeks to record his latest album, Brothers of the Flood,
set to release on July 10. The album — his second since 2019 — is part of a personal challenge to release five LPs in as many years.
Padier drew from a deep well of inspiration for the release, and it shows. The record's insistent guitar strumming invokes Texas country great Townes Van Zandt, while its airer moments are reminiscent of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. The songs' emotionally bare lyrics sometimes tread into similar territory as Ryan Adams.
The album's blues-infused track "Evangeline"
is a tale of finding that "lily in the field," an epic account of merged pathways layered with harmonic riffs. "Love So Green" has a softer, lighter-hearted feel, but the melancholy lyrics display an internal battle between lies and truth.
"My music is full of heart and passion," Padier told the Current.
"It is a destroyer of boundaries and barriers."
Brotherhood of the 'Old Days'
Much like Petty, Padier is a multi-instrumentalist with an ear for music production. Brothers of the Flood
, however, is the first album he's made entirely on his own.
The singer assembled songs at the start of the year and began the recording process about the time the citywide stay-at-home order came down in March. He tracked drums, bass, guitar, harmonica and vocals, then spent two months mixing until he was happy with the results.
But being self-sufficient comes with ups and downs.
"It's easier because I don't have to line up with someone's schedule," Padier said. "It's harder in the sense that I have to carry every burden on my shoulders."
He pulled the album's title from the back of the Bob Dylan record Planet Waves,
one of his favorites. On the sleeve, a rambling Dylan poem reads, "Yeah, the old days are gone forever, and the new ones ain't far behind... Drinking the blood of innocent people, innocent lands, the wretched earth, my brothers of the flood..."
"It struck me because that record was made with The Band, who backed Dylan up in '66 to make The Basement Tapes
together," Padier said. "It really spoke to me, because I had just left a band called the Adopted Kids. We were getting some good traction, and then the flood came and we had to split ways."
Rock & Roll Heart of Gold
, released in 2019, was the first full-length record Padier made without his former band.
Though there's not a linear message to Brothers of the Flood
, a history of lost brotherhood is embedded in several of its songs.
'Raw' Time to Promote Music
The pandemic's live-show void been difficult for musicians
looking to promote new work. Now, the recent nationwide anti-police brutality protests have created a "raw" time to release music, Padier said.
"With Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd happening back to back to back, and all the protests rising up, it didn't feel right to promote myself in that time — and still feels kind of weird," he explained.
The album's single, "Everything Falls Apart" —
an emotional tale of love on the rocks —
was set to drop on June 5. But in deference to the Black Lives Matter protests and to allow time for "proper grieving," Padier pushed it back by two weeks.
"This is all so fresh, and it's such a raw nerve, I don't want to touch it," he said.
Instead of promoting the single, he took to social media to list names of his favorite Black musicians and turn the attention toward their voices. His list includes local artists such as Foreign Arms
and Darian Thomas
Padier, who's married to a Black woman, said he and his wife "are always kind of living in that head space" of being racially aware. Now, he's trying to take that awareness to his music.
"If they listen to it and it makes them think about something a little bit more deeply than they would have previously, I am all for that," he said.
But Padier is also seeing how music can soothe in a trying time. He's played a few gigs in the past month and feels a stronger connection with audiences than before the pandemic.
"I think people are so hungry for live music again that they are eating it all up," he added.
Padier's new single will drop on streaming platforms
on Friday, June 26. And while he works to set up an album-release show in late July, he can be found performing at Tusculum Brewing Co.
in Boerne on Friday, June 19, and at 5 Stone Artisan Brewing Co. in New Braunfels, on Friday, July 3.
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