Lydia Brownfield – Wanting’s for Sinners

by Rick Moore                                

lydia-brownfield_wantings-for-sinnersOn Lydia Brownfield’s fine new album Wanting’s For Sinners, any number of female pop/alternative vocalists of the past 30 years come to mind. Aimee Mann, Tori Amos, maybe even a more melodic Debbie Harry all show up in her vocal, not necessarily because Brownfield sounds a lot like them, but because there really aren’t that many women singing what she sings today, songs that hearken back to the ’80s and ’90s and are more complemented by production than dependent upon it, songs that live and die by their own quality and the artist’s delivery of them.

Brownfield spent several years honing her craft in Atlanta at venues like the legendary Eddie’s Attic, opening for such artists as Peter Case and Shawn Mullins, and then made a pilgrimage to New York City before settling in Columbus, Ohio, where she’s the best thing happening. Brownfield’s main collaborator on Wanting’s For Sinners is multi-instrumentalist Jeff Dalrymple, an L.A. transplant best known on the left coast for his work with post-punkers the Cassettes and pop group Airwaves. While nearly all of the writing and much of the playing is Brownfield’s, Dalrymple’s instruments, harmonies, co-production and co-engineering are a big part of the sound here.

A slow-to-mid tempo Police-ish chord progression fuels the opening number, “Fiery Crash.” On “Prentiss,” Brownfield sounds a little like country singer Deana Carter though she’s definitely not country, and the experimental bent of the title track is reminiscent, at least in spirit, of something the Beatles might have done on the White Album, though Brownfield shouldn’t be old enough to consciously have absorbed that feel.

Lydia Brownfield is a great example of how there are people all over the world who are doing cool stuff that isn’t on a major label or getting a million YouTube views. But if enough people check her out that just might happen for her.

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