Rock & Fire
In his debut CD, ROCK & FIRE, singer Brian Langlinais reveals a talent solid as stone and a voice hot enough to ignite a crowd or fuel a smokey affair. Rhythm and blues, rock and honky-tonk, even soulful ballads benefit from Langlinais' skillful phrasing and supple voice in this impressive first release. Rough and smooth in all the right places, his voice shakes up the house one moment and soothes sweat-soaked listeners the next. Langlinais (pronounce LONG-li-nay) is a native son of Louisiana, a fact evident in his music. His vocals have a driving, infectious energy but the real power of his performance is his willingness to give the music away, to make the song about the listener-not himself or the band, but anybody and everybody whose ever loved, lost, taken a chance, told a lie, hit bottom or touched the sky. 'For me, the whole point is to evoke emotion, touch the soul,' Langlinais says. 'That's what 'soul' music means to me-and that's what I'm trying to create.' Produced by Walt Wilkins and Tim Lorsch of Bull Creek Productions in Nashville, the recording is clear-headed, creative, and happily devoid of heavy overdubs. Mature, but with enough kick-ass spirit to make you believe time is on your side- at least until the music stops. 'When I was looking for songs for this album, I wanted lyrics that spoke to my heart as much as they might showcase my voice,' says Langlinais. 'I'm a guy who's been married for more than a few years, so I know a song like 'I Wish I Could Be That Strong' speaks to a lot of people,' he adds. 'And who, at our age, doesn't know somebody with an addiction problem-which is why I chose 'How Far Down'. Langlinais' rendition of both songs demonstrates a depth and quality of understanding absent in many performers, including some whose recordings top today's charts. Clearly, Langlinais knows it takes more than hitting the right note; an enduring performance requires striking a chord with the listener. And that he does, track after track. For Rock and Fire, Langlinais selected cuts-many by Gary Nicholson, an award-winning songwriter and longtime writing partner of the inimitable Delbert McClinton-urging us to dust off our dreams of find new ones. Langlinais sings the lyrics with confidence, even muscle, but never sounds cocky- his vocals infused with genuine empathy. His music is heavily influenced by his deep Acadian roots which can be traced back to the 1700s and the original migration of French Canadians to Louisiana. Growing up in Lafayette- the heart of Cajun country- Langlinais was steeped in the distinctive and evocative vocals, strong rhythms, bluesy backbeats and undulation basslines typical of swamp pop, zydeco and other musical sub-genres of south Louisiana. His music also reflects his late father's musical tastes, which favored innovation over tradition. 'My dad was a tenor sax player in a 'swamp pop' band and played every night in clubs,' Langlinais says. 'But he really wanted to be a jazz player.' His father exposed him to the best in jazz-Miles Davis, Stan Getz, Sonny Rollins, Bud Shank and other legendary innovators-and, later on, to progression fusion bands such as Chicago, and Blood, Sweat and Tears. Listening to Rock and Fire, it's clear Langlinais has distilled the best of those musical influences into a fluid, emotional essence and, along the way, become a 'soul' singer in the truest sense of the word.