Brady Seals - Play Time
By: Matt Bjorke
“A child reminds us that playtime is an essential part of our daily routine.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Too often adults lose sight of this essential fact about life. Even in the mundane routine of everyday life, we must figure out a way to take time to live. It can be a simple diversion like reading a book, going out with friends, going to a show or listening to a fun album. The latter part is where Brady Seals’ Play Time comes in. Brady’s fourth solo album is all about having a good time and escaping the daily grind of life, even if it’s for the short time it takes to get through the eleven (11) tracks found on this album.
Fans may know of Brady as one of the front men for Little Texas (“My Love,” “What Might Have Been”) during their height of popularity or as the front man for Hot Apple Pie (“Hillbillies”) but he’s always stretched his creative muscles the most on his solo records which, at times, can recall the great Rodney Crowell. With a bluesy, honky-tonk vibe “Eeny Meny Miny Moe” tells the story of a boy who despite an awkward stutter, overcomes personal difficulties to create a country band. The song tells a story and in the end the boy created his band for the same reason many boys start bands: for the girls of course. The music accompanying the lyrics is pure modern honky tonk music meant to folks out on the dance floor.
First single “Ho Down” is pure fun and like “Eeny Meny Miny Moe,” it’s meant to get your butt out on the dance floor. The honky tonker tells a humorous tale about a girl who falls down but despite the problem with this girl on the floor, Brady proclaims that people should continue to have a good time while leaving the girl on the floor. A little silly? Sure. But this song is pure fun. “Trucker Song” recalls a classic 80’s Rodney Crowell story song while Billy Yates’ “Better Every Beer” is as fun as it was on Billy’s own album. Fans hopin’ for a Hot Apple Pie revival briefly have one here as Brady’s old band mates joined him in the studio for this track.
About ¼ of the albums on “Play Time” might drive some traditionalists insane with “Farm Boy” being an interesting song that features Colt Ford-like spoken verses and sung choruses but in the end it is a song that is meant to be nothing but fun. “Askin’ Questions” has an electronica inspired backbeat and “Bubba’s Pimpin’ Ride” may be one of the first country songs to name-check hip hop artists like Nappy Roots or Snoop Dog. These songs all allow to Brady Seals the chance to have fun, which is after all, the whole reason for this record. "Farmer Brown" also does this as Brady plays an old-timey bluegrass ode to a farmer who grows the 'best bud in town.'
Without a ballad in sight, Brady Seals’ “Play Time” is most certainly an album meant to entertain and help you get into a good mood. And while he does experiment on the record, it never feels like it’s a rag-tag collection of songs or singles. In short, Play Time is most definitely a cohesive collection of fun-lovin, tongue-in-cheek songs. Doug Stone once sang that they “Oughta put warning labels on sad country songs.” Well the same can be said for Brady Seals’ fourth solo album. There oughta be a warning label for the fun to be had while listening to Play Time.