A Look Back At Brian’s Solo Career

I didn’t plan this post, this one came spur of the moment to me at 2am mainly because I’m a major night owl and I work nights here in Las Vegas. But it came out of nowhere after I posted a video as a throwback to the BSB Fan Club Facebook Group (which is for the members of the FC in place of a message board if you’re curious). It came to me because the Boys just filmed their episode of CMT Crossroads with Florida-Georgia Line. So…I thought a CMT related throwback would be fitting you know?

Of course that throwback was with Brian when he appeared on CMT Sessions to promote his solo career. Which, for those who’ve forgotten…and who could blame you it aired (11 years ago!) back in 2006, here’s a refresher. Really it’s a set of lovely performances.

It got me thinking, so I listened to his album in full for the first time, in well a long time. It’s nothing against Brian that I haven’t in a minute. His album was for a very specific audience which in the end wouldn’t have reached me had I not been a hard core BSB fan at the time, who’s two favorite members were Nick and Brian. Here’s something I forgot, several of the songs had a strong secular appeal. If you didn’t know they were about God, they could’ve been about something else. That was the beauty. Hence the CMT appearance. If Brian wanted he could’ve gone and done a full country album. Really. He had a voice and style that suited it well. Look at his cover of Tim McGraw’s song “Don’t Take The Girl”.

 

But he chose not to. While the album definitely has more of a country feel to it, it’s irrevocably a Christian record. Which, whether you agreed with his thoughts then, or now (which again I will not get into on this blog), I have a lot of respect that he doesn’t shy away from what he thinks. Even if I don’t always agree with them. He could’ve gone the easy route, Country could’ve given him a solid solo career that led him away from BSB for good. The Christian community certainly embraced him at the time. (At least till he stood by his appearance at the Gay Pride Parade in 2010. Then they renounced him. But that’s another tangent)

Funnily enough I remember as a fan being really torn by this album. Mainly because 20 year old me hadn’t forgotten how Nick got flack for doing Now Or Never yet here was another BSB doing solo work and that was okay. Not Brian’s fault but I was young. I also remember not being sure how to feel about it. The song were well crafted, it was the subject matter that made me uncomfortable in a couple songs. I learned to just skip those, or just enjoy the vocals. Predictably my favorite songs on the album are “Welcome Home”, “Grace Of My Life” and “Angels and Heroes”.

Basically the most secular songs of the album.

I watched shows I might’ve never watched otherwise. Okay, shows I know I never would have – because Brian was performing on them. My fandom loyalty didn’t waver and in a way it gave me a chance to check out something I might’ve never considered otherwise. No matter how it works out in the end, that’s always a good thing.

As I let the album play so I could write this, I listened to a song I haven’t listened to in almost five years. But it’s but one I’m glad exists. Because it helped me (along with a few other key songs) through a really rough time. I had it in constant rotation in late 2012. I was trying to cope with a very sudden loss and this song seemed to capture just how I felt. I started crying and I kind of knew it was coming and it’s why though it helped me then I can’t listen to it anymore. It’s the same reason I can’t watch Nick’s “I Will Wait” music video though I can listen to the song.

It hits too close to home.

Songs that personal always do when you’re able to relate too well for your own good. It’s a beautiful song but I was pretty relieved to move on to “I’m Alive” which is the closest I think we’ll ever get to a “rocker” version of Brian outside of the Sphynkter video.

The thing about Brian’s solo is that it’s very honest. It’s as Brian as it could be at the time, down to the album booklet featuring pictures of him with Baylee as a toddler. It’s in a time where the US was still only five years fresh off 9/11 and the wounds were still raw. And while it may not have been the mainstream approach that could’ve launched him far, it’s the album he wanted to make. You could tell immediately.

I don’t know if Brian will ever release another solo album again. But if he does, I’m curious where he would go with it. A lot has happened since then. Would it still be within that same genre? Or would he end up branching out? Would he sing about the issues close to his heart like he did then? Maybe one day, after he’s beaten his muscle tension dystonia for good, he will. I hope so.

Till then, at least we have Welcome Home.

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