One of the best things about festivals is the chance to hear new artists, or ones who have passed you by a bit. I arrived at Americana Festival in Bath in the summer not knowing much about Peter Bruntnell’s music but after his set on the Sunday afternoon, I was a proper fan. The songs that did it were ‘Broken Wing’, from his brilliant ‘King Of Madrid’ album, and this one.
Bruntnell’s lyrics can take an oblique view of life, the universe, and everything. A song about having your head sent to Arizona to be cryogenically frozen appealed to me. Taking that starting point to then reflect on pondering your child’s future is genius.
Bruntnell posted a clip of Mary Lou Lord’s version to his Facebook recently, which is musically not a million miles from his own recording, but with her sweeter, more poppy voice the chorus sounds even more creepy than when Bruntnell sings it: “By the time my head gets to Phoenix. You’ll be on your way to school. By the time my earlobe freezes. You’ll be acting like the fool. And if our world explodes and we never know the truth. Floating round this empty silver tube”.
Having found that my AUK colleagues were once again right about an artist I had skipped over, I have, in the way of a late convert, been telling everyone I can about Bruntnell’s music. Anyone who can write songs called, ‘You’d Make a Great Widow’ or name his album ‘Normal for Bridgwater’ is truly a great artist. I wonder if he reads Douglas Adams?