In times of trouble it is often the things closest to you that become the buoys needed to get you through.
They say that when it rains, it pours, and in late 2009 the brewing storm let loose and stayed for years. Along with the Great Recession, which took his job and eventually his home in the Seattle area, there was an excruciating hurt and loss within his once close-knit community, as well as a mysterious illness affecting his wife which saw them in and out of the ER and doctor’s offices long before a diagnosis would come.
Losing a job, a home, a community and supporting a sick spouse when jobs were as scarce could have broken anyone, yet this storm would not conquer Bradford Loomis. His strife was fodder for hard-won songs and his fear fuel to push him toward a full time career in music.
Bradford threw himself into writing and learning about the music business. Mentors appeared like angels sharing their knowledge and experiences in the music industry. He released his first full length album, Into the Great Unknown, before teaming up with another singer/songwriter Beth Whitney to release a pair of award winning records under the name The Banner Days (self titled Banner Days and Hand Me a Hymnal). After his father’s diagnosis of early onset Alzheimer’s, he found further fuel for the fire. With the tales of his family’s struggles burning fresh in his chest, Bradford released his most vulnerable project Bravery and the Bell.
Drawing from the storytelling of Bruce Springsteen, Iron and Wine and Jason Isbell, and pairing it with the soulful delivery of Chris Stapleton, Marc Broussard and Shawn James, Bradford has created a unique style he calls Rhythm & Roots. Grit and melody marry roots and soul.
In his new album Where the Light Ends, due out October 11th, Bradford balances that duality with a masterful grace. Lyrically, he speaks of the raw reality of the human condition with passion, sharing tales that are shaped by grief and longing colored by wistfulness and regret, but are lifted by enduring hope, humility and love.
Today Glide is excited to premiere “Righteous Kind”, one of the standout tracks from Loomis’ new album that embodies his unique approach to the craft of songwriting. With his quickly strummed acoustic guitar and whispered intro vocals, Loomis builds immediate tension before exploding into a full on ramble of dark southern rock. Balancing Americana and soulful harmonies, the track lays on greasy slide guitar and a thunderous beat to back Loomis’ gritty, charged up vocals. It’s easy to hear his passion and strength as a songwriter and a singer throughout the track, with a gift for writing infectious lyrics.
Listen to the tune and read our chat with Loomis below…
What is this song about? Is there a story behind it or did something in particular make you write it?
In my life I’ve spent far too much time being “sure” of things. You pick a lot of stupid fights this way. It’s the surest way to be humbled. Our time here isn’t guaranteed, so I’d rather spend my time building things and doing good.
Was thing a music-first or a lyrics-first song?
I actually wrote this in my car, while driving from Nashville to Washington (with shows along the way) to record the new album. I’ve had to get used to writing with just my cell phone and a steering wheel with as much time as I spend out on the road.
Speaking of the lyrics, what is your favorite lyric line from this song? Why is it your favorite?
I would have to say, “I ain’t the righteous kind, there’s a fire in my soul that I can’t hide, and if it gets loose it’s going to burn this whole thing down.” I’m no better than anyone else. I think that we are predisposed to seeing ourselves inaccurately. We either over- or underestimate ourselves. Rarely, if ever, are we on the money. I want to be a humble person. In my life, I have acted “holier than thou” for too often while trying to hide the things I’m ashamed of. I don’t want to live that way.
What is next for Bradford Loomis?
I’m excited to get these songs and this album out into the world. That’s always an exciting prospect. Seeing how it’s all received and playing the new songs for my audiences for the first time — it’s invigorating. This fall and winter are going to be a blast!
Photo credit: TonyHammons