To say that the release of Brad Brooks’ new studio album, God Save The City, is a massive milestone would be an understatement. This wasn’t exactly an album created under typical circumstances with Brooks facing some daunting personal challenges just as the creative process began to take shape. The Bay Area artist is pleased to be previewing more of what’s to come with the release of “Heartbreak of Fools,” the third single off of God Save The City which will be officially released on October 23rd.
Towards the beginning of the writing and recording process for the album, Brooks took what he thought was a routine trip to the dentist where it was discovered that he had a cancerous lump in his throat. If that wasn’t frightening enough, the treatment for the tumour had the very real potential of depriving him of his voice. Terrified but determined, Brooks soldiered on and eventually made a full recovery, but the experience certainly left a mark on him both as a person and as an artist.
Explaining the process behind “Heartbreak of Fools,” Brooks said, “It all started with watching the classic old movie Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte which is a 1964 psychological horror film and it follows a middle-aged Southern woman suspected in the unsolved murder of her lover from decades before, who is plagued by bizarre occurrences after summoning her cousin to help challenge the local government’s impending demolition of her home. In it there’s a line that the legendary Bette Davis says in the movie, ‘I’m nothing but ruined finery’ which just hit me like a lightning bolt. Sometimes songs just need a little spark of a line to set the process on fire, and this one did it for me and was the first song written for the new album God Save The City.
I’m always looking to do something that I’ve never done before, and although I have used strings, this time it was done in a more countrified Americana type of song with a beautiful arrangement by Laela Peterson-Stolen. It’s a song that’s like a train that you can see from a mile away that you know is coming but you can’t stop it, but this train has an ear to ear grin on it as it runs you over on purpose, and you think ‘why didn’t I see this coming?”
As you would expect, Brooks’ cancer diagnosis was the most frightening moment of his life, but rather than take that aggression and anxiety out in a negative way, he projected it all towards the making of God Save The City. It is for this reason why the album possesses more of an urgent tone than his previous work, exploding with fire and honesty in many parts. Brooks recorded the record with his longtime live band with many of the songs recorded in only one or two takes, a huge change from the more calculated approach of his previous recordings. Sounding both raw and vulnerable, Brooks sounds like a man who is just glad to have been given a second chance. With soul and sincerity, Brad Brooks has powered through trying times with bravery and an unrivaled determination that has helped him deliver his finest work yet.