By Jared Johnson
Review: 'Welcome to Brigham' Shakes Off LDS Music Stereotypes
PROVO, UTAH -- Straight from an opening scene in the movie, a police vehicle
on the front cover drives past the sign greeting drivers: "Welcome to
Brigham." Some may wonder, "Which direction is the vehicle headed?" since
the town is fictional. The destination of the sheriff's truck is unknown, as
is the location of the fantasy town.
Thankfully, the music on the album "Welcome to Brigham" is more than
imaginary, and it moves in the direction that LDS artists should at this leg
in their journey towards a grand-scale explosion. The album is a collection
of songs associated with the movie Brigham City and is not intended as a
soundtrack. Regardless, it's contemporary enough to single-handedly shake
off the genre stereotypes that have plagued LDS music since its inception.
No one who listens to this album will put Julie de Azevedo in the same
category as Janice Kapp Perry; no one will mistake Greg Simpson for George
Perhaps that is why the ten artists on "Welcome to Brigham" complement the
movie so well: both send tremors underneath common conclusions of Mormon
culture. There is something to learn by losing our innocence, and there are
multiple genres under the broadened term "LDS music."
Of course, who would show us the bold new direction of music but Peter
Breinholt, Greg Simpson, and Sam Cardon? What would a tribute to any piece
of LDS culture be without contributions by Julie de Azevedo and Ryan Shupe?
And how can anything ultimately be considered great without some astounding
new talent? Here it all comes together much like the vast array of emotions
that assemble in the movie.
Listen to the somberness then absorb the lyrics. These songs will trigger as
much conversation as the murder mystery plot. The main theme is learning
through heartache. Maren Ord asks, "What if the world were a little more
perfect/Would you stop crying?" Julie cries, "I can't count the prayers/That
cry out from my lips." Greg Simpson acknowledges, "We are children no more,
we have sinned and grown old."
Relative newcomers also shine some piercing light on the subject. Sunfall
Festival shares a brooding alternative version of "Nearer, My God, To Thee."
"Patience Lies" is the best possible introduction to Hawaiian phenom Kalai.
His guitar work has begun a potentially glorious reign.
For the majority of music fans who have a few "thinking albums," add this to
the pile. It is the proper backdrop to open yourself up and do some
introspection. Not necessarily the kind done when studying the scriptures,
but possibly while wondering why certain things have to happen or wandering
through shaded passages in life.
Richard Dutcher directed the movie and echoed approval of this album.
"It felt wonderful to know that I had communicated the story of Brigham City
in such a way that these great musicians could internalize it and bounce the
story back in their own way," Dutcher said. "I'm now able to experience the
film through the eyes of other artists and live the story one more time."
Remember, nothing attracts a music lover like paradise. While the mythical
Brigham City is touted as paradise until a serial killer arrives, "Welcome
to Brigham" has no such serpents to spoil its perfection.
About the Author:
Jared is a voice for LDS music in the media. He has written for The Daily
Universe and The Collegiate Post and won his first journalism award at age
14. In his current work for All Music Guide (www.allmusic.com), he has
reviewed scores of albums for readers who have no other way of hearing about
LDS artists. He has been involved in public relations efforts in print and
online for Covenant Communications, Highway Records, Colors Music and his
own label, Windmill Records, home to his solo piano recordings.
Jared's review is provided by Excel Entertainment, publisher of "Welcome to Brigham"
To listen to clips from "Welcome to Brigham", go to