Brian Bassett
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Brian Bassett

Panama City, FL | Established. Jan 01, 2003

Panama City, FL
Established on Jan, 2003
Solo Rock Singer/Songwriter


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


"Valentine's Lineup - Local Hero"

"Brian Bassett turns 25 today, but the real reason for celebration is the release of Nothing To Lose, the local rocker's follow-up to last year's well-received Rock and Roll. Over 10 tracks and not quite 40 minutes, the new album delivers twang and spit, dewy testaments to love, sounds that make you want to hold hands and others that make you want to raise those hands in self-defense. Recorded at the SoundCheck Republic studio in East Chatham, the album will be launched at a CD-release party and show on Friday at Valentine's. Backing up Bassett will be a band compromised of area music multitasker John Broduer on drums, The Wait's Mark Connor on bass, and Barnum on lead guitar. The first 100 people through the door get a copy of Nothing To Lose free with admission. Mass Chaos and Niki Lee round out the bill. - Albany Times Union

"Making Tracks"

Albany rocker Brian Bassett is part of America's army of do-it-yourself recording artists

By STEVE BARNES, Arts editor
First published: Sunday, December 5, 2004

Midway through Brian Bassett's new song "Polly Jean," a semi-creepy tune told from the perspective of a stalker, an angry guitar solo crashes to its peak and the Albany singer-songwriter's voice comes in at full roar. Four lines of lyric close with Bassett howling "Now we're here and can't go back," his voice as raspy as burlap being torn.

The sound is surprising not because it's out of place. Indeed, it's exactly right, given the mood of the song and the lead-up guitar solo. It's unexpected because Bassett has never sounded like that before. Fans on the local music scene who have watched his maturation as a performer and songwriter over the past few years have come to know Bassett's voice as by turns plaintive, foggy, emotive, high and sweet. But never roaring.

"I didn't know I could sing like that," says Bassett, who turned 25 last month. "It's amazing what you learn about yourself when you make a record."

That self-released record, "Nothing to Lose," is Bassett's second, following last year's debut, "Rock and Roll," a title that aptly describes Bassett's sound and philosophy. He may sometimes be a sensitive guy with a guitar, and he may sometimes turn out tunes that are so toe-tapping, head-nodding infectious that you'd call them "pop," but Bassett is mostly a rock-'n'-roller. Over 10 tracks and not quite 40 minutes, the new album wrangles and jangles, explores love and obsession and generally rocks out.

"A lot of his stuff's radio-ready," says Jason Keller, the midday DJ at Channel 103.1 (WHRL-FM). Keller interviewed Bassett and played songs from "Nothing to Lose" last month on "Big Break," a Sunday-night show spotlighting unsigned acts.

Ryan Barnum, who produced both of Bassett's albums, thinks the rock sound is a big reason"Nothing to Lose" and "Rock and Roll" caught the ear of Keller and others. "There aren't too many guys playing straight-up rock 'n' roll. Brian is, and he's great at it," says Barnum. A former member of the area band The Wait, Barnum now lives in North Carolina, returning to the Capital Region regularly for shows and recording sessions.

Bassett doesn't travel as far, but he's on the road more often. In the week after Thanksgiving, he made four trips to New York City for shows with another band he plays in, and he's been trying to land more solo gigs in Manhattan, where he believes his future lies. His performance on Saturday at Valentine's in Albany will be Bassett's last Capital Region show of the year. He expects to play only a few here in 2005.

"I don't think conquering Albany is the way to go anymore," says Bassett, whose busy local performing schedule and songwriting talents got him named to Metroland magazine's best-of lists in both 2003 and '04.

He says, "The goal for the next year is to sell records and increase my fan base, and to do that, I have to play elsewhere, then come back to town and play."

Some assembly required

While "Rock and Roll" can be purchased online ($12.97), the only way to get a copy of "Nothing to Lose" ($10) is at a live show. Bassett has been churning them out on his home computer in recent weeks, adding more to the stack whenever he's at his Lark Street apartment long enough to burn a few. He put together a CD booklet at the print shop where he works, and expects to be assembling album packages all this week. The 50 copies he completed prior to last month's CD-release party were all snapped up by fans, who got one free with admission to the show.

He'd love to have boxes and boxes of "Nothing to Lose" CDs that are professionally replicated, with glossy booklets and shrink wrap, but he went that route with "Rock and Roll," much to the detriment of his bank account. And besides, he's still got 600 copies of the earlier album that he needs to sell, from a batch of 1,000.

"I just didn't have the capital to invest in manufacturing another record," he says. "Hopefully I can make enough money from selling what I've got and (performing shows) to get in a position to distribute this new album. I just can't do that yet."

Small numbers

Record companies annually release more than 30,000 albums, a figure that is surely dwarfed by the number of unsigned artists who, like Bassett the first time, pay out of their own pockets to have albums commercially replicated. Larger still is the number of albums like "Nothing to Lose," burned one at a time on a home computer, in runs totaling a couple of hundred.

The music industry's obsession with big numbers -- with record sales and chart positions and magazine covers and tours that play to hundreds of thousands -- creates an atmosphere in which a big artist's latest effort is judged a failure if it sells "only" a couple of million copies.

Such breathless but narrow attention on the very top makes it easy to overlook the fact that most of the music in this country gets made by people like Brian Bassett. He works a day job, goes to classes to finish up a college degree that's been more elusive than he'd like, gigs as often as he can (in the process putting more than 40,000 miles on his van in less than a year) and co-hosts a weekly open mike at the Lark Tavern in Albany. And when he's got enough cash and new tunes, he heads back into the studio to make a record that a few hundred people may eventually own.

"It's what I do. It's who I am. I make music," he says. "I don't think at any point am I really looking to be the biggest or the best of anything, which I think makes it easier to make goals and achieve them. I don't have lofty, unattainable goals in music. That's why I don't think of them as dreams; they're goals, and I have to be practical about getting there."

Hard work pays off

"There" may be a career as a teacher or professor, with music as a sideline, as he's currently thinking. Or it may be as a full-time, professional, touring-and-recording musician, signed to a label.

Channel 103.1's Keller, for one, thinks Bassett has the talent for such a career. "I get all sorts of stuff from new bands, but his stood out," says Keller, who also aired Bassett's tunes when "Rock and Roll" came out last year. "He's got good song structure, catchy tunes -- it's polished. ... My basic rule is, does it make me want to listen again? This does."

Much of "Nothing to Lose" stands up to repeated listening, and on each successive play the album yields up another pleasing touch: the ribbit of a guiro, twinkly chimes, acoustic-guitar filigree atop the attitudinal snarl of its electric sibling, a joyful chorus sung a capella save for a tambourine.

"His songs are catchy as hell," says area music multitasker John Brodeur, who as the principal songwriter for another local band, The Suggestions, has himself written more than a few catchy-as-hell tunes. Adds Brodeur, co-host of the Lark Tavern open mike with Bassett and drummer at last month's "Nothing to Lose" CD-release show, "He's always had a good handle on how to make pop songs work. ... He had it when I first heard him play (a few years ago), and now he really knows how to use it. He's refined his skills at putting everything together on a record."

Although naturally gifted as a musician -- he wrote a Mass while still in high school -- Bassett is also industrious.

"Brian is one of the hardest damn workers I've ever met in my life," says Carl Smith, a veteran of the Albany music scene who has watched with admiration as Bassett grew as a musician and songwriter. "He's out there, doing -- always playing," says Smith.

Joe Whyte, a New York City-based musician in whose band Bassett regularly plays, recalls trying to dissuade Bassett from doing those four drives to Manhattan in a week. (This year, Bassett has had several of those four-trip weeks.) Whyte says he knew that Bassett still had to make it to work each morning.

"I kept telling him, 'You don't have to come down this time,' " Whyte says, "but he was always like, 'No, I'm coming,' and he did. He just loves to play."

In the studio

"Nothing to Lose" was born during marathon sessions in April and May, most of them consisting of Bassett and Barnum sitting in the two small rooms of a recording studio called SoundCheck Republic in East Chatham. The studio is an idyllic spot, a cottage (and former bookshop) behind a home in Columbia County, with the hum of the highway rolling across verdant fields. There's a pen for goats outside, while inside is one room full of instruments, the other a control booth packed with computers and recording equipment.

On a warm May afternoon, Bassett sits in the studio, strumming and humming, while Barnum watches him indulgently through the glass.

"This isn't even for the record," says Barnum. "He just came up with a new idea for a song, and he wanted to track it before he forgot it. ... He's always writing. Always."

The pair, who took a music-theory class together at Shenendehowa High School in the mid-1990s, work easily as a team. Barnum, mellow to the point of seeming benumbed, smooths the hyper edges of Bassett's energy, gently urging him toward another take or -- more importantly -- to leave well enough alone.

After they listen to a guitar track, Barnum says, "That was great."

Bassett: "It was a little messy."

Barnum: "There's good messy and bad messy. That was good messy."

Bassett: "You think?"

Barnum: "I do."

Bassett: "I felt like I was digging in on the bridge."

Barnum: "It was good to dig in on the bridge."

Bassett, playing guitar: "I did this."

Barnum: "I know. That's good. Keep it."

Bassett: "Keep it?"

Barnum: "It's cool. Keep it."

Bassett: "I don't know. ... OK. ... You're right. ... Keep it."

Collective theme

Though the album's title is "Nothing to Lose," the song of the same name isn't among the 10 tracks. "It's a great song," Bassett says, "but it doesn't fit with the rest of the songs," something he came to realize after Barnum, Whyte and Brodeur all told him to ditch it. (It's available for download on his Web site, He kept the title for the album, he says, because "Nothing to Lose" sums up the remaining songs' collective theme, as well as his own state in life right now.

"I spent so much time and energy and money on the last record that when I woke up the day after the last CD-release party, I literally didn't know what to do with myself, because at that some point that date had become The Event, the only thing I was working toward. I didn't have anything else," he says.

"I'm not (doing) that this time. This time I'm just going to keep moving forward and keep making music and keep making records." - Albany Times Union

"Rock and Roll (Small Time Music)"

Rock and Roll isn't simply the title of Brian Bassett's album; it's also his modus operandi. The local artist has concocted an unabashed, unironic, straight-up collection of big, throbbing love rock. This is rock with a capital R, but also hooky as hell (and thankfully devoid of irony) with wonderful production (courtesy of the Wait's Ryan Barnum) that brings the guitars out front, thick as clotted cream.

So many things about this album are dead right-the way, for example, "NYC" breaks wide open into a hook-perfect, prickly-skin-inducing chorus atop a fat rock bed. (Leave no production stone unturned: Even the tambourine touches are dead right here.) On "Grow Up," Bassett tackles the age-old theme of, erm, aging like he's just discovered it. The gloriously inflated dynamics of the chorus-all welling guitars, earnest vocals, backup harmony "aaaahs"-are powerful and touching. (And the rich guitars tumble, grind and wheel like early Radiohead or the concert version of Oasis.)

There's nothing cheeky or arch about Bassett's album-this is just an earnest, straight-ahead rock record with lots of melodic resonance. The rock power, pop hooks, great songwriting and top-notch production add up to one great album. Not just great on a local scale-just great period.

- Metroland

"Hey Kids, Let's Put On A Show (Sound System Benefit)"

Bassett made a rare appearance with a full band to roll out a bunch of numbers from his remarkable CD Rock and Roll . Ryan Barnum (formerly of the Wait), whose production touches and musicianship were all over that album, joined Bassett on guitar. The two musicians have great chemistry, and their guitar interplay-a roiling, melodic wall of crunch, snarl and grumble-was a highlight. (They're both really nice guys too.) The Swiss Army-like John Brodeur (he does it all) sat in on drums. He should have "the ubiquitous" before his name; this cat is everywhere. Bassett and company offered up a moving set of welling, straight-up rock, particularly shining on "Grow Up," "NYC" and a new balls-out rocker that may or may not be called "Damage Control."

- Metroland

"Best Singer-Songwriter (Arena Rock) 2004"

The term "singer-songwriter" usually conjures images of acoustic strummers delivering folky or brooding narratives. But Brian Bassett's straight-ahead rock tunes-which call to mind expansive fare like early Radiohead, Oasis and Matthew Sweet's 100% Fun -are made to be swathed in thick guitars and lush production (courtesy of former Wait member Ryan Barnum). His songs take a direct, simple path to the heart, not to the intellect and not hitched to any trend. On last year's Rock and Roll LP, Bassett came off like a man in search of an arena, avoiding poetic platitudes and complex rumination and glorying in big, breathless love-rock, earnestly direct anthems and throbbing melodic hooks. Bassett was back in the studio with Barnum recently, so let's hope that we soon see a new album packed with his grand rock intentions.

- Metroland

"Best New Solo Musician 2003"

We always love a good new addition to the scene, and Brian is just that. Although he's played around for a few years with a couple different bands, he's gone through a cocoon-type transformation through which he's come out a notable solo act, soon to release his debut album, Rock and Roll (a combination of sweet ballads and socially conscious assertions). Look at the music listings in the back of this paper, and you can usually count on finding him scheduled at one of the local clubs most weekends-the guy plays his little heart out as often as he can. With his many melodic, catchy original tunes and sparse, well-chosen covers, his is a show we don't like to miss.
- Metroland


Whiskers on Kittens (2019)
Raindrops on Roses (2018)

Nothing To Lose LP (Decco Records/Cantus Records 2004)
Rock and Roll LP (Small Time Music 2003)
South of Houston LP (Cantus Records 2002)


Feeling a bit camera shy


“He’s in the spirit of power-pop tunesmiths from another age, a brand of unadorned, straight-up love rock uncluttered by pretension and perfectly out-of-step with his generation.”
--Eric Hage, Metroland

Brian Bassett debuted in Albany, NY in 2003 with his record "Rock and Roll”, combining glorious guitars and throbbing hooks, netting radio play for several of the tracks including “Nichole, Nichole”. 2004s "Nothing To Lose” was mixed by Dave Cook (Juliana Hatfield, The Smithereens, Graham Parker, Nick Cave, The B-52s). As one critic put it, this record delivered “twang and spit, dewy testaments to love, sounds that make you want to hold hands and others that make you want to raise those hands in self-defense.” Awarded “Best New Solo Musician 2003”, “Best Singer-Songwriter 2004” and “Best Recordings of 2004” from Metroland, he performed with John Brodeur and shared the stage with The Alternate Routes, Mike Viola, Ben Lee, and Two Cow Garage.

Sharpening his teeth in New York City, Bassett began performing with Joe Whyte. The pair recorded and toured for the next few years, twice in Ireland, culminating in the KiIlkenny Rhythm and Roots festival, sharing the stage with Son Volt and Ray LaMontagne. In 2006, Bassett relocated to Raleigh, NC to record with longtime friends and Eric "Mixerman" Serafin (Ben Harper, Tegan and Sara) in the mountains of Asheville, North Carolina at the legendary Echo Mountain Studio. The band Strange Faces, cut the album entirely on 2" analog tape without the aid of computer editing, conjured a mix of Radiohead, Pink Floyd, and Beethoven.

Brian Bassett currently hails from Panama City, FL where he keeps busy writing, recording, performing and touring.

“After one listen, Brian’s songs already seem familiar, they’re just that catchy. When I heard the CD, some of those songs grabbed me from the first note; he sounds great on the radio.”
--Jason Keller, WHRL/Channel 103.1 DJ

“... straight-ahead rock tunes - which call to mind expansive fare like early Radiohead, Oasis, and Matthew Sweet’s 100% Fun - made to be swathed in thick guitars and lush production. His songs take a direct, simple path to the heart, not to the intellect and not hitched to any trend. On the “Rock and Roll” LP, Bassett came off like a man in search of an arena, avoiding poetic platitudes and complex rumination and glorying in big, breathless love-rock, earnestly direct anthems and throbbing melodic hooks.”
--Erik Hage, Metroland

Band Members