The Upshot: A rewarding sleeper of an album from a singer-songwriter whose backstory is remarkable.
BY LEE ZIMMERMAN
If a movie was to be made about Brian Cullman’s life, he’d be way better known than he is now simply on the basis of his two albums. He’s travelled from Iran to Senegal to Morocco to Trinidad and rubbed shoulders with the likes of rock writer Lillian Roxon (author of The Rock Encyclopedia) Danny Fields (the legendary A&R man for Elektra Records), Jim Morrison, Nico, Nick Drake, John Martyn, Richard Thompson, Sandy Denny, Robert Quine, Vernon Reid and Mark Knopfler. He boasts a damn impressive backstory, one which makes one wonder why the guy isn’t better known, much less absolutely legendary.
The Opposite of Time, his second album following his debut. 2008’s All Fires The Fire, offers every reason to believe he indeed deserves far famous. It’s filled with beautiful, engaging, entrancing songs, all tailor made to melt the heart and quickly get under the skin. He’s not exactly a folkie, not quite Americana and far more substantive than some mere soft rocker. On the other hand, he embodies elements of each. And yet, in listening to songs like “Nothing,” “Beneath the Coliseum,” “Walk the Dog Before I Sleep” and practically every other song on the album, any categorizations are little more than moot. Cullman has clearly learned his lessons well, and the result is an album as good as anything offered by those with significantly higher profiles. The fact is, Cullman is the equal of any of them, and the fact that Jenni Muldaur, members of Ollabelle, players from Rufus Wainwright’s backing band, and the Brazilian Girls were willing to lend their support speaks volumes about Cullman’s craft and credibility.
Granted, it’s hard to get notice these days, what with all the competition. But if credence and creativity count for anything, Cullman may soon find himself earning the kudos he deserves. A sleeper of an album, The Opposite of Time is time well spent.
DOWNLOAD: “Nothing,” “Beneath the Coliseum,” “Walk the Dog Before I Sleep”