Like many kids growing up pre-internet, New Jersey native Brian Seymour discovered his favorite bands on the radio, though they weren’t your typical classic rock acts. He gravitated to alternative artists like the Cure, the Smiths, Billy Bragg, Echo & the Bunnymen and the Replacements. He studied their songs and, in many cases, he played them live—on and off for more than 20 years in various capacities. A longtime Main Line favorite, Seymour performs regularly at 118 North and other local venues. The new American Courage is his first LP in over 10 years.
BS: My mom’s side of the family were all piano players, but I don’t think anybody ever took a lesson. They could just sit down and play magically. I learned like my family did, but my dad was the real music fan. He listened to music almost every night after work. A lot of good songwriting got into me.
BS: I sat down during the pandemic to write an important song. I thought I could capture the tear that was happening in the spring of 2020 with COVID—the social unrest and the uncertainty. The theme of the record is “love ain’t easy,” and those lyrics are in “American Courage.” It’s OK if we disagree, but love of country and freedom should be universal.
BS: The album offers them a series of little movies. It’s 10 songs, but they’re all cinematic in their own way, and they’re designed as such. It’s a group of songs that work together to hit you at all different levels so your heart gets a full workout.
BS: One of my favorite connections for the record was Eliza Hardy Jones, who played on one of my earlier records. She was playing with Grace Potter and Iron & Wine and then joined the War on Drugs. I was just lucky to catch her when she was around—her voice added so much. Also, there was Kenny Kearns, one of the owners of 118 North in Wayne. He’s a brilliant keyboard player and knows his way around a pop song.
BS: I like music that pushes us to the limits within the safe confines of our headphones. I trend toward artists like David Gray, who, within the confines of a song, can make you think but also really make you feel something.
BS: Teaching my son his first song on the piano.
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