Many people have come to know Brandon Rhyder’s name and music over the last few years. Regionally he’s definitely a staple of the Texas scene and has made the most of each opportunity he’s been given. Brandon Rhyder is different. When you hear the voice you know it’s unmistakably him. When he comes out with a new single you never know what you’re going to get. Brandon Rhyder loves to take you to the top and then jerk the rug out from under you and start the process all over again. Brandon Rhyder doesn’t write for a genre, but rather for the inspiration he receives. ‘I take pride in the songs that I write and want to be able to sing many of them for years to come. I still have a lot to learn and as life presents itself I’ll continue to strive to get better’, says Brandon.
Brandon Rhyder is a mans man. He’s as real as they come. He’s sincere in his approach and delivery and hard headed to boot. He knows his business and expects as much and more out of himself as he does those who he calls ‘his team’. ‘we have worked very hard to get to where we are. Piece by piece we have assembled the best group in the business in my opinion. Sure, people come and they go, but life is constantly changing and this industry should be the poster child for that’ added Brandon. He has a small circle of close friends he depends on. He calls them his ‘keep it real’ friends. What you see is what you get and he remains humble through it all. Brandon said his wife helps keep him grounded. ‘(he laughs) sure, Kelli keeps my boots on the ground. If I ever get to feeling too good about myself she is certainly the one to grab me by the ear and remind me who I am… and I love her for that’.
Brandon had a publishing deal with Harlan Howard Publishing that ended in March of 2009. He decided he wanted to make the year a year of avoiding trips to Nashville. Not so much to stay away as much as it was about staying closer to home. Brandon and Kelli have two beautiful children and he simply missed them. ‘I’d leave and when I got home they looked different, because they were. Lot’s of growing when they’re babies’ Brandon said. He also wanted to record a new project close to home and use his band. His band is tight and eclectic and energetic. Brandon says his band is never satisfied and that’s why they all work so well together. He also wanted to enlist the services of longtime friend and mentor Walt Wilkins. Walt worked with Brandon on Conviction and here they were again over four years later… could they make ‘magic’ again?
Brandon will tell you up front that this new record is the best he has ever done. He will also tell you there was never any stress at all with respect to recording this album. To sum it all up, ‘you put this band, this producer, this engineer, and the passion of each song together… you have magic!’ mission accomplished! This record is not unlike any of Brandon’s previous recordings in the fact that it’s different. You learn, you grow, you change and then you start the process all over again Brandon likes to say. The cd starts off with ‘Rock Angel’. A song that says what women want to hear and has an edgy aggressiveness that you’ll stomp your feet to from beginning to end. Then just like that track number two takes over and you’re in the country telling your baby that times may be tough, but ‘you can count on me’. Definitely a country single. That’s followed by a song titled ‘You Burn Me’ which starts out on fire and builds and builds into this inferno of beats and backbeats. I promise you this will be a fan favorite! Track number four is called ‘Like It Was The Last Time’. A story of wanting to leave but never following through on the attempt. That’s followed by ‘Last Swan Song’ in which Brandon makes breaking up even sound fun. Then it’s back to his country roots with ‘It’s the Country That Saves Me’. An ode to his days in northeast Texas living what he calls ‘the all American childhood’. ‘Head Above Water’ is the title of the entire collection and thematically the centerpiece on display. ‘when I asked Walt to produce this cd he said on one condition… head above water has to be on this project’… and Brandon happily agreed. ‘Ultimate Deceiver’ follows with an honest and commanding performance on leaving a dysfunctional relationship with the understanding that he/she will still bear the burden of failure by pointed fingers via the other partner in the relationship. Notice how Brandon never specifies male or female. ‘I’ll Take You’ is about visiting home and striking up a chord with a girl he hasn’t seen in years and taking a trip down memory lane in the country. Track number ten is called ‘You Like Me Again’. Brandon wrote this song about his wife and noticing one night that, even though they had endured a rough spot, she obviously liked him again. This song is every relationship that has withstood the ups and downs and remained together. ‘Battery’ is about Brandon’s ‘keep it real’ friends that recharge his mojo and thus make him feel ready to conquer the world. Think Back Roads part II. The cd’s final listed track is called ‘Breathe’ and visits the butterflies and puppy sick love that often accompanies brand new found love.
Twelve solid tracks with one hidden gem that you’ll find as unique as the rest of this collection of stories. In closing Brandon adds, ‘this record is not a book with twelve or thirteen chapters. This record is a collection of completely different books that ebb and flow to new highs and new lows. This is by far the best work I’ve ever done.’