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MP3 Brent Floren - Fortune

Brent Floren''s songs are flashes of everyday life as it careens between funny and not funny; they''re three-and-a-half minute novellas about people you know. If Flannery O''Conner or Raymond Carver were songwriters, this is what they would sound like.

12 MP3 Songs
ROCK: Folk Rock, POP: Folky Pop

Reviews of Floren''s Debut CD Fortune

There are dozens of bluesy folk singers on the acoustic circuit, but Floren is a special songwriter whose work-which wouldn''t be out of place in a box of Joe Henry/Bruce Springsteen/Tom Waits outtakes-deserves a wider audience...Floren is a careful writer who gets to the heart of his characters ("Cathedral Hill," "Lake St. Francis") with uncommon empathy, and his observations on the human condition ("Work," "Free Facelift," "Fortune," "Road Rage") are fueled by the same emotional detail that buoys his wonderful theme song, "Jukebox (I''m not a)."

Pioneer Press -Jim Walsh

To hear him sing it, former Ghost Train and Shake Oliver leader Brent Floren is "just another singer/songwriter, maybe I''m a little depressed/ I know I''m a dime a dozen, on some nights I''m worth even less." Despite such self-deprecation, the Minneapolis native''s solo debut, "Fortune," which flew under the radar of most last year, is a wonderful play-me-again collection of to-the-bone songs. Floren''s tunes should be embraced by anyone who likes a warm yarn (life, death, insecurity, infidelity) told with a cold voice, a la T. Griffin, Jon Dee Graham and/or Dan Israel.

Pioneer Press -Jim Walsh

Fortune is easily one of the best musical efforts I have heard from the slag heap of material we get here at Demorama. Combine the wavering vocal stylings of Lyle Lovett and Lloyd Cole and roll it over minimal background music that creates a melancholy mood in similar territory of Bruce Springsteen''s Nebraska and you''re getting the basic idea of Fortune. The tunes are intelligent, compelling stories of troubled characters, relationships and incidents. The album is a fine piece of social commentary, infused here and there with a dark sense of humor. I wish he had included his lyrics, but I will not have any problem listening to this CD again. Congratulations, Mr. Floren, you have become only the second artist out of the countless and sometimes horrifying -others that I have reviewed to earn a spot in my alphabetized "active" collection. Your slot is between Firewater and Foo Fighters. It might not sound like much, but it''sthe highest honor I can bestow.

Demorama -Mike Mitchelson

" ''Hey, Hey, Hey, lemme tell you what I''m not, I''m not a jukebox.'' Local singer/songwriter Floren makes it clear he''s an original artist, and with a full-length album of his own songs released earlier this year, who could argue? Sounding like a less hoarse Tom Waits, Floren holds up a mirror to the ugly underbelly of society and lets us all take a look. Mercifully, the grooving rhythms and well-worked melodies balance out the tough subject matter to give us an album that is as artful as it is meaningful."

Eugene Weekly -Mare Wakefield

"It''s a scary proposition for most musicians: bare your soul in front of a microphone with only an acoustic guitar to back your actions. Brent Floren takes his chances on Fortune with positive results as he displays an alacrity for describing bizarre situations with an unyielding determination. While our songwriter also steeps his tunes in a pool of occasional electric guitar and light percussion, the primary focus is on his lyrics. Tackling everything from voyeurism to clowns, this is anything but another neo-hippie jam. In a way, Floren reminds me of ex-Austinites Hammell on Trial, crossed with a modern day Dylan, as he''s not afraid to take a chance and possibly alienate a would-be listener. Floren would prefer to get in your face and fail rather than just casually strum his guitar in the hope that someone will listen. His forceful musical act pays off; a good listen to Fortune will definitely leave you formulating a decisive opinion about Floren."

Splendid E-zine -Andrew Magilow

"Fortune is a compelling mix of folk and rock songs about everyday life."

The Register Guard-ticket -Lewis Taylor

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