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A Cat May Look at a Queen

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Album Review

Franklin Bruno's third solo effort finds the Nothing Painted Blue singer and Extra Glenns guitarist continuing to make his mark as one of the most intelligent songwriters of the 1990s and early 2000s. The disc opens with the wonderfully simple "Dashboard Issues," with Bill Magdziarz's synthesizer adding a rich touch to the opening. Jacob Valenzuela adds soulful trumpet to the fourth track, the callous eye-opener "I Blame You," which is followed by the gentle and radiant "Tired of the West." The title track was written with Lorenz Hart in mind. Hart was half of one of Broadway's most successful songwriting teams and had written a song entitled "A Cat May Look at a Queen," although only part of the song ever saw the light of day. Bossa nova influences reach their peak on "Love's Got a Ghetto," while Bruno's vocals dance atop wurtlitzer, bass, and cello on "Two Purple Shadows." The disc ends with the piano-laced "Blue's the Only Color," the only solo track on perhaps the most collaborative Franklin Bruno solo efforts to date. Guitarist Joey Burns, bassist Daniel Brodo, and drummer Tommy Larkins backed up Bruno on most of the tracks. Nothing Painted Blue drummer Kyle Brodie guests on percussion on two tracks, and Amy Domingues adds cello. Most of the album was recorded with Craig Schumacher at Wavelabe Studios in Tucson, AZ. The rest was recorded with David Trumfio of the Pulsars at Kingsize Sound Labs in Los Angeles. Berkeley, CA's Absolutely Kosher Records released the disc in September 2002.


Genre: Pop

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Musician, journalist and philosophy teacher Franklin Bruno first emerged in 1987 as the singer/guitarist for the prolific Los Angeles-based indie rock trio Nothing Paint Blue, winning wide acclaim for his relentlessly clever and verbose lyrics. Bruno co-founded the group while attending Pomona College, and in the years to follow their recording and touring activities were restricted by his graduate philosophy studies at Claremont College and subsequent teaching gig at UCLA; the first Nothing Painted...
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A Cat May Look at a Queen, Franklin Bruno
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