Bryan Fenkart: Simple & Grey

Bryan Fenkart appears to be a triple threat: a writer, actor and a musician. While working on his second album, Simple & Grey, he also starred in the Tony Award-winning musical, Memphis. On his debut release, he spoke of everyday struggles and holding true to his values. This time he digs deeper into life and the problems that come with it.

The first track, “Ok,” is just that. It doesn’t exactly ignite the spark needed to give the rest of the album a listen. While the song is upbeat, it doesn’t fulfill its duties as the opener. “New World,” the third track, should take its place. With soaring instrumentals and soulful harmonies, the addition of backup vocals by Parry Adams is fitting. The sandwiching songs “Fireburn” and “Simple & Grey” don’t stand up to the quality of “New World.”

Halfway through, “Middle Man” brightens things up with a banjo-filled, tap-your-foot beat with relatable lyrics about relationship troubles. The next song, “Light Years Away,” has a Broadway ballad feel to it, which is no surprise considering his passion for the theater. The music and lyrics are plain, and in turn, not very interesting. This is one to skip over unlike the next song, “Let Me Go.” Fenkart talks of life’s trials and what it’s like to really live, without self-doubt. He manages to become tremendously likeable without giving away too much of himself.

The closing effort, “Road To Avalon” is a slight disappointment. Fenkart sings, “Why do I always drive so fast when it snows/And I’m slippin’ and slidin’…” His attempt at a strong closer falls short, lyrically and musically. The piano is too minimal to create interest, and there aren’t any other instruments used. Sometimes simple isn’t best. Overall, his sophomore release seems a bit basic, with the few exceptions.

In A Word: Ordinary