When My Solstice called it a day and its members went separate ways, it came as a surprise to some. After all, the band had won the ABoT Music award for "Band of the Year," released its third CD (Persistence of Vision) and landed on the cover of Urban Tulsa. Even bigger things were brewing in the background, however, that the band couldn't discuss at the time.
As fate would have it, the band played a handful of shows around the release of the new CD and quietly closed up shop as bassist Tom Pritner moved on to RL Jones; guitarist Dustin Howard started his own project, King Cobra, and drummer Nate Lindley played with a handful of other artists.
The biggest move, however, came quietly as lead singer Brandon Davis departed for Los Angeles, accepting the position of lead singer in The Accident Experiment, a side project of Marcos Curiel, lead guitarist for P.O.D. After auditioning in the spring, Davis got the call and headed west for his biggest challenge to date. Writing began almost immediately and the band started picking up live dates, honing its new lineup while recording twelve songs for its debut.
All the while, P.O.D. continued playing shows and Curiel split his time, going back and forth between projects with an eye towards a break where he could focus solely on The Accident Experiment. As fate would have it, Curiel got the call from P.O.D. indicating the band was ready to head to the studio to record a new album and hit the road in support, which put The Accident Experiment on the back burner.
Anyone who knows Davis, however, knows he's not one to sit back and wait. Always one on the move, he had continued to write and play his own material under the moniker Bravo Delta, even picking up acoustic gigs when back in Tulsa. With The Accident Experiment on indefinite hold, however, he was able to dive headlong into his own material and emerged earlier this year with a debut EP, Sunset Wasteland, and his own band.
In a solo acoustic format, the songs are purely Davis: unfettered and unfiltered. In the past, Davis' lyrics have been overshadowed at times by the power of the music surrounding it. That's a shame, because his gift has always been in wrapping reflective, thought provoking and insightful lyrics inside a hard rock package -- a major part of what lifted My Solstice above its peers. When built form the ground up, however, Davis lyrics are up front and center, even when the songs have been built out with a full band arrangement.
When I got an advance of the EP from Davis in late January, it was just what I'd been waiting to hear. After an absence of more than 2 years, one of my favorite rock voices was back, albeit in a different project and format than I had expected. That might be all the better, however, as Davis truly shines here and the EP carries his distinct signature in every aspect: lyrics, melodies, vocals and even the arrangements.
When discussing the disc with Davis last week, he said "You know, I've been working up songs under the Bravo Delta name for a long time and playing them acoustic. Now, with a full band, these songs really came to fruition in the way that I heard them in my head when I started writing."
The key to that is a band that includes Tulsa native Andy Ingraham on guitar, Ryan Flores on bass and Scott Decker on drums. With the songs already written and arranged by Davis, the band came together in a twist of fate.
Ryan Flores is also bassist in The Accident Experiment and has become one of Davis' closest friends in the band. Over the course of time, Davis had shown him a few of his songs and eventually asked him if he'd be interested in filling in on bass until he found a full time player. The two were in agreement until Davis called him to help record the songs.
After sending him the demos and arrangements, Davis shared that Flores called him back the same day saying "I'm in" and became an official member of the band.
Decker is originally from Mississippi, but Davis met him while playing around Los Angeles with Decker looking for another gig. The two immediately hit it off and "He got what I was trying to convey and is just a really nice guy," Davis said, making it a natural fit.
Finally, the addition on Andy Ingraham makes the band complete. Davis and Ingraham had crossed paths for years in Tulsa, with Ingraham even playing periodically in Mercy Street and Dr. Squealsgood. Once Ingraham moved to Los Angeles, however, he was natural fit for Bravo Delta.
"The truth is, Andy has been in Tulsa's music scene for ten years, but people didn't give him a chance because they either stereotyped him as a metal player or were kind of intimidated by him," Davis said. "He played in First Lady Assassins and Mercy Street fir a little bit, but he just never really got a break in Tulsa. I just approached him about playing a show and jamming and what he came up with was very cool and added a new dynamic to the songs. And as a guitar player, he pushes me to be better."
Ultimately, Davis conceded that that band lineup just fell into place as all the pieces and players came together and that comes through on the disc. Although the recordings are a band effort, Davis' personality is the one that comes through in the songs, with his sense of melody standing front and center. "Rainfall" is the most obvious example, built primarily around an acoustic set that showcases Davis' vocals and songwriting skills.
The additional band arrangements, however, only accentuate those songwriting chops on tracks like "The Product" and "Already Gone" and "Not Enough." "Already Gone," in particular, proves a near perfect showcase of what Davis has to offer with this project. Although it opens with a snarling guitar riff that places it squarely in the commercial modern rock arena, the song truly opens up with a soaring chorus that showcases great melodic and vocal chops.
Clocking in at less than 20 minutes with five songs, the EP serves as a great introduction to Bravo Delta and leaves the listener wanting more. It's a disc that bears repeated plays and opens up more with each listen. When discussing the immediacy of the disc, Davis admitted that he had twelve songs, but "I wanted to do something short for the debut, so I picked the strongest songs."
Right now, however, Davis is focusing on pushing Sunset Wasteland and seeing how far he can get with the debut. The disc has already started to build, gaining airplay on a dozen internet stations, Pandora and XM/Sirius' Octane channel as well as a few terrestrial radio stations.
Davis is also taking Bravo Delta out on the road to support the disc this summer. The first trek for the band takes the group through 10 cities in nine states, including a homecoming show for Davis and Ingraham this Saturday night, June 23, at Eclipse. Bravo delta will be co-headlining with Nothing More for an all-ages show that includes openers Sleepwalking Home and Absence of Ink. Doors open at 8pm for the 8:30pm show and tickets are $8 in advance or $10 at the door.
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