Brian Paddock began writing lyrics long before he ever picked up a guitar.
In 2010, when he was 30 years old, Paddock’s wife encouraged him to take his writing more seriously. Paddock learned how to play guitar and started trying to sing all the things he’d been writing. Four years later, Paddock co-founded the rock ‘n’ roll band Shimmy and the Burns - “Shimmy” being a nickname Paddock earned in college (it’s OK to ask him about it) and “Burns” being the bushy sideburns of the band’s co-founder.
Based in Knoxville, Tenn., the band earned a good reputation over the next few years, touring the Southeast and recording two critically-lauded full-length albums. Still, there was something missing. Paddock had a stack of songs that needed a quieter, more subtle musical home. To that end, he recorded the EP “Villains,” which Blank News praised as “a major introspective psychological whallop,” and began working on a full-length album. That disc, “Under New Management,” due for release later this summer, realizes the promise that the EP hinted at.
In his characteristically gruff voice, Paddock delivers 11 songs where the lyrics aren’t in such competition with the music to be heard. It’s sweet. It’s honest. And, featuring acoustic-heavy arrangements played by some of Knoxville’s A-list musicians, the music flows easy. The title cut name checks John Prine song characters in a thoughtful rumination on modern life.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t a couple of rockers. When Paddock sings “I drink poison, ‘cause I like the taste,” you know it’s not going to be a soundtrack to a church picnic.
“Under New Management” isn’t going to shock Paddock’s longtime fans. More likely, they’re going to love him even more. If you haven’t heard him, take a little extra time to let the songs sink in. You won’t regret it.
-Wayne Bledsoe, Grammy Nominated Music Journalist and Host of WDVX Radio's “All Over the Road” and “Six O’Clock Swerve”