A decade in the making, Naked Son, the self-released debut from American singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Marc Bryant, combines such diverse influences as King's X, Lenny Kravitz, Kiss, Stone Temple Pilots, The Smithereens and (yikes!) Night Ranger and Rick Springfield to create one of the most satisfying CDs I've heard in a long time. That's no exaggeration. There is not a dud on this disc.
With a voice alternately sounding like Doug Pinnick (King's X), Paul Stanley (Kiss) and Tommy Shaw (Styx), Bryant injects each of these 10 tracks – there are also two brief instrumentals and a spoken-word passage – with emotion and class. The oldest of these songs, the mid-tempo harmony-laden "Going Down," dates back to 1993, with the majority of them written between 1994 and 1998. Yet they don't sound dated. Even the Night Ranger and Damn Yankees influences on the ballad "Farewells," the Dokken-like bridge on "Soul Searchin'," the Eighties-era Kiss chorus on "Won't Play the Fool" and Bryant's bluesy David Coverdale wails on "Take Me Home" retain their freshness. "Feel" is the album's most contemporary track, sort of like Rick Springfield meets Butch Walker via Cheap Trick, and it could garner some radio play if a programmer actually has the balls to spin something from an independent artist.
Bryant uses a handful of tight session players and the vocal assistance of drummer Chad Wedlake on Naked Son to create an incredibly melodic, memorable, well-produced and organic-sounding record that – even at this early date – has already secured a place on my best-of-2003 list. I seldom come right out and write something so blatant, but buy this record.