Review: “All the Color Green”
By Sam Payne
October 2, 2006
What Peter Breinholt has achieved over the last dozen years is nothing short of miraculous. Ask most other musicians in the region what they would like to see happen in their careers, and they’ll likely say, “I want what Breinholt’s got.” Consider this: Breinholt has been able to establish himself as a pillar of the regional music scene based on a handful of annual appearances that grow in popularity with every passing year. And while he works as hard as anyone in the business, he manages to do it without extensive touring, and is (astonishingly) able to sleep most nights in his own bed. Compare that to the general formula for building a fan base and selling records-a formula that includes long stints on the road and a lot of scrapping for any one-horse gig that comes along, all (more often than not) while holding down a day job.
So what makes Breinholt different? When you ask him, he is quick to shrug his shoulders and say simply that God has been good to him. Fans might agree, but they will also point to his stage shows-big, fat, lively acoustic wonders featuring the regions finest players (players that often include two of Color Country’s own: banjo/ mandolinist Ryan Tilby and drummer Steve Flaig). On stage, Breinholt himself acts as gracious ringmaster, the center of a great, lovely storm of stories and sound. In the face of such rollicking good-natured acoustic generosity, fans go bonkers (along with their parents and their kids. Breinholt’s appeal is multi-generational).
But to speak only of Breinholt’s live shows is to miss half the story. There are, of course, recordings-recordings that keeps selling and selling. Scores of thousands of Breinholt records have left the shelves, and there has been no lull during the seven-year drought between 1999′s “Deep Summer” and the present. Enter “All the Color Green, ” a brand spanking new, honest-to-goodness Peter Breinholt studio album. The album was released over two September weekends of sold-out houses at the Sundance Amphitheater (the twenty-first, twenty-second, and twenty-third of as many shows he has played there, establishing Breinholt’s autumnal Sundance appearances as among the most sturdy of the regions musical traditions). It’s quite an album. Anyone familiar with Breinholt’s vibe will find a lot to enjoy here-heavy investment in big neo-folk grooves, with Breinholt’s clear voice sharing center-stage with his articulate and confident acoustic guitar work. But “All the Color Green” distinguishes itself nicely from its siblings, due in part to the album’s remarkable production. Here, Breinholt (together with producer Scott Wiley) manages to flower many of these folk melodies up from gentle circular guitar figures to big fluid walls of sound. And just when the sound seems good and thick, Breinholt and Wiley lift the roof even higher, ramping up clear, bright mixes of conversational tunes into grand and rolling folk explosions. Lyrically, Breinholt has always had a flair for the cryptic-poetic images peeking up from his train-of-thought word soup like fishes breaking the surface of a silver pond. This album is no exception to that rule (in fact, it invests more deeply in it than do his previous albums). Some fans will be content to let the stuff wash over them in nonsensical glory. Others will find plenty of code to break-plenty of treasure to dig.
If you’re already a Breinholt fan, you’ll slip into “All the Color Green” like an old, comfortable jacket. And just when you’re as delighted as you ever expected you’d be, you’ll find more-like discovering a forgotten twenty-dollar bill in an old pocket. If you’re not already a member of the Breinholt family of fans, “All the Color Green” is a better reason than ever to introduce yourself.
Just Plain Folk
Deseret News Front Page Feature, Sunday, April 27, 2003
Breinholt’s Annual Show A Fan-Friendly Delight
The Daily Herald, Wednesday, September 13, 2006
Breinholt’s Favorite Role is Songwriter
Deseret News, Friday, September 8, 2006