Oftentimes,thebestwaytomoveforwardistotakeastepback.Pumpthebrakes,takeabreath,focusandcontemplatethebiggerpicture.Takeinventoryofyourselfandwhere you came from. Tap into that raw essence to fully discover the pathway forward.AseasonedtroubadourfromdownSouthwithadense,rich,andcolorfullifeexperience,RexBrownisfargreaterthanthesumtotalofhisalreadyimpressivediscographyasit’sbeenlaiddown.Steppingoutasafrontmanforthefirsttime,Rexreintroduces himself to the world on his barn-burning debut solo album, ​Smoke On This​.Brownwieldsasix-stringguitarasconfidentlyasheworethebassinPanteraandDown.Hisengagingvoicecrackleswitheasygoingspiritandtruth-tellingpower.It’sacrunchydrawlthat’sdown-to-earth,grippinglyrelatable,charminglywelcoming,andgritty,somewherebetweentheachinglyresonantspiritualshamanismofTomWaitsandtheinstantly recognizable everyman AM radio vibes of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.Thisisguitar-slingingold-schoolrock,withanodtotheseventiesandafirmgrasponthefuture,thekindofsongsevocativeofabeat-uptruckwiththewindowsdownandits eight-track player cranked up, or the soundtrack to a quiet night in with a can of PBR.Afteraseasonawaytogatherhiswitsabouthim,rediscoverhisownroots,andassembleagroupofplayersreadytohelphimexecutehisvisionforthedaysahead,RexBrownreemergeswithasemitruck’sworthofrockn’rolltunesashonestandsincereastheycome.​SmokeOnThisisthesoundoftheman’sowntruth,forthrightandego-free.As he likes to say, “You’re only as good as your word and your word better be good.”WhoisRexBrown?Totheindustry,fellowmusicians,andalegionoffansaroundtheworld,he’sthebassistforPantera,oneofthebiggesthardrockandmetalactsofthepastfewdecades,alongsideNirvanaandMetallica.TheyhadNumberOnealbumswith
minimalsupportfromtraditionalcommercialoutletsandwentplatinumseveraltimesover.Panterarodeagroundswellofundergroundloyalty,earnedthroughseveralyearsofblood,sweat,androadbeers.Fivemajorlabelalbums,countlessinternationaltours,andaseriesofcarnage-filledhomevideoscementedalegacyaslargeastheirmassiveriffs and the band’s insatiable appetites for mayhem, authenticity, and brotherhood.Asdocumentedwithstarkhonestyandemotionalcourageinthepagesofhismemoir,101Truth,101Proof:TheInsideStoryofPantera​,BrownandhisTexasbrethrenforgedauniquemusicalidentitycomprisedofbottom-heavyrhythms,fearlessguitarhistrionicsandblunt-forcesavagery,ablueprintthat’sbeenfollowedbynearlyeverysinglemetalactthatformedintheirwake.LateleadguitarplayerDarrell“Dimebag”Abbottisrightlyimmortalizedasagood-natured,guitar-shreddinglegend.RexalsoworkedalongsidePanterafrontmanPhilipH.AnselmoinDown,issuingthreefull-lengthalbumsexpandedandenhancedbymoodygroovesandstonerifficdoom,layeringahazydown-tunedsmokeallovertheirSouthernmetal.In2011,heformedthesupergroupKillDevilHill,together with Vinny Appice, drummer for the late Ronnie James Dio and Black Sabbath.Butthere’smoreofthestorytobetold.Brown’sdecisiontothrowcautiontothewindandseewhereitcarrieshim,withthisnewmusicalventure,createsabroadcanvassfornewfoundself-expression.ThemanwhojoinedPanterain1982andhelpedmovethousandsofcassettesandLPsfromthebackofcartrunksintheparkinglotsofsmokyclubs,beforetherestoftheworlddiscoveredtheCowboysfromHell,isforemostagoodole’boyfromasmalltown.HewasdeeplymovedbytheBeatles,Stones,andElvis,thankstohisoldersister,andhappilyconfessestobeing“thebiggestZeppelinfanintheworld.”Hisconnectiontoeverythingthatwaskillerabouttheseventies,fromSouthern-friedFloridianrockersBlackfoottoEnglishslide-guitarmastersFoghat,isnothingshortofpersonalandelectric.Ashe’llattest:“IlistentoeverythingfromSinatrato Slayer.”
Rex’ssoloalbumisfullofmojoandtheforceofcharacter,determination,andnerve.Hetrackedleadvocals,rhythmguitars,andbass,workingwithhisprimarycollaboratorandoldfriend,LanceHarvill,aNashville-basedguitaristandsongwriter,onthealbum’ssongs.“Lancewas&is,mymainmanonthis.Everythingwedidwasfinelytuned,bothmusically & brotherly.”DrumsweretrackedbyChristopherWilliams,himselfnostrangertodiversetastes,fromfunkmusictopunk.HistalenthasbeenutilizedbycountrymusicstarLeeGreenwood,thereconstitutedBlackfootandmostrecently,powermetallegendsAccept.ThealbumwasproducedbyNewYorkerturnedNashvilletransplantCalebSherman,amulti-instrumentalistwithworkonrecordsbyLittleBigTownandPorterBlock,amongothers.“Calebproducedtheprojectfromamusician’sstandpoint,”addsBrown.“Notjustatypicalproducer’sstandpoint,whichwassomethingIdefinitelyneeded.BetweenCalebandLance,wewereaforcetobereckonedwith.Theyreallypulledoutthebestinme.”PeterKeyes,knownforhisworkwithLynyrdSkynyrdcanalsobeheardonafewtracks.Brown’ssolodebutstripsawayanyboundariesandpreconceivednotions,revelinginanewfoundfreedomtoexpressallofthevariousshadesofthemanwhosenameisoutfront.Thesong“FaultLine”helpedhimfindhisvoice.“ThatwastheveryfirstoneIsang.AfterIgotthatone,IknewthatIcoulddoit,andLancewasmybiggestmotivatorin finding that voice. Up until that point I just wasn’t sure.”Fromthere,there’sthebrilliantlystraightforward“LoneRider,”themonstrous​InThroughtheOutDoorvibeof“CrossingLines,”thePinkFloydreverenceof“BestofMe.”“GetYourselfAlive”issomethingofanodeto“StrawberryFieldsForever,”butwithaswift-kickofrockn’roll.It’srichinnuance,withIndiantandooriandlayersofvocals.Theextremelycatchy“Grace”is“somethingyouwouldneverexpecttohearoffaRexBrownrecordandthat’sexactlywhyIdidit.It’sjustareallygreatsong,period.Bottom
line.”Lyrically,thesongsarebothpersonalanduniversallyrelatable.Thewholerecordisreallycathartic.”“WhatComesAroundGoesAround”couldbeabout“yourmailman,yourneighbor,oryourwife,”saysBrown.“It’ssaying,‘youmadeyourbed,layinit.I’mclean on my side of the street, how’s your’s going.”“Mymottothesedaysis‘Shakesomeshitup,’”Browndeclares.“I’vehadmyupsanddowns,likeanybodyinthisbusiness.Iwantedtofeellikeatrueartistagain,whereIcanwriteandrecordsongswithoutworryingaboutanyofthebullshit.We’renotgoingtonecessarilycatertometalfans,buttheguyswhogrewupwithPantera,alotofthemloveallthesamestuffthatIgrewupon,too.ThisisjustsomethingelseI’mdoingforfun,man.AndmusicalFreedom.FunhastocomeintoitorI’mnotgoingtodoit.I’vehadatremendouscareerandnowIfeellikeI’mthirtyyearsoldagain.Thishasgivenmethat freedom I needed.”“I’ve got so much more in me,” he enthuses. “I’m just getting my feet wet.”

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