Bret Mosley will bring his trademark dobro and “stomp-board” to Albany tonight for a performance at 340 A Creative Group. Evan Barber will open the performance with a solo set. (Special photo)
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Bret Mosley, a solo performer so gifted at his musical craft he’s been described as a “one-man power duo,” is wearing a lot of hats these days. After opening his Out of the Park record label, Mosley has served as his own A&R rep-promoter-publicity department-business manager-booking agent as he’s furiously worked to put the finishing touches on his latest album, “X-ING,” due for release Oct. 29.
Not that the Texas-born, Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter is complaining.
“Yeah, I’ve put in quite a few 18-hour days the last few weeks,” Mosley, who will appear in Albany tonight at 340: A Creative Group, said in a phone conversation from a family-owned property in Huntsville that has become something of a Southern base for him. “There’s a fine line between being in control of every aspect of a project like this and doing so much you burn yourself out. I have a head for business and promotions, though, and I know enough tech stuff to work the social media.
“It’s a ton of work, but I’m glad I’m getting to use my own record to go through the learning curve. If I do someone else’s record down the road, I’ll have this down.”
Despite his newfound status as a music auteur, Mosley’s not scrimping on what really matters: the music he’s been creating since he was 6 years old.
“I took a little break from touring to work on finishing and promoting the album, but I’ve done a few select shows lately,” he said. “I’ve about reached the point where I’m ready to just forget about all the other stuff and sit on a stage and play. It’s not just the record-label stuff, I also usually do all my own driving and am my own technician, tour manager and roadie.
“Doing the label is a big bite, but I think my next big milestone would be getting someone to drive my vehicle. Since May, I’ve put 25,000 miles on my vehicle, and I drove every one of them.”
Mosley, who has been playing music as far back as he can remember, broke onto the regional/national scene in 2007 with the release of his debut album “Light & Blood.” He recorded “Charge” with Jerry Joseph and Steve Drizo in 2008, and has essentially spent the last five years on one long, continuous road trip.
“X-ING” is not the kind of album Mosley fans have come to expect, but it answers a need that many have expressed.
“A lot of my recorded stuff is more folky, laid-back, but my stage show generally rocks,” he said. “I wanted to put an album in people’s hands that was just like the show they’d seen when I played live. There’s a lot more rock and funk to go along with the tender ballads on this new record.”
Mosley said “X-ING” includes mostly originals but has four “uncovers” of other writers’ songs.
“I had a friend who asked me to do my own kind of version of the GoGos’ ‘Vacation’ for a film project she was working on tell me ‘You don’t do covers, you do uncovers,’” Mosley laughed. “I do tend to put my own spin on other people’s songs to the point that some listeners may be well into the song before they say, ‘Hey, I know that.’”
Included on “X-ING” are Mosley’s unique takes on David Bowie’s “Modern Love” and Prince’s “I Would Die 4 U.”
The idea for “X-ING” came to Mosley as he was crossing into Colorado from New Mexico.
“Just across the state line there was a stretch where I came upon a sign that said ‘Deer X-ing,’ and then a short ways up the road there was one that said ‘Elk X-ing’ and then, in quick order, ‘Bear X-ing’ and ‘Cougar X-ing,’” the singer laughed. “That kind of stuck in my mind. I did the album art, and it’s just a picture of me with my braids that have kind of become my signature — like Willie Nelson — and an ‘X-ing’ sign. It’s a Bret Crossing.
“But I recorded the album over the last two years on the road, and it’s kind of about where I am at this point in the game. I guess I really am at my own crossing.”
Mosley said he met and befriended Albany musician Evan Barber while the local artist was touring in Colorado with his band, the Dead Gamblers. They formed a bond that has brought Mosley to Southwest Georgia for shows including the Briar Patch Festival and now for the solo performance tonight at 340.
“One of the best things about touring in the South has been connecting with the 340 guys — Evan, Jebb Tabb and Justin Andrews,” Mosley said. “I’d tried to establish myself in Georgia in Athens and Atlanta, but it wasn’t until I played at the 340 Group and was introduced to the creative wealth down there that I felt welcome.
“There’s a rich little enclave of talent in y’all’s area, and I feel like a part of it now. I know I always have a place to play there, and that’s a really comforting feeling for an artist.”
Mosley’s 340 show will be a solo performance, but he said he “usually ends up playing with Evan, Jebb or some other local musicians” when he plays at the venue. Doors open at 9 p.m., and Barber will open with solo selection from his band’s forthcoming album. Tickets are $10.
Mosley said he will have advance copies of “X-ING” available at the performance.