Words by Sara Button | Image by Shaina Sheaff

Earlier this summer Brent Best took the stage of Dan’s Silverleaf to celebrate his first ever solo album, “Your Dog, Champ.” The show sold out and the newly remodeled venue was soon packed to capacity, with a sea of sweaty, music loving bodies as far as the eye could see. Local songwriter Daniel Markham opened for the revered Best, boasting a crowd of passionate fans singing along to nearly every word.

During Best’s set I realized two things: this music is extremely heart-rending and it was almost unbearably hot inside the venue. His music was emotional and raw. The story that goes behind it is even more so. Despite the heat, patrons watched on with copious regard.

After a grueling five years, the singer of well known Americana band, Slobberbone has a very real thing to show for his time spent. Best is a remarkable storyteller and his album tells a story of a pained soul, one that is deep, fervent, and caring. A handful of local musicians make accompaniment appearances throughout, including some of Denton’s favorites: Petra Kelly, Grady Don Sandlin, and Claude Bernard.

His voice is one that stays with you for a while. The melancholy lyrics coming from a grown man’s grainy voice, sharing intimate stories of his personal life – that hits a little harder. The song that sticks with me the most is “It Is You.” The slow, heart-felt ballad possess a feeling of ardent love. The doleful harmony of Best’s harmonica blends perfectly into the sadness of the lyrics, creating a rich darkness every time the song comes on. Despite the feeling of darkness, though, the song leaves me feeling hopeful.

“Is there a place down the line where we won’t suffer for things left unsaid. Is there a trace left in time to serve as buffer for what lies ahead. Shiny new out of wreckage pass. An opportunity to love at last. Something true.”

Each song narrates a different but related story. The album is worth the listen, if you have not yet had the pleasure. You could feel his distress during the set, keeping eye on his tired brow whilst he performed song after song. In fact, each time one of the songs from “You Dog, Champ” appears on one of my playlists, a heaviness sets in my body.

Although Best does not plan on touring this solo album in any great extent, I’m sure you’ll be able to catch him here and there. Hell, you can get this on vinyl at Amazon for $13. That’s insane, right? Don’t do that. Go buy it at your local record store, folks. Mad World Records and Recycled Books in Denton is likely to have both CD’s and vinyl in stock. However you choose to support your local artists, it is appreciated.

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