Ears Wide Open: Brian Whelan
November 6, 2012
By Kevin Bronson

Brian Whelan makes everything sound so easy — crisp classic rock, tart-and-twangy country, bluesy swagger — that you’d think his first solo outing “Decider” just happened overnight. On the contrary. Whelan’s debut, finally out today via Three Moves Equals a Fire , is the culmination of four years’ work, done here and there as the singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist toiled as a side man for some of L.A.’s great talent. He has played (or is playing) with Dwight Yoakam, Chris Shiflett & the Dead Peasants, the Ross Flournoy-led indie bands the Broken West and Apex Manor, Mike Stinson, Randy Weeks, Tony Gilkyson, the Parson Red Heads, Ferraby Lionheart, Correatown and at least a half-dozen more. Stinson and Gilkyson songs turn up on “Decider,” and Flournoy is a co-writer on two as well, but what holds “Decider” together is Whelan’s confident voice — not just his vocals, but his presence, as a guy who knows his way around a song, and his heart, and the ground those two entities share.