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Brian Hartzog's Bio

Brian Hartzog is really making things happen with his second full-length CD release, One-Way Ticket. After playing all the instruments and singing all the parts on his debut disc (The Smashing of Pictures), Hartzog turned his attention to control room where, on this release, he decided to engineer the tracks from his bedroom studio. He enlisted the help of a few of Charlotte's top-notch musicians to give the record a more "live" feel--most notably, Doug Albritton on drums, Angelo Melendez (bass on "Daily Grind") and the Grease Spot horn section (John Thornton, John Alexander, and Matt Yarborough). Hartzog also called in Grammy-winning studio pro Mark Williams (R.E.M., Southern Culture on the Skids, Don Dixon, Mitch Easter, etc.) for a couple of sessions.

The songs on One-Way Ticket are a unique blend of classic rock (the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, and Bob Dylan) mixed with funk (Prince, Parliament, and James Brown). Hartzog calls his sound "funk and roll". On first listen, you may think of the music as "alternative"--much like some strange mixture of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and early David Bowie. But, after a few tracks, you begin to realize that Hartzog has now truly developed his own sound--you'll notice how sophisticated the lyrics are, and how the grooving Lenny Kravitz-style guitars now underpin some highly memorable melodies.

There are not really too many weak spots on this record (personally, I could do without "In From the Metro")...and the real standout songs are "Christmas in July", which sounds like the kind of music Prince should be making; "Motha Funky", a P-funk influenced funk jam with a fine touch of "deep-fried" southern flavor; and "Fast Girl in a Pretty Car", a rockabilly punk guitar song about a fast car driven by an even faster girl.

Listen to Brian's music now!

Everyone I've played this disc for seems to find a lot to like. It really seems to connect in a way Hartzog's first disc shied away from. In addition to the "funk and roll" that sets the course for this disc, I also hear traces of spoken word poetry (like at the end of "In From the Metro"), highly anti-corporate neo-punk rock ("Daily Grind"); folk-rock ("Amy's Run Away"), New Orleans drumline ("Make a Little Room for Me") and even a hint of P-funk ("Motha Funky").

Hartzog says his goal with this disc is to sell 5,000 of them in hopes of upgrading his home studio for his third release. He posts his decidedly “indie” musical plan on his website. If you're interested in his full "Manifesto" you can check it out at It’s kinda cool that it only takes a few thousand discs for an indie artist to be happy--especially in these days where a major label artist can sell 200,000 CDs and end up bankrupt and contractless.

For me, this is the kind of independent artist I search through the CD bins hoping to discover...and once I do, I always end up trapping my friends in the car with me so they'll be forced to hear it. Once you discover a quality indie artist like Brian Hartzog who's still making and releasing music on his own terms, it'll give you the energy to keep on digging through that CD bin--whether that means at the back of a mom and pop CD store or on some corner of the Internet. One-Way Ticket, indeed...Happy travels!

Listen to Brian's music now!