Brandyn Cross is at the top of his game in his new single, “If Money Talks (It Ain’t on Speakin’ Terms With Me)” co-written by Daryl Stevenett. The indie rock/country selection is a fine chapter in the long, winding road that Cross has endured. The published author, actor, filmmaker and one time runway model, focused on his health and recovery for five years. His latest single, part comeback and part never leaving music behind, has all the right makings for a song that will withstand time.
Cross gained a Nashville Song Festival Award for his clever song “Dolly Parton’s Got The Biggest Hit in Nashville”. His former band, Whiskey Rose, gained national momentum with their hits “Don’t Do Me Wrong” and “Blue Moon Over Heaven”. It wasn’t meant to be – a devastating train accident caused Cross to lose one of his legs. For five years his full-time job meant healing and rehabilitating. It’s clear the music and the art has never left his side. “If Money Talks” has a special way of connecting to the listener; it’s like having a cup of coffee with a longtime friend.
Paving the way for the singing conversation, is a gorgeous guitar bed. Electrical and amber, the guitar waves light up the song. It’s very country/twangy. A violin and an almost invisible (perhaps Hammond B?) organ embellish the music bed even more so. The drumming and the bass rhythms are clicking on all cylinders. The tempo is like a fine lager, not too fast, not too slow. It’s brewed to the right beats. It swarms the listener into a full-sounding, country-ranch fashioned environment. Crisp and melodic, the orchestration surrounding Cross’ weathered vocals is a beautiful concoction. I can hear droplets of bluesy, swampy tones, too. Cross keeps you guessing and moving in his wonderous music bed.
Cross’ vocals, especially during the chorus (if money talks, it ain’t speakin’ much to me; also varied to if money talks, it ain’t on speakin’ terms to me), offer a glimpse of a man cut from the same cloth as Kris Kristofferson, Leonard Cohen, Gordon Lightfoot and Tom Waits. Cross doesn’t use any bells and whistles. His genuineness is genius. Whatever I try to do, it just don’t pay…seems what I am is what am is all I’ll ever be, a working man’s still in prison, and the banker holds the key, he sings. It’s easy to hum along to his quiet wisdom, his stoic presence. The song ends with the same musicianship and finely-wrapped sonic present. Then, just with a few bars left Cross says can you spare a dime? A little humor, yes, but it’s already a highly entertaining tune. I think the last bit further proves his gregariousness and his approachability.
Overall, “If Money Talks (It Ain’t Sayin’ Much to Me)” should and will find its place in many playlists. It’s a nice song to nestle into, it feels snug pretty quickly. Cross is a calming presence. I could sit and listen to him sing for hours and not have a care in the world. Except for money. I’d still need money.