Joe Brucato returns to the spotlight with ‘Number 44’ 

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Joe Brucato hangs with a celebrated crowd. The singer-songwriter’s father, Chuck Brucato, is a member of the Rochester Music Hall of Fame. Joe frequently works with industry heavyweights such as Tony Levin, Steve Gadd, Will Lee, and Jamie Lawrence. Brucato’s high school friend Dennis Casey is Flogging Molly’s guitarist. While Brucato has been fortunate to collaborate with these musicians, such performers also keep coming back for more.

On Brucato’s new album, “Number 44,” he christens his band JB & Joyous Noise. Released on Nov. 19 as digital files on a USB flash drive, the album features his dedicated group consisting of drummer Levi Bennett, Mark Terranova on bass, and guitarist Kire Najdovski, along with guest appearances by Gadd on drums and Levin on bass. This album could be considered his best work to date.

Brucato’s 1999 debut album had earned him a Los Angeles Music Award for male singer-songwriter of the year, setting off a chain reaction that placed his music on TV shows such as “Party of Five” and “The Young and the Restless.” “Number 44” does one better in terms of the quality of the material, and puts him back on the radar again.

The music is certainly cohesive, with a connection to classic rock at times. Brucato’s sense of melody and rhythm, along with timely lyrics, demonstrate his skill as a songwriter. The songs are genuine and simple, containing a subtle amount of space and sophistication that allows the musicians to flesh out the tunes.

Joyous Noise provides tight and energetic support behind Brucato, who is one of the finest vocalists to emerge locally. His powerful voice blends in perfectly on such songs as “Love You All Over” and “Pick Up My Guitar and Play.”

There are also sublime instrumental moments, such as Levin’s counter-melody at the beginning of “Will This World Ever Know Peace,” and Kire Najdovski’s elevating guitar solo, reminiscent of Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour, on “Scary Times.” The opening riff on “Finger to the Blue Sky” channels a psychedelic desert. On an album with several standouts, “You Make Me Smile” is among the best.

"Number 44" is available on a USB drive only and can be purchased by contacting Joe Brucato at [email protected].

Roman Divezur is a freelance writer for CITY. Feedback on this article can be directed to [email protected].
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