Album Review: Brian Koenigsknecht’s ‘Healing Bridge’

. July 23, 2020.
Image courtesy of Fran Dwight

Let’s ask two questions: What does music truly mean to you, in your life? And when’s the last time you had a good cry? We mean that really good type of cry, the cathartic cry, the one that makes you feel more alive, once the tears are dried. And when it comes to the value we place upon the music we listen to, the music we make, the music we share, it can equate to the same kind of holistic invigoration that a good cry brings. Singer/songwriter Brian Koenigsknecht is offering a shift of focus — to take our regard of music to a deeper level, where it’s recognized as a bonding agent, a ceremony of the love that enriches our relationship, an expression of enduring memories. That’s what you’ll find on the radiant and very personal new album from the Kalamazoo-based songwriter: Healing Bridges.

We are all missing the affinity and amity of being in the company of a good friend — but with this spare batch of acoustic ballads, the poignant, richly-raspy melodies of Koenigsknecht will elicit a similar sense of instantaneous familiarity and relatability. Often delivered in a slow, swaying cadence, these heart-on-the-sleeve odes are potent enough to make any listener stop in their tracks, block out the noise and stress of the world, and just listen — listen deeply, listen sincerely. Because these songs are revelatory in a very vulnerable way.

Album Art by Brian Koenigsknecht

Koenigsknecht recently lost his father, which brings us back to music helping us bond. Music was integral to their relationship. It might be overwhelming to any of us who cry easily, but the instrument you hear resonating throughout these eight songs is the very same 1976 Guild D-50 that Koenigsknecht’s father utilized decades ago to teach a 9-year-old version of our songwriter how to play the guitar. With this album, Koenigsknecht demonstrates how music can genuinely be a portal, not even to the past, but also to beyond the veil — a means of sustaining connections to people and places that influence us, shape us, and retain profound significance forever in our hearts and memories.

If we haven’t gotten the point across quite yet — these songs are simultaneously heavy and burden-lifting at the same time! Yes, there is a lot of emotion coated onto the words as well as the instrumental performances, but the intent, the destination, is healing! At points, you feel like you’re almost sitting over the shoulder of the singer, looking at sepia-toned scrapbooks and photo galleries. But that’s what this album proves — that music can be so intimate it can be transcendent. Not only to help you bond with a voice and a musician that you may not have met, but to understand his journey and apply his sentiments to your own struggles. The destination, once again, is toward healing.

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