It’s been a few weeks I guess since I featured some new music I’ve been into. This week I’m featuring three fairly new singer-songwriters in the library … two of whom share friends in common, two of whom went to CU Boulder … all three of whom are exceptional singer-songwriters in the best tradition of the style. All three albums equally should be well represented at community/public radio around the state. I really do expect to see them chart respectably… and to come up for regional music awards.
David James Band – Street Performer
Genre/Style: Rock, Pop, Adult Contemporary
RIYL: Ben Folds, Jamie Cullum, Elton John, Billy Joel, Chicago
Sampled Tracks: Street Performer, Midnight Hide & Seek, Alcohol.edu
Notes: count this one as among my picks for best self-written, arranged, and produced records of 2011 so far …. strong strong writing and arranging skills (something more BANDS to take notice of in every style of music). Equally strong are the individual performances of the core trio of David James (piano/vocals), Justin Francoeur (guitar), and Preston Smits (bass/vocals).
From the website: As a university trained classical pianist, David James brings a unique technicality to piano pop music. Striving to keep tunes both radio friendly and musically challenging, his group’s newest album “Street Performer” targets a wide variety of listeners by incorporating memorable melodies and jazz influenced harmony. The final track “Alcohol.edu” earned him the 2007 John Lennon Scholarship for Songwriters from The BMI Foundation, NY.
Free Album Download at: http://www.thedavidjamesband.com
Justin Roth – Now You Know Genre/Style: singer-songwriter, acoustic pop
RIYL: Michael Hedges, Crosby, Stills & Nash
Sampled Tracks: Out Of The Blue (The Orchard), The Last Time, Trembling Like A Train
Notes: It took me a while to really warm up to this record … simple as it may sound on first or second listens, the simplicity and subtlety belie an underlying sophistication that takes you by surprise and is genuinely breathtaking at times … a superbly done singer-songwriter/acoustic guitar album.
- Engineered and Produced by Justin Roth
- All Instruments and Vocals by Justin
- Mixed by Alex Oana
- Mastered by David Glasser at Airshow Mastering
AWARDS & RECOGNITION
- “Fans of Leo Kottke or Michael Hedges will find themselves right at home with the intricate guitar work…beautifully written lyrics.” – San Francisco Art Magazine
- 2007 Songwriter Showcase Honorable Mention – Rocky Mountain Folks Festival
- 2006 NewSong Honorable Mention – Mountain Stage NewSong Contest
- 2005 Best Songs Winner, “Shine” – Indie Acoustic Project
- 2005 New Folk Finalist – Kerrville Folk Festival
- 2005 Troubadour Honorable Mention – Telluride Bluegrass Fest
- 2004 New Folk Finalist – Kerrville Folk Festival
- 2004 Songwriter Showcase Honorable Mention – Rocky Mountain Folks Festival
- 2004 Troubadour Contest Alternate – Telluride Bluegrass Festival
- 2004 SMAF Songwriting Competition Finalist – Susquehanna Folk Festival
- 2003 Emerging Artist Showcase Finalist – Falcon Ridge Folk Festival
John Mieras – Painted Glass Genre/Style: singer-songwriter, acoustic rock/pop
RIYL: Paul Simon, David Gray
Sampled Tracks: Love & Rent, Yesterday (I Wish There Was A Way), Constellations
Notes: John was raised in Washington state and educated to be a musician, eventually moving to Colorado to pursue a MA in Choral music at the University of Colorado. Like his friend Justin Roth, he is friends with the duo Storyhill. Painted Glass , and produced by Chris Cunningham and recorded at Bascamp Studios in Bozeman, Montana. Like David James, he received his formal education at CU Boulder. I like John, especially his sensitivity about the world around him. Unlike the others, I’ve been able to spend some time getting to know John – and the way his music presents is in fact deeply reflective of how he sees his life, the world and his family. A very strong addition to the singer-songwriter collective here in Colorado.