Star Power: Alberta’s Jason Purcell (@jvpurcell) with “Modern Man” and covers of @lanadelrey and Gordon Lightfoot songs

https://soundcloud.com/nineninetymusic/modern-man

JASON PURCELL, “Modern Man”, with “West Coast” and “If You Could Read My Mind”

Alberta singer/songwriter Jason Purcell has got that unassailable ‘IT’, and I hope that the rest of the world will soon catch on!  

From his recent EP I Want To Know comes “Modern Man”, which showcases a voice that falls somewhere between Nick Drake, Joshua Radin, and Jakob Dylan, with classic overtones from 60’s pop/folk and 80’s alternative pop, if ever a Peter Murphy song met up with one by Simon & Garfunkel.  Jason’s taut “do not be alarmed” will stick around in your head long after the song is over.  

And like a good pop introduction should do (and I found out about Jason through the Fluence site on which I help curate some submissions), I had to hear more songs by Jason, so I listened to a few of many acoustic cover versions to choose from on You Tube.  When I saw that he covered my very favourite Gordon Lightfoot song, “If You Could Read My Mind”, I had to watch, even a tad reluctantly.  Slowing down Lightfoot’s jauntier melody, Jason draws you into every second of his rendition with his deliberate phrasing and how he plays to the camera.  Like one of my other recent favourite singers, UK’s James Poole, the camera absolutely adores Jason.  

This was made even more apparent in the more formally produced cover of Lana Del Rey’s “West Coast”.  I’m not in love with the song, but Jason’s interpretation gave me goosebumps.  Like with Lana, he has a vulnerable, fragile quality to his voice that totally suits the song.  Plus, he can raise an eyebrow, crack a smile, or stare you down, and you are totally sold.  

All in all, Jason Purcell is one you need to watch, and I look forward to new music from him soon!  Listen to “Modern Man” above, and watch the videos for “West Coast” and “If You Could Read My Mind” below.

Say Cheese: “Love Song” by Piper Hayes @PiperCanSing

PIPER HAYES, “Love Song”

As you will tell from the delightful scenic backdrop in the video, singer/songwriter Piper Hayes hails from my city, Toronto!  And the video, with its carefree and impromptu style, is out to set you off into a good time in its tribute to the “Love Song”.   Of course it all wouldn’t work without being a brief but terrific song – and it’s hard to write briefly and succinctly! – accompanied by a gleeful, fun vocal.  Piper’s voice can be added to the cadre of similar singers who’ve put out great records – Jann Arden, Colbie Caillat, Sara Bareilles (HER “Love Song” notwithstanding 😉 ).  Look for a full release coming very soon!

Seamless Style: @StacyClark’s New Album Symmetry

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STACY CLARK, Symmetry (album)

Buffalo NY native Stacy Clark has a classic pop voice that can move seamlessly through whatever style she chooses.  And she puts that to the test with her latest album Symmetry, which works well as an overall package despite starting off with 1/3 EDM pop and then moving to 2/3 singer/songwriter sometimes jazz-influenced folk/pop. Think of Sheryl Crow secretly wanting to perform EDM or Robyn tapping into folk/pop roots, with results as a fine companion to the latest by Regina Spektor and you have the idea.  “Figured It Out” is easily the best choice as a lead single from Symmetry, with an interesting video (below) with a twist to its story.  “Sign”, “Breathe”, and “Decimals and Music Notes” showcase Stacy’s songwriting skills and a more subdued style.  A bonus is having help from Plain White T’s Tom Higgenson on “Make A Move” and Jack’s Mannequin’s Andrew McMahon on “Everything’s Changing”.  Overall, Symmetry is a diverse 14 song record that deserves attention.  You can get it now on iTunes and listen to the songs through Harbour Recordings’ Soundcloud page.

Get To Know The @AutumnPortrait with “My Brother”

THE AUTUMN PORTRAIT, “My Brother”

There’s always a hopeful side to situations involving loss, and The Autumn Project’s latest single “My Brother” is about just that.  The accompanying video, beautifully shot by Ryan Nolan, shows carefree distractions through the eyes of children, and to me the underlying message is why adults can’t deal with loss in a similar way.  Unfortunately we’re too bound with responsibility and concern for others, and children deal with it differently, making you want to go back to that time when we didn’t understand so much.  The kids in the video do a fabulous job, and it thoroughly compliments the gentle acoustic song and its message from The Autumn Project (aka Toronto-based Freddie Mojallal).  “My Brother” is available as a single or as a part of Freddie’s album Tired Love on iTunes.

It Takes One Word: “Just Say Hello” by @LyonnUS

LYONN, “Just Say Hello”

I tipped you off to the joyous and sincere folk-oriented pop sounds of Knoxsville TN based Lyonn (aka singer/songwriter Tyler Gelrud) about a month ago, when I wrote about his EP Promenade.  The video for “Just Say Hello” was about to be shot, and has now arrived!  I must say that this absolutely adorable video pulls off probably everything that it wanted, especially for an independent effort.  It’s just a great, winning story about a guy trying every which way to catch the attention of a girl sitting and reading under a tree in a park in the centre of town.  Even with the help of his wingman and others, of course, it’s to no avail, until the magic answer of the story is revealed.  And even though we’ve known all along what that is, sometimes it’s how you get through the story that’s most interesting!  I guarantee you will smile and get caught up in “Just Say Hello”. Major score for Tyler and his Lyonn team 🙂  Promenade and “Just Say Hello” can be found for purchase on iTunes.

The Acoustic Treatment: “Hey Brother” by @Eurielle_Music and “Latch” by Nick Hagelin @NickIsTheTruth

From two terrific new talents, we have acoustic versions of songs which of course are best known as pop/dance club hits.

EURIELLE, “Hey Brother”

Hot on the heels of her enthralling “Carry Me” short film comes UK singer Eurielle showing off her piano prowess with her take on Avicii’s “Hey Brother”.  It’s a great choice to strip the busy production down to nothing and sing a song first sung by a man (Dan Tyminsky of Alison Krauss & Union Station).  It also shows what a fine song it is outside of the bluegrass-inspired original melody.  Sounding now more like a classical folk song,  it allows us to see Eurielle perform, nailing it with her outstanding voice.  And we’ll be hearing more of Eurielle when a full album or EP release comes our way later in the year.  Watch below.

NICK HAGELIN, “Latch”

“Latch” has already been covered loads of times since its original release mid-2012 as recorded by Disclosure and Sam Smith.  I love that original (which got to #1 on my personal chart) and when Nick Hagelin posted about his own acoustic guitar version, I knew it could be a perfect fit for him.  Recording another version of that song is made even more difficult by the fact that Sam Smith did his own quintessential stripped away version which first appeared on his Nirvana EP.  But Nick’s version is as solid as I would expect, performed live and outdoors, sealing the deal with his beautiful falsetto.  And Nick always lends his good humour to his videos, even when outside forces beyond his control are at play (watch below and see what I mean).  Writing about “Latch” is also a very good excuse indeed for me to refer you to Nick’s new and free EP City Lights, available from his website, featuring “Trust It” (currently #21 on my chart) and the fun “Finest Clothes In Town” (which got to #5 a while back).

You WILL Smile: “We’ve Got Love” by Australia’s @CalanMaiMusic

calanmai

CALAN MAI, “We’ve Got Love”

Calan Mai is the stage name for Australian entertainer Jordan Lawrence, and he’s taken the perfectly agreeable folk/pop of “We’ve Got Love” to an entirely different level with its video.  It’s a downright goofy, low budget (well except for the bit of animation, maybe) free-for-all that might remind you more of community theatre than a pop music video.  But a great time will be had by all, it will not only make you smile, but may cause fits of laughter as well.  Calan Mai has an album coming in August called Days Of The Rock Face (which hopefully will get worldwide release), and I have no idea if it will contain more songs with the whimsical good nature of “We’ve Got Love”.  But if you need that one thing to make you smile today, you will find it with Calan Mai’s “We’ve Got Love” video below.  And keep your eyes on the apple!!!

Engaging Quieter Side of Pop: “Promenade” (EP) by @LyonnUS

lyonn

LYONN, Promenade (EP)

Jason Mraz and Joshua Radin are two performers who have proven that they can succeed with great lyrics and melodies, even if their music is on the softer side of pop.  Well make room for Lyonn, otherwise known as Tyler Gelrud, who is based out of Knoxville TN but originally from California.  What comes particularly to attention as you move through his four song EP Promenade is the warmth and sincerity of his songs.  The music and vocals aren’t all quiet, and sound great when Tyler’s voice soars.  The EP turns out to be a huge surprise, well arranged and produced, with my preferences going to “Midnight Mind”, where Tyler’s vocal most impresses, and “Just Say Hello”, which are the stronger of the four songs.  “Sing You To Sleep” however is a delightful contemporary lullaby, and there aren’t many of those around.  Only “Dancing Machine” seems perhaps a little too overly familiar.  Promenade is a great effort and a fine introduction to Lyonn.  And I’m sure we’re all waiting to find out more about Tyler’s fascination with Leonardo DiCaprio!  🙂 Promenade is available on iTunes for less than $4.00.  You can download “Midnight Mind” for free at the link below, and stream the entire EP on Lyonn’s Bandcamp page.

If you’re in the Knoxville TN area, a video shoot for “Just Say Hello” is taking place on Sunday June 29.  Visit Lyonn’s Facebook page for more details.

https://soundcloud.com/lyonnmusic/midnight-mind

 

Get to Know New Canadian Duo @BigEastCanada with Album “Under Currents”

bigeast

BIG EAST, Under Currents

From just north of where I live, in the Muskokas (Huntsville to be exact) comes duo Big East consisting of guitarist/vocalist James Jones and pianist/guitarist/vocalist Kip Daynard, supported by other expert musicians.  They create passionate, earnest folk/pop on their new album Under Currents.  But don’t let that basic description sway you, their influences from R&B, blues and jazz are much more far reaching, resulting in diverse and well-crafted songs.  They are beautifully sung and tend to be on the softer side, but the results shine through and will make an impression.  Opener “I Can’t Let Go” is easily my favourite and has hit potential for Adult Top 40 radio with its soulful edge.  “Every Heart” and “I Die For You” (I’m waiting for the mashup with Jann Arden’s “I Would Die For You” 😉 ) also resonate, as does “Change Your Life” which poses lots of food for thought in its brief lyrics.  I would pitch this album to fans who like Train, Five For Fighting, John Legend, Frank Ocean, Ms Arden, Anne Murray, and Neil Young.  You can stream the entire album below.  Check out all of the detail James and Kip have put into their Bandcamp page, including lyrics and chords!  You can purchase the album there or on iTunes.  Big East wants to engage and involve you and Under Currents is a great record on which you can get to know them.

https://soundcloud.com/big_east/sets/under-currents

 

 

Meet Portugal’s @MikeBramble1 Covering INXS’ “Never Tear Us Apart” Along with Soulful Originals

mikebramble

MIKE BRAMBLE, “Never Tear Us Apart”, “Is It You”, “Her Lies”

Covering an INXS is always likely to attract my attention, so when I received word about Mike Bramble’s rendition, I had to check out his other songs as well.  Mike is from Portugal, was schooled in music/guitar, and performs a creditable version of “Never Tear Us Apart”.  It’s an ambitious, more acoustic, almost folky take on the powerful and anthemic rock ballad.  Not what I’d quite expect but props to Mike for boldly tackling it in such a different arrangement.  That song doesn’t prepare you though for the soulful power in Mike’s voice in the Seal-like jazzy/R&B flavour of “Is It You”, and the story-telling heartache of “Her Lies”, which features absolutely gorgeous guitar work.  Even with these three songs to listen to, I think there is much more that we haven’t yet heard from Mike Bramble.  Definitely a new talent to watch.  Get your fix of all three below.