Brett Dennen won me over on Tuesday night at the Bowery Ballroom.
This was a surprise to me. I had listened to his album, So Much More, a few times and thought that it was somewhat unassuming. The songs were pleasant, but didn't leave that much of a mark on me. Another pretty good singer-songwriter, or so I thought.
What struck me about Dennen live is that he is completely his own man. Most performers try (unsuccessfully) to be something they're not, using the stage to attempt to hide some element of themselves that they'd rather die than admit to. Dennen is just...himself. Holding his guitar high up on his chest, chunky in build and wearing a headband that no one would ever confuse with cool, he is so warm, open and engaging on the stage that everything that could be seen as a "flaw" suddenly begins to work for him. His music may not be completely original, as he works in the tradition of singer-songwriters started by Dylan (Paul Simon seems to be a big influence), but he himself occurs as an original, and damn if that isn't refreshing.
Dennen's songs, while good, will have to reach the next level for him to have the possibility of being a major artist. But I'm looking forward to hearing his next album...there's something happening here.
Brett Dennen on MySpace
New Home for FiveThirtyEight
6 months ago