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Friday, August 24, 2012

Songlist Highlights: Ross Crean, Steve Balsamo

I won't be at another city event with live music until September 8th, most likely, but in the meantime there's always spotify, and I have a few weeks' worth of new music queued up to listen to on my playlists. So, the forays into the world of 'music I have never heard before' continues with a vengeance. And, as often occurs when I start poking my ears into new sounds, I once again have landed on a few new artists I am particularly caught up with for a while.

I have no idea any more where I came across Ross Crean to have added him to my queue, though if I had to guess I'd say it was the 'related artists' feature on spotify (yes, those related artist things really do lead to new listeners sometimes). I had a really hard time picking just one song to put on my weekly list from Mr. Crean's albums. Lovers and Other Kinds of Monsters is a great one to start with, but I am particularly drawn to the Irish stuff on Blackwater. His voice is rich and velvety, especially in his lower range, but nice and crisply clear at the top of his range as well- if I was a guy I would want his voice. And, his sean nos training shows through even where he is just singing lyrically, giving many of his songs a strange, haunting, other-worldly sound I could listen to all day. I only started listening to his music properly this afternoon, so I know practically nothing about him yet, but this guy's right up there with Paolo Nutini and Julie Fowlis as favorite new musicians I've cued into in the past year.

Ross Crean's website is really hard to navigate, and has one of those really annoying music players that starts up automatically (very annoying if one happens to be already listening to music while browsing). His myspace page is more browsing-friendly, though, and he posts links for listening to and downloading his music on myspace, facebook and his website. His followers on facebook are well-rewarded, as he posts links on there to limited-time free downloads, and as I have not yet heard a dud among the songs I've browsed so far, these would be free tunes worth the effort of downloading.


Steve Balsamo is the guy who sang "Gethsemane" in the youtube video Ryan Kelly shared a short while ago. His rendition of this Jesus Christ Superstar song really is amazing, but I find his album, All I Am, fascinating. It is a great pop/rock album, very catchy and well made, with a nice variety and a solid voice on all the tracks. But, it is hard to imagine the guy who sang "Gethsemane" singing pop songs at all. The transformation is mind-boggling, but both Steves are pretty cool, the dramatic/ tragic musical theater guy and the modern pop-radio star.

Mr. Balsamo's solo album is a dramatic contrast against a lot of the slower, heavier stuff I lean towards, but like Neil Byrne's Pale blue Jak stuff, Balsamo's music provides a musically interesting but lighter, happier counterpoint that keeps my music adventures from getting too exhausting. Listening to lots of great new music should not be exhausting, after all. Reading Balsamo's biography, though, on his website, there is apparently quite a lot more to this Welsh singer's musical offerings. He's been involved in several bands and projects which also have released albums, and there's plenty more here to explore. Follow him on facebook, visit the website for his band project The Storys, and check out his music on spotify, of course.

2 comments:

  1. There's a lot more of Steve Balsamo than people realise. He was the Late Great Jon Lord's vocalist for the three years before Jon's illness. Singing many of Deep Purple songs. There's an album and DVD of one of the live concerts they did together. well worth a look. Yes do visit The Storys website but his own website stevebalsamo.co.uk has a lot more about what he has done (and there's loads) and what he's doing now including new project, Balsamodeighton. Everything is on that. Great and informative site.

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  2. Thank you so much for the kind words about my music! As far as the website goes, I wholeheartedly agree...the music player has annoyed me as well, and thankfully does not autoplay anymore lol. Again, thank you so much for mentioning me!

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