Tuesday, February 28, 2006

My Top 20 of 2005, #8: Graham Cousens-Living Room Sessions

Back last week when I was giving the new Josh Rouse album the stinkeye, my main complaint was that in many spots, it was too stripped-down. I made the comment that "I'm not normally a big fan of acoustic music (although there are exceptions, if the songs are really good)". Here is the exception. Graham Cousens' Living Room Sessions is pretty much Graham and his guitar, and the whole thing was recorded on his PowerBook. If you had told me that before I heard it, I probably would have run away screaming. Thankfully I heard it first, on the recommendation of a friend.

What sets Cousens apart from your garden variety coffeehouse performer? A keen sense of melody, a warm and inviting voice, and some great tunes. I've seen it written that Cousens sounds like a happier Eric Matthews, and I'll buy that. He also sounds like early solo McCartney, Emmitt Rhodes, with some Matthew Sweet and Tom Petty included for good measure. The opener "Julia" sets the tone well, a jaunty number in the mode of "I've Just Seen a Face". "Comfort Me" jangles along reminiscent of Petty's "Wildflowers", and two of the slower numbers, "When I Was Around" and "Emily", are so pitch-perfect that I could listen to them on a continuous loop all day long. (And I'm not kidding - I've already played "Emily" three times while composing this post.)

It also appears that you can download the whole thing for free at his site by clicking on "Tracks". I almost feel a bit guilty for providing this link, because this one deserves a purchase rather than a download. But he's provided this on his site, so take him up on the offer, and if you like it, don't make him regret doing so by buying it. Only $11 at Kool Kat. Or, if you only want the download, but want him to make a few bucks, it's available at eMusic as well.

No comments: