Tag Archives: AlexClare

True love? It’s Taylor Berrett

It’s been rough lately, and honestly I should be writing a paper, but I’d rather write about music, so let’s just procrastinate together.

I’ve fallen in love, recently. It’s that time of year, you know? And I realize that I fall in love quite often, I’m a romantic, but this guy is worth it, I’m telling you.

Let’s meet Taylor Berrett.

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As I write this, I literally can feel myself become giddy,it’s almost unreal. It’s crazy. Is this how love feels?

Okay, so this is actually really strange because I first
discovered Berrett a couple of months ago when I went to an Alex Clare show at Neptune Theatre (remember that show
preview?). He was the opener, and I remember, at the time thinking, “He’s good,
young, but this kid’s got it.” I took a couple photos, swore he was going to go
far, and then just vaguely forgot about him. Here’s a photo of him performing,
he’s a pretty rad guy.

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But anyway, then I followed him on Facebook, just for news
updates and slowly Berrett began to come out with more of his own music. When he
performed a couple of months ago, he had a couple of his songs, so I knew he
could write, but I was basing his vocal ability off his Beatles covers.

So I knew this kid has talent.

It’s a little crazy I’m reviewing
this guy so soon because his debut album doesn’t even come out for another two
weeks, but the tracks and the EP that he has out now are just too good to not
talk about, and I expertly assume they will be on his debut album.

But let’s talk about my favorite
tracks first, which aren’t on his 2012 EP Anchor
Chasing
. “Those Days,” a track that he just released this year, starts off
just the way I like it: with some finger snaps, simple acoustic harmonies, and a raw,
beautiful voice.

The rhythm on this track is so brilliant and the lyricism that
this man has is so natural, I am reminded of singer-songwriter (and one of my
favorite musicians) Kris Allen. We
start off easy with “Slow down, turn around/Tell me what’s tearing your heart
out baby,” building up the main chorus “Everybody has, everybody has those
days/ Feeling like an ocean, having trouble making waves.” As we build up to
the chorus, we get a little trumpet and sax into the mix, and my heart drops into
my stomach. Then bam, xylophone, and the world just stops.

It’s this perfect mix of acoustic
folk with jazz and it just feels easy
you know? You get the feel of just chilling on the beach with this guy,
drinking some margaritas, with a guitar and a guy playing saxophone in the
background. When we get to the sax solo, you know Taylor Berrett is a classy
musician and not one to be reckoned with. He knows instrumental composition,
and he knows it well.

Okay, so now for my absolute favorite
track that he has out so far. “The Heat,” a track that he released,also, just a
couple months ago is just a game changer.

It’s a little more upbeat, but it’s probably, and this may be a stretch, a
track that I would say is one of the best new singles I’ve heard this year.  He starts drumming out some awesome beats,
leading in with some great vocals that just has excellent rhythm and a sense
of, once again, jazz and blues. Listen to the part when he sings his chorus, “Got
no place that I can go/ Got no money to my name/ Got no scars that I show/ Got no
bad luck I can blame.” The way he weights his vocals rhythmically is not just
catchy. It’s brilliant. The electric guitar mixed with his drummer is all so
cohesively in sync with his vocals, that you would almost expect Berrett to be
someone who’s been in the business for years. Taylor Berrett labels himself as acoustic pop,
and definitely, I can see why he would want to brand himself that way; he wants
to be commercial. But don’t let that fool you, this guy knows solid blues. He
knows solid jazz. He is catchy, but he is skilled and talented. You see it in
the last track I discussed, you see it in the bridge of this track when he
sings “They say man take it easy, enjoy it while you’re free/ I said the heat I
can stand is, is standing still against me.”

And the acoustic version is even
better. Here’s a look.

This voice. Please. There is
control, there is great tone, there is great pitch, and there is just a
beautiful sound.

When I listen to this guy, a smile
forms on my face. Is this what love feels like?

Maybe it’s the combination of the fact
that I’ve seen this guy start it out live, and then have listened to his more
matured singles, and maybe it’s the fact that I know he is the real deal
because I have seen him sing. I’m not
sure. But this is probably my favorite artist
to review thus far, and I love a lot of musicians.

But anyone, one more, let’s talk.

Let’s take it back two years, to another
track, also not on his EP. I like his EP, and we’ll get there, don’t worry. But,
honestly? I really just dig these tracks that he chooses not to publicize as
much. They’re rad. “Fair Warning,” takes it back a little bit more to his folk
roots, but he still rocks it, like usual.

You get this banjo, tambourine, campy
feel, but once again, his lyricism of, “Call me the wanderer/ Write me away/ I’ll
be the mountain you cannot escape,” never fails. This a track I’m pointing out
just to emphasize Berrett’s versatility as an artist. I’m sorry, but I don’t
care how campfire folk he gets, the man has vocals and the man can write. And
why is it surprising? This 22-year old singer from Virginia started writing songs at age 13,
so he’s had plenty of practice.

Quick note on his EP, Anchor Chasing, because I feel like I
should comment. It’s alright; I’m not trying to disregard his first published
accomplishment. Style wise, it’s more lowkey than the other tracks I’ve talked
about, simple. When you listen to it, you can hear in his voice that he still
very much new, and hey this is an EP from two years ago, so it’s
understandable. We all mature as artists.

Of the five tracks on the EP,
there are only two that I truly love and know will make it to his full length
album. “Whole Heart” is definitely a track I love best and a song I think
Berrett is exceptionally proud of especially since he keeps promoting it. It’s
full of those beautiful piano melodies that you all know I love, so points
right there. It’s two years old, but I think this is a solid original
composition of his, and personally, I’m proud. “Pomegranate Sky,” another great
one on his EP is dreamy and acoustic, but solid with some violin and piano in
the background. You feel relaxed listening to this. You have to let his voice just
take you away, and he does, successfully.

By the way, please, please, check out all his music on his soundcloud here!

All in all, this man is going to
top charts. I’m not predicting that, I’m guaranteeing it. He knows what he’s doing,
and seeing as he is already signed to Warner Brothers, and seeing as his album is
about to be released mighty soon, it’s only a matter of time.

Ahhh, is this what love feels
like?

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Ariana Rivera

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Show Preview: Never too close to love, Alex Clare

In 2012, when Alex Clare’s hit, “Too Close,” topped the charts and became a top 10 hit on the US Billboard Hot 100, and #4 on the UK Singles Chart, I knew we had found a winner.

Already a soulful romantic, Alex Clare’s sultry voice sent me head over heels in love. I realize I say this about many, but we should acknowledge that Alex Clare isn’t someone to joke about, especially with his level of success.

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Born Alexander George Claire, the London born musician is a man after my own heart, growing up listening to blues and soul artists like Stevie Wonder and Donny Hathaway. After developing an interest in the trumpets and drums (which hold an influence in his music), lovely Mr. Clare moved on and dedicated more time to the guitar playing and song writing.

Hey it worked.

So when I got the email way back in August that Alex Clare was heading back to Seattle to perform live for the first time in a year, I almost cried.

Clare’s debut album The Lateness of the Hour is a record that never gets old for me, simply because like any good soul artist, Clare just mixes all these different influences together of funk, soul, dubstep, punk rock, and jazz and just creates this cohesive mixture of pieces that together just fly.

I’m stoked to hear him drop his jams for us at The Neptune, November 25th. Although I’m excited of course to hear the famous single, “Too Close” up close and personal, I’m more excited for Clare to bust out the more soulful tracks from his first album.

“Sanctuary,” one of my personal favorites off his first album just keeps it real with his opening of the song with this chorus of echo-laden whispers surrounded by simple piano harmonies. The song has the feel of a ballad, but then the synth, drums, and bass kick in and you’re left a little breathless after the song finishes, hair swept, going “Whoa. What just happened?” The electro-dubstep influence is there, and although some may think it overpowers, Clare never lets his voice be watered down.

Another one that will be great raw will be Clare’s “I Won’t Let you Down,” also off his first album. The closing number off the record, it’s soft, sweet, and a gem led by Clare’s mournful voice and fingers playing the keys. In a sea of tracks laden with a multitude of other instrumentals, this track keeps it simple, and having Alex Clare sing that live for me will be enough for me to live on.

But let’s be real, this tour is also about Clare’s new album that he’s been working on for a year, Three Hearts. A pretty solid piece of art, I’m excited to see how he performs the more upbeat, 80’s retro vibe that this album brings. A record that brings in more of the influence of horns and lively instrumentals, we’re exposed to different side of Clare that is less mournful and definitely more positive.

Yet, we still have those soulful tracks on Three Hearts like “Take you Back” and “Just a Man” that hint at Clare’s older side as a quick break from pop upbeats of horn-laden tracks like “Heavy Hands” and “Never Let You Go.”. “Not in Vain,” one of my favorite tracks off the new record is a good mix of Clare’s new and old sound, a track that has his soulful, yet wobbly voice, and the lead in of piano and soft drums.

Just writing about this album gets me stoked for this show, and although I’m a little more excited for Alex Clare to showcase his older music rather than his newer stuff, just the thought of him performing live is too much for me. Get excited. Get your tickets.

Does it help that between sets, his beautiful English accent will swoon your socks off?

See ya there.

Ariana Rivera