Mike Edel and John Brazell in Portland
*** All Ages ***
Mike Edel | www.mikeedel.com
What is the future, if this is now? asks Canadian-born Mike Edel on his upcoming album THRESHOLDS due out March 1st. This question, echoing throughout groove of the song Challenger, similarly echoes throughout Edels entire record, produced by Death Cab for Cuties Chris Walla.
THRESHOLDS is a compelling departure for Edel and after adopting a consistency is boring mantra and a tireless year in the studio, Edels sound has evolved and this is his most intriguing album yet. From the radio rocker Houdini to the indie-pop chiller Go With You and with the CBC Music Top 10, thirties are the new twenties anthem 31, Edel presents stand-alone singles that present a uniform theme throughout the 10-song effort.
After 2 million cumulative streams across major platforms, being in rotation on CBC Music, AAA Radio across the United States, and on Sirius XMs The Loft; after playing hundreds of shows including Rifflandia Festival, Vancouver Folk Festival, Regina Folk Festival, Victoria International Jazz Festival, and Upstream Music Festival; after sharing the stage with Serena Ryder, Foy Vance, Said The Whale and Josh Garrels; and after splitting his time between Seattle, WA and the mountains of British Columbia and getting married, Edel is taking his music in particular and his life in general across a threshold, through an open door, and into the unknown.
John Brazell | www.johnbrazell.com
At the end of the day, I want to be somebody you think of who sings and writes really great songs, Napa, California-based singer/songwriter John Brazell says. Hes an acoustic pop folk storyteller with an easygoing demeanor, an entertainer who offers up comical banter from the stage and enjoys chatting with his fans. Brazell is most likely to take the stage in a T-shirt and jeans, and very little pretense of being anything other than a guy who likes singing songs.
Theres not a whole lot of barriers, its just me for better or worse, he explains. If youre in a band, you have the ability to be distant and mysterious and cool, because theres a group of you. But as a solo artist, all you really want to do is connect with people. Because the reality of it is that Im going to be playing a half-an-hour, 45-minute show and then people are going to walk five feet and were going to talk.
Brazell likes to put himself out there, musically, too. The way I kind of describe it to people is that songwriting is kind of like looking at a painting and describing what Im seeing. Ill get an emotion and get some imagery in my head, whether its a story or an experience that I went throughI just sing my feelings and thoughts.
His frank viewpoint infuses both his releases, the five-track debut Gonna Get There (2009); and Restless Heart (2013), featuring 11 songs produced by Brazell and college friends Derek Bargaehr and Sean Beck. Even his music video for the single City Girl plays out like a three-minute romantic comedy.
Brazell is starting to enjoy some wider recognition. An instrumental version of City Girl was picked up for an episode of CW TV series Reign in 2015, and several the songs from Gonna Get There were used for incidental music in a movie called Turn Around Jake (2014). Brazell is now in the midst of recording an acoustic EP.
Ive been playing so much as a solo artist that I wanted to record something that was the reduced essence, the simplest form of me. And this is probably what youre going to experience if you go to a John Brazell show in the next year or soStill acoustic pop songs, but also kind of a little bit more raw.
Theres a driven side to Brazell, too. He earned a bachelors degree in music from Azusa Pacific University, known for a rigorous music program. Growing up, he skateboarded and played water polo and tennis. And his approach to music was obsessiveFrom like two years old I always had a guitar in my handwhen he wasnt playing, he was attending concerts and listening to other artists.
Its this constant renewable resource of joy; you get what you put into it. It just clicked: This is what I want to do, he says, adding wryly: And Ive had an interesting history of jobs that led me to want to do nothing but music.
When hes not recording or writing songs, hes playing at a variety of venues from college campuses and coffeehouses to bars and wineries. Brazell says his music speaks to Probably people in my age bracket, 18-35, people who are starting life, figuring out life. My goal would be to reach a wider audience, the idea would be everybody is welcome, but realistically I do have a bias to a more youthful, unsettled worldview.
Fans have compared Brazell to numerous singer/songwriters, but his sound isnt evocative of any one artist in particular.
Generally its a compliment, because theyre comparing you to their context of a guy with a guitar. Im getting a lot of Ed Sheeran lately, which is great because hes on top of the world right now. Somebody told me I sounded like Bon Iver and Im like, really?. Ive gotten Justin Timberlake depending on what song Im singing, Jack Johnson, Jason Mraz, Dave Barnes, he says. Its hard to say with any consistency because people are constantly amazing me with who they think I sound like.
Alberta Street Public House (View)
1036 NE Alberta St
Portland, OR 97211