Oh Connecticut

Posted in Acoustic Guitar, Alternative, Rock, Singer-Songwiter by jurbanik on August 16, 2010

When this post is up, I’ll officially be back on the east coast. My two months are Stanford were great, but I’m excited to get back to… humidity, an extremely boring town… okay there isn’t that much to look forward to until I get back to Princeton.  Despite my general apathy about Connecticut as a whole, I thought it might be cool to looks at a few musicians that call Connecticut home. At some point in the future, I plan to look at some musicians I know personally, but for now, I thought I would share some (marginally) larger acts.

Bronze Radio Return

BRR Press Shot

A six piece from all over Connecticut (and parts of NY, but don’t let that ruin the illusion of purist Connecticut music I’m trying to establish here), Bronze Radio Return released their first full length album last year. Their first EP received pretty poor reviews, but they’ve improved a lot since then. Lead vocalist Chris Henderson is a graduate of the Hartt School – a pretty prestigious music/art academy in Connecticut (of course), but I’m not really sure where his voice developed from: the sound oscillates unpredictably from faux-reggae to jam band (think Augustana) to pure unadulterated alt rock (maybe a little like Blue October). The band has a pretty soulful sound at times, and has a rather impressive range in terms of styles they achieve. The occasional harmonica gives the music a bit of a folky feel, and some songs are laden with subtle synth parts.  Overall, the band achieves their goal of blending the old and the new, and even create some memorable lyrics and catchy hooks while at it. For a slightly more detailed review, check out absolutepunk or The Hartford Courant.

Pullin’ On the Reins// Old Time Speaker

Wolves// Old Time Speaker

Craig D’Andrea

In terms of fingerstyle guitar, Korea may have Sungha Jung, but Connecticut has its own relatively young fingerstyle prodigy. D’Andrea is 26, but won third place in the Canadian Fingerstyle Guitar championships, and first in 2007. It was in 2007 that D’Andrea released his first album, Crazy is Catching. Since then, he released another album, Getting Used to Isolation, via CandyRat (see, told you the label would come up again and again). His first effort was impressive technically, but seemed a little braggadocio at times – some of the arrangements were just strange and technically difficult for the sake of being technically difficult. However, Getting Used to Isolation is one of the better fingerstyle albums I own – and I own quite a few. While he hasn’t developed the sound that is characteristically his (as Leo Kottke, Don Ross, Michael Hedges, Antoine Dufour, or Andy McKee have), he shows a tremendous amount of maturity. He expertly uses hammer-ons and pull-offs and harmonics, using his fingers significantly less than the smoothness of his music would suggest. And while he may at times go overboard on the harmonics, the result is pretty undeniably beautiful.

In With the Purple and Out With the Blue// Getting Used to Isolation

…and then you moved to Jersey// Getting Used to Isolation

The Alternate Routes

Alt Routes Press Image

If I didn’t know any better, I would have never guessed The Alternate Routes were from Connecticut. Tim Warren’s voice is a little reminiscent of Marc Roberge’s (O.A.R) while singing choruses, but seems even more versatile: sometimes he sounds a little more bluegrass/country inspired, whereas other times he just has a slightly smokey hint to his voice that might woo the Jason Mraz or David Gray fans out there. Another blogger claimed that they sound more like they’re from Biloxi than Connecticut, and I can’t really disagree. Regardless of where their style comes from, the Bridgeport based group has a good thing going. They use a mix of piano, acoustic guitar, slide guitar – the songs are varied in terms of instrumentation, but they still have a distinctive and cohesive sound. Though I haven’t listened through their two albums all that much, I’ve noticed a trend that their more chill jams seem to come later in the album. These are the songs that I personally prefer; in these, TAR seems more focused on songwriting and instrumentals. That’s not to say that the other songs aren’t good – in fact, a few of them are the kinds of songs that could sell out stadiums. I think these guys have a bright future ahead of them.

Toe The Line// A Sucker’s Dream

The Black and the White// Good and Reckless and True

As an update… I am back in Connecticut, and if it wasn’t for the music above, I might be a little sad. I came in to an overcast day and tons of humidity – two things foreign to Stanford. Beyond that, I’ve gotten very little sleep in the past few days – I apologize for the lackluster writing.


2 Responses

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  1. Greg said, on August 16, 2010 at 8:52 pm

    Thanks for the the links (both to my AP. net review of BRR, and to my blog review of Alternate Routes) Totally loving the fact that this blog supports those two bands. Seriously, so damn good. Definitely going to visit this site more frequently. Wishing you all only good things. Cheers!

    • jurbanik said, on August 16, 2010 at 9:11 pm

      Hey Greg,

      Thanks a bunch for the comment. I’ve been a big fan of your reviews for a long time now – you definitely helped me cultivate my tastes in music over the past two or so years. I only recently found RMP, and plan on checking it out a lot more frequently. Hopefully, we might help you discover some artists as well. I certainly extend the wishes back to you.


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