Jade Day, David Newbould, Forrest Jourdan, Jay Thomas, and Brian Keane

Chimera, Demos, Live & Headaches, The Family Farm, Cloquet, and I Ain't Even Lonely (n / a)

Phases and Stages

For the Sake of the Song

Originally from Colorado, Jade Day has called Austin home for two years, during which he's released a couple of discs of solo acoustic music. Chimera is a five-song EP from an upcoming full-length that expands Day's sound quite a bit via a band, yet fails to overcome his overwhelming weakness: warbled vocals and swooping soundscapes mimicking the late Jeff Buckley… David Newbould's claim to fame is that one of his songs, the anthemic "See You on the Other Side," was featured on TV's Dawson's Creek. It's included on his first album, the aptly titled EP's Demos, Live & Headaches, an overview of the New York native's songcraft to date. While Newbould styles himself in league with heartland rockers like Springsteen and Wilco's Jeff Tweedy, his songs ring only with overearnestness and moldy formulas… The Family Farm (Eye Man) marks a return for Forrest Jourdan. With his band, Jourdan experienced a bit of nationwide success in the mid-1990s before fading into oblivion. The Texan's taken to a solo career, and his previous experience seems to have served him well. Jourdan's songs bear a semblance to those of Guy Clark or Charlie Robison in that they contain a similar sense of Texas seasoning, just without a comparable amount of skillful polish… Like many before, the songs of Jay Thomas are undermined by lyrics that try for poetic and end up hackneyed. Debut Cloquet finds him backed with proficient accompaniment, his ragged voice possessing a faint echo of Tom Waits that's almost distinctive. Yet tunes like "Let the River Run Dry" and "Wille Nelson Smokes Dope" are just goofy embarrassments… Brian Keane is distinguished by having attended Boston's Berklee College of Music. I Ain't Even Lonely (Mix-O-Rama) proves Keane as a competent songwriter, with a sound that hews toward Slaid Cleaves or a young Loudon Wainwright, mixing folk, blues, and twang without regret. Most of Keane's subject matter has been tackled many times before, but backing from the likes of Guy Forsyth, Will Taylor, and Carolyn Wonderland keep his debut tuneful.

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