SXSW Saturday Record Reviews

Gabriel Royal

Gabriel Royal

SXSW Saturday Record Reviews

Few artists have paid dues on the order of Oklahoma-born, Brooklyn-based, thirtysomething cellist Gabriel Royal. Coming home on the NYC subway with only $1 in his pocket in 2010, he noticed a busker with questionable talent had landed at least 20 times that. For the next five years, Royal lugged his instrument into the bowels of the mass transit system to serenade passersby with beautifully jazzy compositions in the hopes of making some extra scratch. No longer casting pearls before swine, those hours culminate in a remarkable self-titled and self-released debut seamlessly blending jazz, classical, and pop-soul sensibilities. It's an aggressively optimistic and sunny song cycle with Royal's warm tenor accompanied by his own plucking and strumming, as well as violin, drum, and bass. (Sat. 18, Stephen F's Bar, 12mid)

***

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