Monday, 9 July 2007

Life is just a dancefloor but I made my best decisions standing by the wall holding a beer

Yesterday evening I was fortunate enough to catch an extremely talented Australian singer/songwriter who was in town and playing a small set at our local open-mic night, a Mr Paul Greene. This guy shone like a diamond in the rough amongst the other acts of the night, despite many of these being talented musicians and not just your any-guy-and-a-guitar acts sometimes customary at open-mic nights.

So moved was I by the four songs he played that I was immediately prompted to buy his studio LP 'Reset'on sale for a barganous £7. I also had a chat with him and found out that he'd been doing what he did so brilliantly for the best part of 7 years, 'could have bought a house' with the amount he spent on production, and his album is available in shops in Australia.

As for the music, he really had one of the most gorgeous acoustic guitar tones I can ever recall hearing. It was very full sounding (helped by the careful use of a delay pedal) and at times sounded like an electric guitar whilst he simultaneously strummed and played lead. To add to the atmosphere he innovativley employed a kick-pedal to build-up sections and carry his songs forward, appearing to do so effortlessly. This is illustrated here:

Being so blown away with the quality of his performance I had hardly taken in the lyrical contents of his songs. Listening to the LP I discover he writes his songs about the basics of life and relationships that many songwriters overlook in the fruitless pursuit of something greater, and does so with the fantastic tongue-in-cheek frankness seen in the title lyric of this post. The song 'Pretty Girls' from which this lyric is taken shows astute observations of basic social processes we all encounter every day, on a par with those of Alex Turner of the Arctic Monkeys (who also sings heavily on these themes, especially in their latest LP). In doing so he asks simple questions that we all might think but never say:

'But what's so good about pretty girls?
They always want too much
They always go too slow
And never give enough to the conversation
What's so good about pretty girls?
They always leave me alone
With a heart as cold as stone
Let me stumble my way back home

These lyrics made me laugh, because they're so true. He's singing of course about how people get by rellying on superficialities such as looks, substituting these for effortful conversation in this case. Later he reconciles:
'Life is just a party
But it's the people that I didn't meet that got me where I am today
So just give me a good loving woman at the end of the day
That knows the difference between beautiful and pretty'

Simple but so effective. I see no reason why this guy couldn't be extremely successful commercially, he's singing songs that can touch everyone and in a style which is so accessible to anyone. So Jack Johnson watch out - Paul Greene is about!

MP3: Pretty Girls - Paul Greene (highly recommended)
MP3: One Minute of One Day - Paul Greene (highly recommended)
MP3: Get Over It - Paul Greene

Paul Greene Official Website
Paul Greene on Myspace

Pretty Girls also really reminds me of this Elton John song, covered and shining in it's full splendour here by Ben Folds:

MP3: Tiny Dancer (Live) - Ben Folds (highly recommended) (info)


Any major dude with half a heart said...

Gah, spotted the the Greene stuff to late. Links have expired.

I saw another Aussie singer-songwriter live last Friday, Bob Evans. Excellent; you might like it (I have a couple of songs up)

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