God, I love it when I catch musicians young enough that they are still developing and I can watch (boy, that didn't come out right), and I am not talking about the reality music show winners or the fifteen-minutes-of-fame kids who catch the public's attention because they have a voice or can play Led Zeppelin songs on guitar note-for-note off the records. This whole tribute thing drives me nuts and covers are for people who prefer to superimpose another's soul over their own. No, I am talking about the Phoebe Bridgers and Leann Rimes of the world who know what they want even if they don't quite know how to get it but know that putting together a Beatles song to perform before some lame judges who pretend that they know music when what they really know is how to embarrass themselves with comments better left on the cutting room floor. The people who are musicians first and personalities not even second but somewhere far down the line. People who care about the music first and let the fame and success take care of itself.
People like Althea Grace, a young pop vocalist who most certainly has a future in music. The question is which direction she will take? Right now she is young and raw in terms of her talent but shows enough to make me think she could take any direction she wants and maybe several at once. The songs unveil a musician well schooled in the structure of pop music, but there is something else there I can't quite put my finger on. She is just off the beaten path enough to make me wonder if she might be one of the ones like Bridgers who adamantly find their own path and stick with it. Bridgers and Angharad Drake and Erin Lunsford and Brigid Mae Power, who good friend Sam Berger turned me onto recently. Good artists developing into better and better artists developing into maybe greatness.
I love the fact that Grace's choruses are clean and separate from the rest of a song, that she has a touch for pop chord progressions, that she knows how to use her voice (which is quite pleasant, by the way). I like these four songs--- this EP (titled Dreamers, by the way)--- and the more I hear them the more I like them. Bright, sunny songs.
My favorite song? Right now, probably “Dreamers”. The chorus trips me up every time, Grace's voice leading a chorus meant to be backing her up.
It doesn't hurt that Doyle Bramhall II worked with Grace on the EP. I didn't really know who he was, though I'd heard the name, until a handful of years ago when my Texas friends decided it was time I learned something. With the Bramhalls, I found, there is a lot to learn. He was perfect for these songs.
I will be watching Althea Grace from now on. You can count on it. I have a feeling we are going to be hearing a lot from her and my money says that it is going to be a fun ride.