Jay Nash: Jay Nash, Californian native and rock troubadour, has been blessed with the kind of excruciatingly rustic voice so rarely heard on record. Coupled with that is his unnervingly candid approach to song-writing - the man is a burgeoning talent set for realisation with his latest studio release The Things You Think You Need. Its certainly refreshing to find an artist that refuses to simply dwell on the hard times, instead choosing to bask in the good and the great that life has to offer. At times almost jovial, Nashs charisma and buoyant attitude is infectious to the last with a sound capable of softening the sternest of hearts. From the resplendent urgency of Hard Lesson to the elegiac Barcelona, The Things You Think You Need has the potential to surpass anything thats gone before. The writing/recording process for this, his fourth studio album, saw Nashs creative spark ignite like wild-fire as he wrestled with the concept of producing an album laden with variety and character. By drawing inspiration from his own life experiences, both past and present, Nashs inspirational and evocative lyrical imagery possesses the ability to shatter those deep-rooted inadequacies and musters a feeling of liberation and new-found confidence. Theres no sign of an agenda here - Nashs spirited folk revival offers salvation for the masses. Too many of todays artists find it easy to trade on a manufactured kinship - creating an unsettling, short-term bond with audiences that theyre all too willing to discard on a whim. Jay Nash is a different animal altogether and his desire to connect with people is evident as he produces that very first subtle, Americana-style chord. Theres no bravado, no ill-placed audacity. Nash, its plain to see, is one of us - one of the good guys. A trailblazer for passion and hard graft - a man who knows no limitation.
Garrison Starr: Not so long ago, Garrison Starr hit the road supporting Steve Earle, Mary Chapin Carpenter and Melissa Etheridge. No surprise, then, that she's learned a thing or two about crafting a great story. Starr regularly pinches a sleight of hand or passing sound bite and turns it into a rich character assessment. The Mississippi native struck a major chord on 2002's hallmark Songs From Take-Off to Landing. Breezy tunes like "Big Sky", "At the Heart of This Thing" and "Knucklehead" brought together the independent integrity of Triple-A radio and the polished smile typically aimed at mainstream play. Everything internal-head, heart and hope-worked on a universal scale. The liner notes photo accompanying her acknowledgments spoke volumes: Captured screaming jubilantly, Starr, both hands locked with heavy-metal horns, seems through the clouds. It was a profound high. In the years since, Starr has made the road her home and garnered a passionate and loyal following. From her adopted home of Los Angeles to NYC, Nashville to Miami - Starr has crisscrossed the country and continued to entrench herself as a sure fire draw in the indie pop / rock space. Ever the media darling, Starr's focus has never been on their fickle pen, but turned instead to a direct relationship with her fans. Many offer adoration specifically for her consistency, and Starr's genuine, earthy songwriting approach makes it easy to keep rooting-fists clenched and shaking for more artistic evolution. Her songs seem effortless, absolutely unselfconscious and suggest the next time out she might reach the sky again. "This is really how I feel," Starr sings through on "Spectacle" from her last release, The Girl That Killed September", and I'm gonna scream until it's real." Now, that's more like it.