Charleston, SC (Sept. 23, 2013) — The Charleston Music Hall is proud to announce the return of Brendan James Thursday, November 21, 2013. Brendan James is going to be a father, and he wants to play a final show before he delves into the world of fatherhood. This is most definitely not the end of James; however, he will be taking a bit of a break once his child is born which is why we are bringing him back for this special show. This time, Tony Lucca, runner-up on the second season of the American reality talent show, The Voice, will be joining James on the Music Hall stage. Advanced tickets are on sale Wednesday, Sept. 25th at 10 AM. $15 for advanced tickets, $18 for tickets the day of the show. Tickets can be found at CharlestonMusicHall.com, Monster Music and Movies, Cats Music, Etix toll free #, 1-800-5143849, or can be purchased at the Music Hall’s Box Office (37 John Street, 843.853.2252).
“Simplify represents me finding a clarity I have been searching for for years,” says critically acclaimed piano-based singer-songwriter BRENDAN JAMES of his new album Simplify. His fifth album, it is also his most elegant and emotionally direct album to date.
An active supporter for all levels of equality (he has spoken out for Marriage Equality and is considered a “Straight Ally”) and a supporter for the men and women in the military (he’s performed for the USO and troops), his advocacy is well-known and widespread. Larry Flick, influential host of Sirius XM’s OUTQ, says of James, “The remarkable thing about Brendan is that he is an active, creative citizen of the world. His songs do more than reflect his experiences in typical singer/songwriter style. He weaves his views and stories into a musical framework that triggers empathy from a wide array of listeners. He’s proof that, in the right hands, music can truly be universal.”
James is a man who sings with conviction and isn’t afraid to speak out, as is evidenced on his new album, Simplify. For example, the plaintive ballad “The New Plan” tackles our violence-obsessed culture unflinchingly. “It’s no secret that this country has an unhealthy obsessions with guns,” he explains. “I wrote this song as a conversation piece, begging for an end to violence for the sake of violence. It’s in our culture, and it’s starting to ‘backfire’. We’re beginning to look ridiculous on the world stage, and I care enough to address it. Very few civilians I know NEED guns. They simply choose to have them around.”
Tackling his personal history as a child of divorce, he wrote the song “He Loved”, which actually had origins in the divorce of his musical heroes, Carly Simon and James Taylor. The song was written years ago at Simon’s home in Martha’s Vineyard where he was invited to a private mentor session that didn’t go quite as planned – Simon had to leave for a last minute engagement just as he arrived, leaving him with the keys to her mansion. When she returned six days later, he played this song for her and she gave him her stamp of approval. It took him a few years to be confident enough as a songwriter to release it, and the song appears on Simplify. “Back then, I think Carly saw in me the ability to be a mature and credible songwriter, but I wasn’t that guy until now. I finally grew to be the songwriter she believed me to be,” James confides.
The album’s title track and first single is a melodically driving jam that American Songwriter calls “a piano-fueled pop/rocker that feels like a mission statement for the entire record.” “The process of evolution, especially technological evolution, is occurring at such blinding speeds these days that we must take collective moments to breathe together, find calm together,” Brendan explains of the song, “or we will forever leave behind our real essence as animals in paradise.”
The Derry, NH native has had his songs featured in television shows such as Private Practice, American Idol, Bones, So You Think You Can Dance, Army Wives, and One Tree Hill. His first three albums climbed the iTunes Top 10 pop charts – James’ sophomore album, Brendan James, climbed to #1 on the iTunes singer-songwriter charts. He’s toured the country nine times over and played alongside such diverse artists as John Mayer, Paula Cole, Keb Mo, Parachute, and Green River Ordinance. The Kickstarter campaign for Simplify netted nearly double its projected goal.
“It’s hard to imagine after twenty years in the entertainment business that this is just chapter two,” an excited Tony Lucca says of his first music post his game-changing run on the hit NBC series The Voice. For Lucca chapter one included seven albums in a more than 20-year run in show business that started on the Mickey Mouse Club.
Lucca firmly believes all of those experiences led him to teaming with coach Adam Levine on The Voice. “The further along in The Voice contest I got it felt like there was no denying my whole life’s work led me to that moment. I know that sounds extremely cliché, but for me specifically it really was kind of that, everything from the former relationship, having worked with Christina [Aguilera] on The Mickey Mouse Club to just the experience of having spent a lot of time in film and television and getting on a big stage and knowing what things like camera blocking and hitting your mark meant. Just little things that all add up to an easier time on the show like that,” he said. “That being said, it also felt like after the show, whatever was next, was supposed to happen.”
What was supposed to happen is a new beginning for Lucca, who is signed to Adam Levine’s 222 Records, and set to release his first EP, With the Whole World Watching, July 16, right before he hits the road as one of the support acts on Levine and his Maroon 5 band mates’ sold-out run across America on the Honda Civic tour.
By the time the tour kicks off July 29, Lucca will surely have had a hit with the EP’s radio-friendly lead single “Never Gonna Let You Go,” which starts with a soft acoustic vocal and then slowly builds into an up-tempo pop gem, laden with energetic hooks.
For Lucca, even having the chance to get his music heard on this scale is a significant moment, “This is quite a milestone in my career, just to even be a signed artist with a budget, kind of a first for me, and having a song go to radio with legitimate radio play, these are all firsts for me and that’s a pretty exciting place to be,” an excited Lucca says.
Understanding the focus that would be on him having signed to Levine’s label and having scored a hit with Hugo’s daring interpretation of Jay-Z’s “99 Problems,” which hit number three on the iTunes chart, Lucca knew it was time to make a stylistic change going forward musically.
“I knew that working with Adam was gonna shine a pretty sizable spotlight on what I was doing and that meant I wasn’t gonna go make another coffeehouse singer/songwriter record, that this was gonna probably have to be something with a little more commercial modern pop element that I hadn’t been so quick to embrace or felt any real need or value in pursuing,” he says. “So this marked a big change for me, like, ‘Okay, let’s make a big record, let’s make a pop record.’ As we got into it, taking all these writing trips and writing with different people the initial impetus or creative clean slate was really just a continuation of my trajectory on The Voice.”
To create the sound he was looking for he turned to a stellar group of musicians, led by producer Eric Rosse, whose credits include Tori Amos’ Little Earthquakes and Under The Pink, Sara Bareilles’ Little Voice and works for Gavin DeGraw, Chris Isaak and Lisa Marie Presley among others. “I worked with Eric Rosse, he’s phenomenal and we clicked super well. We knocked out basically six weeks together while I was in L.A. getting all the vocals and all the guitar tracks I was gonna lay, and we started with Matt Chamberlain on drums and Mark Browne on bass, so the bedrock was firm and solid. We didn’t bring a ton of guests on the record, I half thought we would’ve, but once we got into it, between Eric and I, we both had most of the bases covered. We brought in Alex Dezen from the Damnwells, he came in and co-wrote a couple of the songs and then helped us out with some background vocals.”
Ultimately when Lucca listens to the EP he hears music that encapsulates where he is right now in his life. “I think we wound up with a really great set of songs that are representative of where I’ve been and where I came from since I’ve been on The Voice.”