It was a night as relatively quiet at the Ptit Bonheur la Chance open mic in Paris last night as it was the previous night at the Galway. We ARE in Paris in July. Of course, there may be fewer and fewer French people as the summer progresses, but there should be more and more visitors – guitar carrying and others. Last night, one of the visitors was the astounding Desmond Myers, an American singer songwriter from North Carolina but who lives in Germany and is currently touring France, Spain and Italy in a walkabout open mic, busking and concert tour.
Desmond is a very rare musician in that his guitar playing, vocals, lyrics and melodies are all quite original and extremely well executed. I was impressed, to say the least. I was trying to figure out what made his guitar playing different, but it is hard to pinpoint, and I got too much into the music and stopped analyzing. He mixes elements of hip hop, folk, pop and country ballads to come out with something quite his own. Oh, there are sounds I can find in here whether he means it or not – like there is definitely a Jack Johnson sound to his voice … except he varies his delivery a LOT more than Johnson does, has a wider range. Thank goodness.
I listened to a CD sample of his called The Yellow Rose – IE, an EP – and he has a full CD coming out in the fall, apparently. What was interesting in these well produced songs on the CD was that, actually, the brilliant guitar playing does NOT come out. But a lot of other elements do. And you realize listening to the six songs together that he has another advantage in being a rare musician whose songs do not all sound alike!
Oh, it was a cool thing for me too that as I went to ask him for his name he said, “Are you Brad Spurgeon?” Yeah! This blog does it again. Turns out he found the Ptit Bonheur la Chance and the Pop In through this blog. Also turns out he’s doing European tour kind of similar to my worldwide tour of open mics. So all together a very satisfying evening on that front.
But he was not the only one at the Ptit Bonheur who gave me food for musical thought and musings. I had seen these two women there in past weeks but never heard them play. Last night I listened to this duo calling themselves Skins of the Count. Their French accent made me do a real double take when I heard them pronounce the name through the mic, and I had completely misinterpreted the last word. But afterwards they confirmed the REAL name of the band.
What’s interesting with them is daring, unusual lyrics, and original delivery. The execution really has to be worked on, but there is gold in the making here.
I played my songs, others played theirs, it was a quiet, but full and interesting night in the beginning of the hot summer in Paris.