Jake Morley: “Headstrong…Always used to be so headstrong…Now all I seem to do is falter…”

Jake Morley– The Lexington (May 24, 2014)

I go to A LOT of gigs (everyone knows that), but last night was one of the first times I ever came across a singer/songwriter (Jake Morely) with such breadth- a true amalgamation of various styles. Every song of Jake Morley‘s set had it’s own unique flavor, from funk to folk to gospel. Funny enough, he elaborates on why this is: “I set out to write varied songs because I’m a varied person. Also – I’m only just getting started, so I wanted my first album to act as an introduction. The songs on Many Fish To Fry are just like me – in parts heavy, light, elated, confused, serious, funny, random and whatever else. In isolation they might just be fragments, but put the fragments together and they hopefully form a coherent whole. That’s the idea anyway. After we’re best buds I can always make other albums that look at certain areas in more depth.”  I especially like when he laid his guitar flat across his lap, combining fingertaps with percussive slaps. The only artists I’d ever known to do that were Andy McKeeBen Howard, and Daniel Champagne, and I remember being utterly amazed. Jake’s set our to record some more new songs this summer, and from the ones he played last night, I don’t think I’ll be disappointed. One of my favorites was a song called Falter (aka ‘Headstrong’), where he unveils yet another bag of tricks: “Flicking your fingers across all the strings one after the other to make a harp-like sound.” https://vine.co/v/M9TWzVb5EzM  I remember thinking this was THE COOLEST THING because I’m a huge fan of the harp, and a it’s rare to find many harpists these days. I can’t wait to hear the full song and the FULL ALBUM. xxx




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Daniel Champagne: “When I told you I, was afraid to fall…really I, was afraid to fly…at all”

Daniel Champagne– The ESPY in St. Kilda, Melbourne

(May 14, 2012)

Meet Daniel Champagne, an incredible Aussie musician who I discovered just over 2 years ago at the ESPY in Melbourne, Australia. I am still blown away by his talent, and his desire to push the limits with guitar. His manic percussive skills and unique strumming/tapping/flicking of the guitar remind me a bit of Andy McKee and Gabriela (of Rodrigo y Gabriela), both of whom are highly-reputed and globally-recognized for their unique, progressive style and whom have defined a category ALL THEIR OWN. If you were listening to Dan’s music from the back of a room, you would think there was a FULL BAND on stage and would later be SHOCKED to find out it was only ONE MAN. Lastfm has described him “one of the most talked-about rising star of Australia’s next generation,” who “delivers one of the most impressive one-man-shows out there! Reaching to musical depth’s far beyond his years and a way with the guitar that can only be seen to be believed. Champagne often sounds closer to a three-piece band than the 21 year old singer songwriter guitarist now established as a renowned performer on both the Australian and international stage.” Along similar lines, music gurus at Byron Bluesfest 2014 have said, “Daniel Champagne exudes a natural ease on stage, as he sings poignant lyrics and beautifully crafted melodies that invariably whisk the heart up with grand romanticism. Coupled with an exhilarating guitar talent that transcends mere acoustic playing to replicate a whole band, Champagne is just magical.”

It also doesn’t hurt that this guitar prodigy (who yes, picked up this instrument at the age of 5), also has a  dreamy voice. Of the songs that I was lucky enough to get great videos of (see below), Nightingale and Losing Home are my favorites…(although Spoonful will definitely made your JAW DROP and KEEP IT THERE.) Nightingale begins with an incredibly beautiful guitar melody, and soon follows with a verse that immediately wraps your skin in chills:

“When I told you I was afraid to fall, really I, was afraid to fly…
When I told you I was afraid to fall, really I, was afraid to fly…AT ALL….”

Such a lovely song that really captures the notion of having to risk in order to reap rewards…having to “fall” in order to “fly.” Lyrics like this are such a good reminder that one should never lose hope in chasing those dreams, keeping those wings in flight. That idea reminds me of something someone once told me (and has stayed with me ever since): “Erica, you’re kinda like one of those birds that was “never meant to be caged”- Somehow, you’d make the cage take flight.”  YAAAS. Maybe I’m a “nightingale” in disguise. Haha.

Lose Home was another one that really raised the hair on my skin…another “dreamy song” (yes, you can hear me say this in the video) about the concept of losing “home” when you are living the nomadic lifestyle of a person chasing their dreams/goals: “Now we’re bound to roam…losing light, losing love, losing home.” Having gone to tons of gigs in these past 2 years, I’ve come to notice that SO MANY artists write songs about this vague notion of “home,” a place which probably becomes less and less linked to one specific geographical region and  instead extends to all the new places they’ve traveled and left their mark. All of the travel that comes along with touring has probably affected musicians in many ways– their dreams, judgements, priorities, values, sacrifices–and has molded their vision of what “home” should be. Dan got it right when he says that more more you “roam,” the more you likely you are to “lose home.” BUT, I think everyone ultimately figures it (“home”) out in time. x

Next up in the set was I Grew Up Where I Could See the Stars, which Dan attributes to the New South Wales region where he is from, and possibly will be “home’ again one day. Another beaut that seems to just make all of those trouble melt away…

Dan’s encore was Spoonful, a very technical guitar song that really SHOWED OFF his impressive, jaw-dropping guitar skills that “no one else could possibly play unless they spent at least two lifetimes studying the art” (The BW Review). I remember  laughing deliriously because I was in such a stuper from it all, and couldn’t believe that I was watching a prodigy FOR FREE when I have paid substantial money to see musicians not nearly HALF AS GOOD. I clearly wanted more than just a “Spoonful” of this! x

Since that surprise treat of a gig two years back in Melbourne, Dan has done very well for himself. He’s traveled North America, the United Kingdom, Europe, New Zealand and of course, his homeland Australia playing such festivals as Vancouver and Mariposa Folk (Canada), Belgium’s Labadoux Festival and Australia’s Woodford, Falls Festival, Port Fairy Folk Festival and the legendary Byron Bay Bluesfest. During these tours, he’s shared stages with likes of Lucinda Williams, Judy Collins, INXS, John Butler, KT Tunstall and Ani DiFranco (who he supported), and has also independently released three EPs (‘My Own Design,’ ‘Wide Eyed and Open’, and ‘Real Live Offering‘) and a debut album (‘Pint of Mystery‘). Dan has recently signed to US booking agency Fleming Artists and has relocated to North America where he continues to tour. CHECK HIM OUT AND THANK ME LATER! 😉



Loosing Home

I Grew Up Where I Could See the Stars



Daniel CHampagne