Sleeper Artist: The Soothing Sounds of Syd and Tristan

13 08 2007

by maddness


Everyone has their own “Chill List”; you know, those lists you see online that have a clever (for lack of a better word) name of “Chillax” or “Evening Chillout”. Upon creating a version of said list, the Cacophony crew realized it was possible to create such a playlist that was only comprised of two artists.

Syd, a guitar stringing artist who rides on the road to success paved by the likes of Dave Matthews Band, can put you to sleep with his tunes or force you to nod your head to the beat. It’s your choice. A track can be relaxing and passionate at the same time, and Syd proves that. On the surface, Syd is just a guy with his guitar who was lucky enough to be born in a world which John Mayer and Gavin DeGraw are successful. Unlike the above mentioned, Syd’s stylings contain a certain duality that can lack in this genre. The song “The Bottom” off Syd’s 2003 release Fault Lines, can give you one of two options. First, you could throw on the track and smoke one by a rainy window, because you are indeed “at the bottom again”, as the song sings. However, as soon as the chorus ramps up with an intense, but subtle guitar lead-in, you find yourself wanting to rock along with it. So, you break up with your significant other and want to boast the “I Don’t Care About You Anymore Anyway” attitude…put on “The Bottom” and nod along to the intensity that is a mellow song.

“The Bottom” line here is to pick up Syd’s latest release The Way We Found It. Dropped in April 2007, this album was produced by Danny Weinkauf (Fountains of Wayne), pairing Syd with his third producer in as many albums. The switching of producers does not seem to add to a conflict “witches’ brew” of broken promises from a label or misrepresentation you hear so much about in the music world. Instead, it has added to Syd’s resume in only a positive way, as he has worked with producers linked with artists Jack Johnson and the above mentioned Fountains of Wayne.

If you can only get one relaxing album, and it’s not The Way We Found It, then make it Twenty Three from the ever-so talented Tristan Prettyman. Prettyman also rides the “Dave Matthews” genre success wave, but also boasts a little Sarah McLaughlin, Ben Harper, and Jack Johnson in there as well, all the while maintaining a unique sound. Again, do you nod your head or lay back on the porch and take a nap? You can do either with Prettyman’s Twenty Three.

The soft, sweet tone of her voice can easily place any of her songs on a “sleep list”, but lyrics on a track like “As Simple As It Should Be” or “Breathe” can beg to differ at times. When one finds oneself agreeing with lyrics in a song, it ususally means there is enough passion on the recording to give it some fire. As is the case with Syd’s “The Bottom”, “As Simple As It Should Be” can settle you down on a rainy day or prove to yourself that your ex is a *****. Either way, both albums are worth snagging. Also worth taking a hear is the duet on Prettyman’s album with Jason Mraz, “Shy That Way”. It is only a matter of time before movie soundtrack creators locate this one.

Minor side note: Syd and Tristan Prettyman are both well noted for putting on superb live sets, mostly at smaller venues. However, when you look through upcoming concert listings, don’t immediately rule out a Matt Nathanson (just an example) show, as reflex would try and make you do. Syd and Prettyman are constantly found as “undercards” for artists in these genres, but nine times out of ten, will outshine the headliner. The recommendation in this case would be to buy Matt Nathanson tickets just to see Tristan Prettyman. Do it.



One response

15 04 2009
Heartburn Home Remedy

The topic is quite hot in the net at the moment. What do you pay the most attention to while choosing what to write about?

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