Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Jon Dee Graham: Beautifully Broken -- But Not A Muppet

I've finally come to the realization that Jon Dee Graham, one of the patron saints of the Austin, Texas music scene, is NOT a creation of Jim Henson.

Before just a few days ago, I must confess that while I wanted to like him, I never gave him much of a listen.  Jon Dee Graham's voice can best be compared to Tom Waits, an admittedly unoriginal and trite comparison.  But to me, I could never entirely banish the thought of Cookie Monster, clutching a macaroon, crooning his tunes.

That was my loss.  His January 2010 effort -- which I foolishly overlooked -- is filled with songs that make me say, "damn, I've been there."  And you have too.  The opening track -- the deceptively titled "Beautifully Broken," lays it on the line in a hurry:

struggle is just struggle
it's only struggle, nothing more
no pride no shame no dignity
in being sad and poor...
at least thats how I recall
not beautifully broken,
we're just broken that's all

From there, the album caroms through pretty much every thought that I have on any given day... even capturing some spot-on spirituality in two of the finest sorta-alt-country gospel songs I've heard in a long time ("Best" and "God's Gonna Give You What You Need").

It's no wonder that JDG was voted Musician of the Year at the annual SXSW back in '06 (which is happening now).  Goog the dude if you want to know his pedigree -- all I'm saying is it'd do your body and soul some good if you picked up a copy of his new effort.

As for his voice?  You'll get used to it. Trust me.

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