Saturday, November 17, 2012

support local music!

The singer-songwriter genre might seem over-saturated, with aspiring musicians playing the same chord progressions on street corners and coffee shops from Maine to Seattle. But very few of them get it right. Holding an audience's attention requires a delicate balance of lyrics, delivery and style; of somehow managing to stand out from the crowd without losing that mellow vibe that's as familiar as a pair of worn-in shoes.

It also helps if you're riding the coattails of an enormously popular band on its farewell tour, as Garrett Duffy is. The harmonica player-turned-songwriter for Barefoot Truth (which just played its final shows in Massachusetts), Duffy has just released his first solo album, Drift East. Growing up in a log cabin in Alaska with a father who was a commercial fisherman, the inspiration from the album comes from Duffy's past as well as his slow migration from the Pacific coasts of Alaska to the shores of the Atlantic in New England where he now makes his home.

As you might expect, the album is strong on harmonica and guitar, but also tosses some banjo, mandolin, dobro and vocal harmonizing contributed by friends and bandmates. Produced by the Grammy-nominated Jack Gauthier, the sound doesn't stray far from the tried-and-true equation of acoustic guitars, catchy melodies and idealistic lyrics that fans of Jack Johnson, Dispatch or Dave Matthews (and, of course, Barefoot Truth) can't get enough of. But the biggest part of Garrett Duffy's musical charm may simply be the fact that he is a good person who cares about this world, and his honesty and generous spirit come through his music. When he's onstage jamming with friends, his happiness is contagious. And when he's not playing, he goes out and connects with people – not to sell merch, not to market himself, but because he likes doing it.

Garrett's album is out on iTunes and doing great, and I'm glad to help support him in his new adventures. Check it out at

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