Dedicated artist churns out the songs

Young musician releasing second CD with performance this Saturday

Jesse Thomas Brown says he’s not nearly as interesting as the characters he describes in his songs – which may be true.

Or, it might just be that the tenacious singer-songwriter is far more comfortable sitting at a keyboard than selling himself to the masses.

“I’m not great at self-promotion,” he said. “It’s hard to try to convince someone to listen to you without sounding arrogant.”

Brown, 32, has just completed his second album of piano-driven pop-rock. An Idiot’s Tale is named from the opening lines of Shakespeare’s MacBeth and dedicated to his hero, comedian George Carlin, who died during its production.

“It’s an obsession,” he said of his self-recorded work. “I started playing the piano when I was 14 and once I got good enough at it that it was fun, it (became) an all-consuming thing.

A composer since the age of 16, Brown has been compared to everyone from Bruce Springsteen and Elton John to James Taylor – comparisons that highlight a style not as common among today’s emerging artists.

“He almost has an old-fashioned sensibility and approach to his music and a kind of theatrical flare, which is what I enjoy about it,” said Lap of Luxury Sound Studios owner Scott Bennett.

He and engineer Scott Henderson worked on the recording of Brown’s 2008 CD, Tanglewood.

For his latest disc, Brown consulted with Henderson and Bennett and recorded both the instrumental and vocal parts from his Saanich home.

“I think of myself as a songwriter who sings,” Brown said. “To me, singing is just a means to expressing a song. I’m certainly not a great singer by any stretch.”

The only instrument he didn’t play on An Idiot’s Tale is drums, a role filled by his second-cousin, Grade 12 Belmont band student Lucas Johnson.

“It’s real. It’s not the hip hop stuff you hear on the radio that’s over-produced … It’s well thought-through and well-written and actually means something,” Johnson says of the music.

“Instrumentally, it’s different. You don’t hear piano (with) singing much anymore. It’s really refreshing to hear that, instead of (the) auto-tuned dance music you hear on the radio.”

Both of Brown’s albums have sprung from a 65-song repertoire he wrote over 10 years. While he doesn’t officially launch his second CD until this weekend, he already has half of the recording finished for his third, tentatively titled The Passenger Waits.

Never too far from his home studio, Brown, an avid reader and lover of figure skating – he’s a former skater himself – can be found walking his dog, Ainsley, and listening to his current favourite artists: Randy Newman, Eleisha Eagle and yes, Lady Gaga.

“He’s highly dedicated to that calling,” Bennett said of Brown.

“He’s a pretty genuine singer-songwriter kinda dude. I haven’t run across anyone quite yet that spends that amount of time in the writing of the material.”

nnorth@saanichnews.com

Check it out

• What: An Idiot’s Tale CD release party, with special guest Katie Schaan

• Where: The Fort Café, 742 Fort St.

• When: Sept. 10. Doors open at 7 p.m., showtime at 9 p.m.

• Tickets: $10 in advance at The Fort and Picnic Café, $12 at the door.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Meet Arthur Heart, Oak Bay Avenue’s resident stickman

Contest winner dubs stickman Art Heart

Victoria council keeps its catered lunches at more than $10,000 per year

Two councillors tried to eliminate the expense, with widespread rejection

All Carlton Cards stores closing in the coming weeks

Schurman Retail Group stores across North America will close, including 79 in Canada

UPDATED: 12 Wet’suwet’en supporters arrested by VicPD

Protesters rallied against Coastal GasLink pipeline

Four things ‘not’ to do if you run into Prince Harry and Meghan in B.C.

Here is a list of some things you definitely should NOT do, according to the BBC

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Jan. 21

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

B.C. RCMP spent roughly $750K on massive manhunt for Port Alberni men

Manitoba RCMP helped with 17-day search through the province’s northern terrain

Island Bakery in Cobble Hill to close

Cobble Hill store in business since 1982

Man killed by police in Lytton called 911, asking to be shot: RCMP

Howard Schantz, also known as Barry Schantz was killed following a standoff at his Lytton home

Canadian public health agencies ramping up preparations in response to new virus

Health officials have said there are no confirmed cases of the emerging coronavirus in Canada

‘Naughty boy’: Monty Python star Terry Jones dies at 77

The comedian has been suffering from a rare form of dementia

Most Read