Five years ago, Brett Dennen was a camp counselor who played guitar, wrote songs and performed fireside. With a self-made album, he began playing coffee shops along the West Coast and a devoted following formed. A modest independent record deal led first to his 2006 break-through album, So Much More, then to the attention of music critics, programmers and established artists. Noting his success, Rolling Stone Magazine named Brett one of the “10 Artists To Watch in 2008.”
With the release of Hope For The Hopeless, the folk and rock influenced singer/songwriter’s authenticity, willingness to weave meaning into his melodies and reputation as one of the best new live performers, Brett calls to mind his influences. Drawing on a deep appreciation of Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell and World artists, Hope For The Hopeless is a narrative-rich album from an artist who was aptly summed up by Grammy winning musician John Mayer, who said, “He’s timeless. He’s probably twenty-five but he seems like he’s twenty-five in 1972.”
In fact, several musicians have given Brett the “nod.” He has toured with Mayer and received praise from Michael Franti and Jason Mraz. Femi Kuti flew in specifically to record with Dennen and the collaboration is the new album’s first single, “Make You Crazy.”
The song is deceptively infectious. Brett explains, “I made the song catchy but it’s about all the injustice in the world – ‘it’s enough to make you go crazy…and I’m amazed I haven’t yet.’ ”
Hope For The Hopeless contains eleven songs narrowed down from forty-three with the help of multi-platinum producer John Alagia (John Mayer, Dave Matthews Band). Themes of frustration buffered by optimism are consistent throughout. “San Francisco” is an uptempo, amusing response to heartbreak. “Heaven,” which Brett describes as “the whole album in one song,” is “about being consumed with day-to-day struggles, wondering if there’s more out there, and trying to remember that things can get better. It takes being present to a bigger picture.”
The album was recorded at the Village Recorder Studios in Los Angeles in 2008 as Brett crisscrossed the country performing to audiences that doubled each time he returned. Denver-based concert promoter Don Strasburg told Billboard, “Brett is a textbook example that great songs, great musicianship and great personality win. His ticket sales increase exponentially on every trip to Colorado. He has gone from the smallest clubs to theaters in short time. We’re absolutely certain this will continue. He’s the real deal.”
“Real” is an apt word to describe the visually captivating performer whose smooth sound is in stark contrast to his persona. With long red hair, trademark headband and guitar held high on his frame, Brett appears an unlikely front man who nonetheless radiates confidence and ease in his own skin.
Raised in Northern California, Brett spent much of his time in the wilderness hiking, camping, learning survival skills and eventually teaching his own students and campers of mixed backgrounds. His thoughts on human rights and environmentalism are apparent in his lyrics and in his life-style. He created an organization called Love Speaks that literally provides local activists and nonprofits with a stage – Brett’s stage – to connect with his audience.
As the audience grows, Brett remains the folky, soulful, witty and insightful artist that first captured hearts in California coffee houses. Having toured with performers such as John Mayer, the John Butler Trio, Rodrigo y Gabriela and Ben Folds, Dennen has become a headliner in his own right and plans a significant headlining tour in early 2009.
HOPE FOR THE HOPELESS is released on june the 6th on V2/cooperative music.
Official Brett Dennen website here or
Check out his myspce here