Once again I’ve been handed a gem of an artist across the wires. Here at The Alternative Music Blog, I’m always looking to find new artists far and wide that have the ability to enrich this wide genre, helping you expand your iPod artist catalog. This past week while recovering from the flu, I’ve been listening to another such artist, Jaan Landheer.
At first listen, my first thought was, “This music is a cross between Jack Johnson, Slightly Stoopid, and the Beach Boys without bass.” Upon further examination of his music, I still feel the balance of the albums could have a richer vocal depth, but it’s very soothing music that you can easily lose yourself within his words and simple melodies. The light guitar work with the simple percussion woven throughout the background lends to the coffee shop feel of his music. I’d love a chance to hear him live, since it seems that he’d be particularly good in person.
This jazz pianist who studied at UC Santa Cruz and also learned guitar, weaves his words and notes together with his laid back rhythms. Occasionally, in some songs that jazz background jumps out, such as in his song “Afterlife,” but otherwise they tend to give way to more of a beach/reggae feel.
Jaan’s work with people who have been struggling with being homeless has definitely added depth to his words as well. His lyrics bend toward empathy with the plights of people trying to figure out their way through a less than easy lifestyle. His clean, clear vocals against the strummed chords fill your ears with the compassion he obviously feels. If you close your eyes, you can almost see him sitting on a high bar stool with his feet on the lower rung, strumming back while you sit starting into a crackling fire, sipping a cool beverage of your choice. Yep, it’s that kind of music. Simple, easy, touching, and filled with heart.
His album, Tristero can be purchased from iTunes. And perhaps with Jaan being located in California, we will have a chance to catch him out here in the valley. Or maybe check him out on a trip to the coast. I hear Santa Barbara is nice any time of the year!