Brendan James / Jesse Ruben
June 28, 2013
Brendan James is a singer-songwriter who accompanies himself on piano, called “a songwriter on the rise” by Entertainment Weekly. He constructed an 18-month tour in support of his debut album, The Day Is Brave, which was released by Decca Records in 2008 and placed in the Top 10 on Billboard’s Heatseekers chart. James and his producer Warren Huart (Augustana, the Fray, Howie Day) pushed the envelope in 2010 in terms of tempo and production. They emerged with a second album that kept the spotlight on James’s emotionally resonant voice and expressive piano playing. The self-titled album, Brendan James, had several songs featured on various television shows, including Private Practice, Bones, So You Think You Can Dance, and Army Wives. James has launched a successful Kickstarter campaign to raise money to promote his new album in addition to opening for Tyrone Wells for his U.S. tour during March and April of 2013.
23-year-old, Philly-bred singer-songwriter Jesse Ruben freely confides that he’s done a bit of “obsessing” over his second album, The Ones That Matter. Not that such anxiety is evident on the highly accomplished disc, the follow-up to Ruben’s self-released 2008 debut, Aiming for Honesty. Adding full-band accompaniment to his lush, soulful pop-rock, Ruben also stretches impressively as a writer on The Ones That Matter, achieving a near-novelistic sense of character and setting on finely hewn tracks like “A Lack of Armor,” “Bleeker and Sixth,” and “Unbreakable.” His relentless attention to detail pays off handsomely.