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Album Review

Jazz-influenced singer/songwriter Spencer Day's third studio effort and debut for Concord Records, 2009's Vagabond is a softly cinematic piece of crossover pop that positions Day as a kind of thinking man's crooner, or at least a crooning storyteller. A piano player with a burnished baritone voice and a knack for literate moody ballads, Day will of course draw quick and easy comparisons to other similarly inclined contemporaries like Peter Cincotti, Jamie Cullum, and Norah Jones — which, though true enough, slightly reduces Day's own weighty album presence. Vocally, Day has a bit of the emotional swagger of Michael Bublé leavened with just enough downtrodden urban skew as to make one think Day has, at the least, listened to Tom Waits. This is especially true on such cathartic pop moments as the character song "Joe" and the lilting and soulful title track. Elsewhere, Day evinces a kind of '60s Elvis quality on the slippery-slick opening number, "Till You Come to Me," and brings to mind a young Harry Connick, Jr. on the slow swinger "I Got a Mind to Tell You." However, it is such superb tunes as the yearning love song "Out of My Hands" and the would-be classic "Maybe (Tuesday Morning)" that help Vagabond rise above the crossover fray and reach toward something more akin to the best of Harry Nilsson and Randy Newman. Ultimately, all of Vagabond is immaculately produced, and a steady mix of strings, horns, and other "old-school" elements — combined with Day's own creative merits — helps color the album as a kind of latter-day traditional pop love letter.


Born: Ogden, UT

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '00s, '10s

American singer/songwriter/pianist Spencer Day's effortless blend of classic jazz, pop, soul, and folk has drawn comparisons to everyone from Harry Connick, Jr. to Jamie Cullum. Born in Utah and raised in Arizona by his mother, who was an accomplished music teacher and lyric soprano, Day spent his formative years soaking in the works of Cole Porter, George Gershwin, Joni Mitchell, and Paul Simon. Upon relocating to Los Angeles, Day released his debut album, Introducing Spencer Day, in 2004 on the...
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