9 Songs, 36 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

With a seductive voice reminiscent of other top-flight singer-songwriters — think Elliott Smith, Cat Stevens, Nick Drake — songwriting skills that evince both literary and melodic ambitions and a backing ensemble that understands how to color the surroundings without drawing attention away from the song at hand, Los Angeles troubadour Gary Jules quietly amasses a hearty catalog of sadly overlooked gems. It's partly the unassuming nature of his delivery. Jules doesn't yell or scream and he doesn't jump on trends. In its place rests an old-fashioned devotion to his craft. Jules wrote the majority of the songs for Bird. during a Tuesday-night residency at the Hotel Café in Hollywood. The '70s keyboard-driven pop of "My Familiar" and the countryfied "The Road Beside the Highway" and "Ghosts In the Cotton," with their tight, desert harmonies and accompanying banjo and violin, serve as modern adaptations of the era when songwriters (Joni Mitchell, Jackson Browne) hit Los Angeles and set their songs in the living room for all to sit closely and listen.

EDITORS’ NOTES

With a seductive voice reminiscent of other top-flight singer-songwriters — think Elliott Smith, Cat Stevens, Nick Drake — songwriting skills that evince both literary and melodic ambitions and a backing ensemble that understands how to color the surroundings without drawing attention away from the song at hand, Los Angeles troubadour Gary Jules quietly amasses a hearty catalog of sadly overlooked gems. It's partly the unassuming nature of his delivery. Jules doesn't yell or scream and he doesn't jump on trends. In its place rests an old-fashioned devotion to his craft. Jules wrote the majority of the songs for Bird. during a Tuesday-night residency at the Hotel Café in Hollywood. The '70s keyboard-driven pop of "My Familiar" and the countryfied "The Road Beside the Highway" and "Ghosts In the Cotton," with their tight, desert harmonies and accompanying banjo and violin, serve as modern adaptations of the era when songwriters (Joni Mitchell, Jackson Browne) hit Los Angeles and set their songs in the living room for all to sit closely and listen.

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