I’m a little late on this one, but last week I took a trip to the Sidewalk Cafe to check out Joe Redding, an Americana singer of the old style. Redding is the poster boy for Millennial Management, an NYU start-up that is part talent agency and part artist collective. Ironic how much of the New Music Order likes to tie itself to nostalgia, but I guess irony is the new black. Redding’s music, videos, and aesthetic are all empty roads, faded lovers, and whiskey benders, despite the fact that he hails from the Northeast. I’ve noticed similar trends with other locals like the Blue Eyed Bettys or Caroline Reese and the Drifting Fifth (who I talked about in my last post)–Northeasterners taking up banjos and broken guitars and writing about open fields. From my cosmopolitan Manhattan standpoint, it almost feels like we’re trying to culturally appropriate ourselves, or reclaim some sort of long-lost American identity.
The boy’s got talent, though, and looks too, at that. A voice I’d want to qualify as “gravelly,” if not for the word’s overuse. I did try not to laugh every time I heard the word “coyote” sung on an upswing, but I guess you can’t blame someone for using tropes of the genre.
“For Old Time’s Sake” is a gem, so check it out here:
Here’s to the new millennium!