- Category: Volume 88 (Fall 2016 - Spring 2017)
- Published: 20 April 2017
- Written by NICOLE SEITZ | COPY EDITOR
They say some of the best music is made from the soul, but did they ever say the best music could be recorded in your own home? The king of "homebrew" jazz, Kellan Brennan, recorded his first EP (extended play) entirely in his living room.
Brennan has been working on these songs since his sophomore year of college. Now, he is a senior communication student who does the vocals, piano, and co-produced his EP, Kellan Brennan EP. Senior music industry student, Will Saulsky, did drums, co-produced, and mastered, while Jon Bass, junior music industry student, played upright and electric bass and Erin Holmes, MU graduate, added some more vocals.
Brennan said on recording in his living room, "We wanted this project to be completely independent. It's nice to record at home where there's no time constraints and everything is really comfortable."
As college students, it's hard to afford anything, let alone pay thousands of dollars to go to a professional studio. However, finances didn't stop Brennan and his band from making some awesome music.
Dave DePaola, senior music industry student and president of Blue Hawk Records, said, "Kellan and Will really know how to make the best of a home studio. They are capable of matching or even surpassing the sound quality of professional studios in the area."
The EP definitely has a very original sound that could only be created by Brennan. "I really wanted to develop a sound that reflected who I am," Brennan continues, "I listen to and play a lot of styles and I wanted to find something that was congruent but combined different influences."
"Charlie and the Waitress" is the first song on the EP. The overall vibe of the song is very chill and the message of the song seems to be simple and cute. The classic ‘boy meets girl, they have a love connection’ kind of tune with the classic piano man jazz flare is what Brennan is best at. Holmes' backing vocals during the chorus sound amazing and really add another dimension. I am a fan of female and male vocals coming together for any type of music; the sound is pure and organic.
"It's Not That Way" is the second song, and the beginning reminds me of a 90's rock pop vibe. The lyrics and story in the song are a little angsty because the song seems to be about someone who doesn't understand how the world really works. The gang vocals in the chorus give the song a bit of an indie feel, which is a nice twist on the jazzy piano playing.
The next track, "Burgundy, The French Girl," is a classic male-female duet. There's nothing overly complicated about the song, but Brennan and Holmes’ back and forth vocals really make you feel something. I can't think of a better way to describe it. The words and the emotion behind the voices just make you feel for these New Orleans lovers in the song.
"Half A Love Song" has a Jazz/alternative rock/indie (emphasis on the alt rock part) feel more than any other song on the EP. The rhythm section is much more prevalent in this song, while keeping the piano strong as well. Brennan is great at telling a story in his lyrics, and this song is no exception. The lyrics and the music make you feel exactly what all the ups and downs of falling in love are what being hurt by love feels like, while still being able to just bob your head along and enjoy the music.
"Old Soul" is the last track on the EP. This song was originally recorded on Blue Hawk Records 7th compilation album, Shades of Blue; Brennan decided to re-record it to "get it perfect." Originally he had recorded the song live in Lakehouse Studios – vocals and everything. This time around he decided to focus on making it the best possible performance to record. This song is your classic piano man jam about a pretty girl at the bar who's "just an old soul," as the song says.
The EP overall is so unique and unlike anything I've ever heard before. Brennan described the songs as a combination of singer/song-writer lyrically in depth compositions with his jazzy piano player feel.
Brennan started to focus on music when he got into college. While his singing voice may be considered to sound untrained, it adds to the whole organic feel of his style of music. Brennan was going for a very minimalist sound while recording and producing this EP. "So many records today are about the production and digital effects as opposed to the actual song," said Brennan.
The whole do it yourself (DIY) aspect of this project is what makes the EP and the sound so different from anything else, and really emphasizes the arts and crafts of music.
Brennan will be playing at McLoone's Rum Runner in Sea Bright this Friday night 8-11 p.m. He is also going to be a regular at Moonstruck in Asbury Park for the summer starting in May every Friday night 6-10 p.m. Brennan will also be a part of Point Pleasant Summer Fest on June 3. Don't forget to check out his EP which is available on Spotify, SoundCloud, iTunes, Apple Music, and Bandcamp.
IMAGE TAKEN from http://www.wmcx.com