This Tulsa-born, New Orleans-raised, and L.A.-residing singer-songwriter is leading the Hotel Cafe pack, as far as I can tell. He’s come through Santa Barbara a couple times now, both before and after blowing up on the national scene thanks to KCRW, South By Southwest, and songs on MTV, HBO, and indie films. Being named the best songwriter of 2005 by L.A. Weekly doesn’t hurt either.
This album, which was picked up by Defend Music after SXSW, is full of heartache and happiness. Somehow, AM manages to weave sad-leaning lyrics into upbeat, positive melodies, much like the SoCal sunshine warms your heart even when you’re brain’s gone cold from sitting in traffic for hours. His tunes are much like life: amidst pain and troubled times, we find hope and learn how to smile. AM manages to be serious without being sappy and poppy without the saccharine. It’s not immediately apparent who he sounds like, if that’s what you’re wondering. But to me, that’s a good thing.
AM makes another appearance at SOhO this coming Tuesday, November 14, as part of the Element songwriter series. He’ll be accompanied by Chris Pierce, another up-and-comer on the L.A. singer-songwriter scene. See sohosb.com or call 962-7776 for tickets.