John Joseph Brill to play Liverpool’s Studio 2 in May

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John Joseph Brill

John Joseph Brill

Blessed with a rich and intoxicating baritone voice, Getintothis’ Paul Higham reports on a just announced intimate headline show for the seductive John Joseph Brill

With acclaim for his debut EP, Pieces, still ringing in our ears, John Joseph Brill has announced an intimate gig at Liverpool’s Studio 2 on 13 May.

If you’ve yet to succumb to the charms of Brill‘s seductive and warm baritone then you could be forgiven. With a debut EP just released he hasn’t been around all that long but that only heightens the appeal of his forthcoming gig. It is always special to see a talent in an intimate environment you just know he will quickly outgrow.

Brill has been around music for pretty much his whole life. The son of a music producer and a pop singer Brill made his first tentative forays into music as a teenager, concentrating primarily on lyrics. Picking up a guitar at sixteen he began to put music to what, with typical self-deprecation, he refers to as “sixth form poetry“.

While he spent time fronting a doom folk outfit called Burning Beard before hanging around the luminaries of the West London alt-folk scene he has always pursued his own vision away from the prevailing fads of the age. As a teenager he would lock himself away listening to Neil Young records and honing his craft.

Although referring to his EP, and its title track, in modest terms, “about an individual who starts off with such staunch principles – politically, morally, whatever, in a very idealistic sense – only to later betray those essentially for the sake of making money“, doing so seems to deliberately undersell its virtues.

The prime virtue of Brill‘s music lies in its honesty and its ability to offer a window into his inner thoughts without ever sounding laden with cliché. Lyrics such as “just because I don’t cry doesn’t mean I don’t grieve” illustrate the personal nature of his songs. Contemplative and delicate, it bears comparison to the more confessional aspects of The National and Nick Cave both lyrically as well as in its immersive soundscapes.

However what defines him is his voice, evocative and rich yet hinting at the bittersweetness of experience that keeps it unfailingly sincere. It wraps around you like an enveloping sonic hug on a cold day.

He was scheduled to support BC Camplight on his aborted tour earlier this year but this gig should provide ample opportunity for Brill to step into the limelight as a headline act in his own right.

Tickets for the Studio 2 show are available here.

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