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Chasing The American Dream

March 28, 2007


I wonder if this was how it was 40 years ago when Simon and Garfunkel first started out. A small club, a smallish crowd, and a small stage. This is what I was thinking sitting in the parking lot watching Joshua Radin get off his tour bus. Why mention S&G? Well if you've ever listened to Josh Radin you'd understand.

I first heard him while watching Zach Braff’s movie, The Last Kiss. Like Garden State, I thought for sure I was listening to yet another hidden S&G gem. But when I got home to Google the movie, I found out that it wasn't S&G but someone I'd never heard of. The aforementioned Radin. And so I bought the movie soundtrack and Radin’s CD and have been a fan ever since.

Josh Radin is what I would call a throwback. Acoustically dominated songs with folk sounding vocals, simple harmonies to go along with a unique orchestration of background cellos and an old-school upright bass. As my eyes panned the dark, smoke-filled club, I observed that once again, I was probably the oldest person by far in the room. I'm not sure what exactly that means, but sometimes I wish my generation would get a clue that there's some amazing music in today’s world beyond Steely Dan or The Doobie Brothers, Journey, etc.

Aah, the Culture Room. So many great concerts and memories and this was no exception. The opening act was Schuyler Fisk who I'd day is sorta the female version of Josh Radin. Using Josh’s band, Schuyler (pronounced skyler) played a cool jazzy set of mellow acoustic songs and wispy, breathy vocals. There was something familiar about her smile, and I couldn’t quite place it. My Blackberry solved the mystery for me. That smile, believe it or not, appeared in the movie Orange County. Yes, she’s one and the same. Sissy Spacek’s daughter who starred opposite Colin Hanks in a really enjoyable movie. She’s now focused on a singing career, and she's working on her first CD. I think she's gonna hit it big so be on the lookout for her.

Josh came on stage looking like he had just awaken. Bedhead-looking, unshaven, t-shirt, jeans, and bare feet. The sparse crowed of 100 or so gave him a warm reception. He asked Schuyler to come out and join him for his opening song, “Star Mile.” (click first video below). Wow, the song was as pure as Ivory Soap and 99 44/100% Simon and Garfunkelesque. The combination of the vocals, harmonies, and strings was amazing. Radin’s second song, another selection from his “We Are Here” CD, was another soft acoustic melody called “These Photographs.” Again, he sang it beautifully. His vocals matched those of Fisk’s, soft, wispy, and breathy. He really sounded like a combination of both Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel with his ability to hit high registers cleanly and clearly. He told the audience he became a musician as a result of a break-up. He dated a troubled girl for six years and once she righted herself, she left him. He wrote “Sundrenched World” and “Only You” reflecting his bitter memories. He sang his first written song, “Winter,” which was featured on Scrubs. Scrubs and The Last Kiss. Yes, both Zach Braff projects. Josh relayed that the two are great friends from college days. He also told us about the moving lullaby ”Everything’s Gonna Be Alright” which he wrote while babysitting a friend’s one-year-old boy during Hurricane Katrina.

He played a 12-song set before returning for a two-song encore which included Schuyler and their popular duet, “Paper Weight,” which they co-wrote. The song also appeared on the Last Kiss soundtrack. Radin and Fisk once again sang brilliantly (click bottom video below). There seemed to be some connection with those two although they never mentioned it. Fisk did mention she recently fell in love. More googling confirmed the two are dating. Although each performer is trying to make it individually, together they make an incredible sound. They were given a standing ovation after the last song. It’s rare when you’re close enough to the performers where they actually make eye contact at you and smile. A moment I’ll never forget. All that for $10? Are you kidding me? It was the deal of the century. Radin and Fisk coming to a city near you. Go see them. They have my full recommendation.

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  • I agree. I recently found out about them too, and like them a lot. May I also suggest a duo team? Try "The Weepies".

    By Anonymous Alexis, at 9:46 PM, March 28, 2007  

  • I, too, often wonder about the people/crowds at certain concerts. What makes up the demographics may have something to do with the geographic location...no? I bet if you were to see Radin & Fisk somewhere else, say San Fran (?) or Gville, then maybe it would be a different story, different people.
    I don't know....just a thought. To me, SoFla has never been down to earth, but, instead, hip-hopish. Which may explain the lack of coffee houses and the abundance of bootie clubs :)

    By Anonymous Cat, at 2:43 PM, March 29, 2007  

  • awesome review, i cant wait to see them live...i'm more of a schuyler fan, but JR is amazing too. you really captured their brilliance :)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:32 PM, March 29, 2007  

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