Jeff Hanson's voice may be unique, but it has very little to do with the actual sound of it. Rather, the St. Paul, Minnesota singer-songwriter's musical vocabulary and songwriting prowess makes his oft-mentioned high voice seem like a moot point.
Hanson cut his teeth playing in Midwestern emo-rockers M.I.J., but opted to trade the Marshalls for Martins upon going solo. Jeff was signed to Olympia, Washington's influential Kill Rock Stars label based on a demo alone, to give you an idea of what kind of first impression the singer/songwriter leaves. His first solo album, 2003's critically acclaimed Son, followed, to almost unanimously glowing reviews.
While fan's of Son won't be disappointed to find any real departures on Jeff Hanson, they will be struck by the vast maturity the young songwriter has undergone since that album. No, he's not singing baritone now. But the new album's songs are more fleshed out than its predecessor, concentrated as ever on the craft of songwriting, sonically bolder, and more meticulously arranged. It also shows Hanson, having already paid his respect to his record collection, continuing to find his own songwriting voice.
Following in the tradition of great songwriters from John Lennon to Nick Drake, and great vocalists from the Everly Brothers to Simon & Garfunkel, Hanson's sweet falsetto and ear for melody distinguish each of the ten tracks on his new, self-titled album from any other artist. While reverent enough to leave telling footprints leading back to both the Beatles and Folkways legacies, Hanson's sound is all his own - he's just smart enough to have all the right influences.
You know those records where every track sounds like a dynamic first song or an epic last song? Albums you imagine were hard to sequence, because it's often difficult to front load an album of minor masterpieces? Albums on which every song catches you off guard? Albums that, even at close to an hour in length, breeze by like EPs? That's Jeff Hanson. Listen and hear for yourself.