Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.
In this afternoon’s edition of the Independent Spotlight, we’re going to be shining our gaze on Jeff Geoffray, a veteran independent musician that’s returned to the scene with a new studio endeavor, ‘Brand New Day.’ As a creative, Geoffray has made significant waves throughout the film industry in his career serving as a producer for a myriad of films. His resume is impressive, boasting name-drops the likes of Disney’s ‘Holes’ and Jackie Chan’s ‘Around the World in 80 Days.’ Are his musical pursuits as successful as the ones he’s aided in the cinemas? Let’s find out.
‘Brand New Day,’ a record that was produced by Jeff Robert, flirts with Americana and acoustic themes to consistent success. The album is very low-key, making the argument for its relevance through laser-sharp lyricism and execution. The opening of the record, ‘Hummingbird,’ is an exceptional insight into that style. Geoffray is beautifully accentuated by stunning steel guitar, acoustic meanderings, and an electric guitar so softly performed that it sounds like a Mark Knopfler composition.
“You are my angel tonight,” Geoffray croons on ‘Hummingbird’ over a soundscape with particularly sparse percussion. The tracks on ‘Brand New Day’ follow this formula to varying extents, which is refreshing. The sound isn’t overproduced or ostentatiously over the top. Instead, Geoffray’s songwriting and smooth voice are pushed to the forefront of the sound. The presence he commands over that atmosphere is rather lovely, reminiscent of the early 1970s singer songwriters.
‘My Luv U Song’ has a bit of a worldly flair, experimenting with gorgeous string sections and a violinist. That violinist gives the track a fascinating musical perspective, incorporating a sound akin to Bob Dylan’s ‘Hurricane.’ Lyrically, the track is doused in pop sensibility. Think Jim Croce - that’s the kind of sound you’re getting from Geoffray on ‘Brand New Day.’
‘Lorena’ has an Americana influence that seeps through its songwriting more so than the rest of the tracks on the record. Geoffray’s lyrical explorations are very Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, or the like. The instrumentation even follows that template, contemplating a mix between Spanish-influenced outlaw country and pop musings. As a result, that instrumentation is some of the best on the whole album.
The album’s titular song, ‘Brand New Day,’ definitely has a John Denver-esque sound to it. It’s admirable that Geoffray doesn’t feel like a clone of any of these singer songwriters. Instead, he feels like a culmination of some of their best elements, which is just fine in my book. Jeff Robert, the producer, fulfilled his role nicely, too. The intricacies of ‘Brand New Day,’ from the soft pianos to the occasional bass thumps, are noticeable and pleasant on a good sound system.
‘So so So’ changes direction in a very slight direction, and as a result, offers Geoffray’s most interesting vocal performance on the album. He shifts from a folksy crooner to being a bluesy, jazzy nightclub vocalist backed by a slick Hammond B3. It’s not foreign to the rest of the album, though. It complements the experience nicely. ‘Three Thousand Sons,’ the closer, experiments, too, harnessing a remarkably good atmospheric landscape.
‘Brand New Day’ is a fantastic record - one of the better independent singer songwriter records of the year thus far. Geoffray owes it to himself to delve deeper into the music scene. A good record like this almost makes me forget that he produced ‘Leprechaun 3.’ (I kid, but seriously, that film…) Check out Geoffray below!