Not Jeff Buckley, but...

Musicians in coffee shops have a hard lot. Since coffee houses aren't music venues, and people often flock to them to read and write in peace, many talents are hit with a cold reception. Even Ray LaMontagne had this problem, believe it or not. I myself go to coffee shops to work in anonymity among strangers. When a musician sets up, I feel for them, but don't particularly appreciate the feeling of obligation I have to remove my hands from the keyboard and clap after every song.

But that has all changed. Nathan Gaunt stepped into Portfolio coffee shop while I was hiding out in Long Beach, and he blew us away. All of us. We forgot our books, laptops and our Blackberries be damned. If this guy doesn't become famous, I will lose all hope in the music industry and never turn the radio on again.

Although Nathan Gaunt shies from the comparison to Jeff Buckley, (his influences were Jeff's father Tim Buckley and Led Zeppelin) I must say it: he sounds a lot like Jeff. Buckley's album Grace was beautifully haunting already, but his early death catapulted him to cult status. Nathan Gaunt has the potential to alleviate the angst of any longtime mourners. His angelic voice is also filled with blues and melancholy, vulnerable yet halting. He has nimble guitar fingers and a fun, jaunty live set that makes patrons endear themselves to him. It was no small coincidence that one of his entourage was a laid back, knowing lady by the name of Leah Reid, whom is credited on a couple of Jeff Buckley albums, including Grace.

Nathan Gaunt is a native Australian. Lord knows what country he's in at the moment, but I feel a moral obligation to share his music. You will not be disappointed.

Nathan Gaunt official site

Nathan Gaunt on MySpace

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