The fist thing that we noticed about Canadian DIY multi-instrumentalist, singer and songwriter, Joel Strauss is his voice – nasally, but somehow tolerable (like Dylan and others), even likable. The best comparison we can think of at the moment is that he sounds a bit like Colin Meloy of The Decemberists. In subsequent spins of Strauss’ songs over the ensuing months, we got to like his music all more and more, most especially the two singles included below.
Strauss has a remarkable sonic palette that is evident on his debut album, Don’t Lose That Feeling, DIY released on January 18th. He skillfully weaves together various styles, like pop, rock and folk into his songs, together with intelligent and inspiring lyrics. And that voice – one which some will turn away from, and others will embrace. Strauss’ music is ‘grower’ style, although there are sure to be listeners who like his music right away.
Adding to the well-deserved kudos, Strauss is basically a one-man band. That is, he not only writes, composes, and sings his own songs, he also plays acoustic and electric guitars, bass, drums, and piano, and then mixes them on his own into the final product. That takes a special talent, and it is reflected in the music.
It’s probably the most enduring and impressive aspects of One-Man Bands, and probably a big reason why the One-Man Band series on IRC has been so popular for so long – because other listeners also not only like the songs, but they also appreciate and admire someone who can do it all, from A to Z, to put an album out with virtually no help from anyone else.
That’s the wonder of today’s technological advances and the fact that a musician does not need a studio, producer, engineer, record label, distributor, publicist, manager, nor a lot of money, in order to put out their own material.
The artistic freedom and the unfettered control the musician has over his own music over the past decade is the music revolution of the new millennium, and it has opened the floodgates to endless streams of incredibly talented musicians around the globe. And Strauss is one of the best One-Man Bands we’ve heard in a while (and promise there are more coming up).
Strauss currently lives in the small town of Kelowna in British Columbia. We strongly recommend going to listen to more of his music if you enjoy these two standout DIY/One-Man Band singles.