Denver's acoustic music scene just got a big boost of soul in newcomer Brent Joyce.
The young North Carolina native has opened for the late folk icon Doc Watson and played for crowds ranging from five people to 3,000.
Sounding a bit like a cross between John Mayer and Dave Matthews with the weightiness of Jack Johnson, Joyce's album Out of the City, showcases strong chords and a mature sound that surpasses his 27 years. But, young at heart, he's still not afraid to throw some rap-turned-acoustic curveballs when he plays live either.
Joyce took some time away from playing to chat with The Huffington Post about his musical influences, honing his talents through playing bluegrass, and Denver's music scene. He'll be playing at Herman's Hideaway July 19.
Where are you from originally?
North Carolina, I was living overseas before I came out here. I was in Rome for like three years. I was out here for like a day, and I saw there was an Art Institute and decided to get my graphic design degree here.
How do you feel about the music scene here in Denver?
I feel like it’s extremely eclectic. It’s certainly different, you know? It’s way more diverse than I thought it would be and I thought that lent a lot more freedom to my music.
There’s a lot of cool stuff going on in this town.
How long have you been playing?
I started performing when I was 16, and now I’m 27 so this is my 11th year.
I haven’t taken any lessons -- I didn’t really -- I’m not classically trained or anything. In high school, there were some bluegrass players, and these guys are like totally talented, but it’s not my style. But I’d play with them.
I’m not really big on theory, I wish I were, but I’m not really classicly trained or anthing.
How would you describe your music?
I have a really hard time explaining that, I feel like some of it’s acoustic, some acoustic pop, some rockstar stuff. I also went through a weird rap phase. It’s important to me to be able to reach out to a lot of different people. Like Ray Charles who explored everything, that kind of freedom is why music is great for me.
Speaking of Charles, who are some of your artistic influences?
Growing up, going to school my mom always played the oldies station, Sam Cooke, the Temptations, but it’s also like Dave Matthews and Radiohead.
Going back in my mind, it always goes back to car rides. It’s an emotional connection. My grandfather and I used to play old country in the car. That period with my grandfather was like Randy Travis, so I really prefer older country, not really the new stuff. With my mom it was the pop scene.
But it’s always been pretty mixed. I remember me getting an MC Hammer tape, and the Lion King tape, which is kind of embarrassing.
I’ll still cover [songs], I take rap songs from like Biggie Smalls and turn them acoustic, which people seem to like, strangely. I like a lot of R&B too.
What subjects do you find yourself writing about most often?
I write a lot about women, I know that’s bad (laughs). I’ve been in some interesting relationships so you know as a writer that tears you into a bunch of different directions.
Half of it’s thrown in the garbage.
Local artists you listen to?
I’m so broke as a student, I tend to not go out so much (laughs). I’ve done the Sante Fe walk though and those guys are some good musicians.
I am also starting to play with some musicians out here with some local guys.
One of the guys is Dan Buckley, and he’s been a longtime musician and a big guitar player, and the other guy who I just met just a couple of days ago is David Stasney.
How many songs/albums/ep’s have you written?
As far as songs I’ve probably written over 200 songs.
I’ve written probably two albums of full material that I’d release.
Where can listeners find you?
I’ve been playing, not so much recently, I’ve been doing lots of private stuff like playing at peoples house’s, in the Highlands, jamming downtown, and I play at a church called Pathways. It’s nondenominational, it’s a really cool place, everybody’s young and it’s a really cool environment.
What’s next for you?
I think I’d really like to get a lot of attention to this project. I think the next thing is to finish my CD, that I’m almost finished writing.
Then to suddenly make our group a bigger thing in Denver
LISTEN to Brent Joyce's Out Of The City on Spotify below: