It was a free download of "Half Boyfriend" on the gay blog/website Towleroad that peaked my interest in actor/singer-songwriter Jay Brannan. His voice is completely distinctive and new. It doesn't really fit any traditional mold and I thought I was alone in thinking he's the male version of Joni Mitchell, but I read that comparison on his ITunes bio. Perhaps if Nick Drake, Janis Ian and Liz Phair all were mixed up in a blender you'd get his sound and songwriting skills.
After hearing the free download, I searched for more about him and came across all of his YouTube videos. All of his homemade videos are great, but it was his video for "Housewife" that I think really stands out. Jay sings, "I want to be a housewife" and goes on to describe his perfect boyfriend/husband that he "hasn't met." The video pictures gay domestic bliss behind Jay as he sings. It's such a well written song and if sung by a female singer-songwriter it wouldn't make quite the impact as it does sung by a man to another man. I suppose this almost becomes a political statement of some kind, but I don't think that's the intention here. This is just one singer songwriter writing songs and singing from his heart and his experiences. Seems like that's nothing new, but to me it is completely refreshing and welcoming.
Some real stand out tracks to me in addition to "Half Boyfriend" and "Housewife" include "Can't Have It All", "American Idol" and "Bowlegged and Starving." Gay or straight, I don't think it makes a difference to appreciate the work on his debut album GODDAMED. Currently Jay's album is doing very well on the ITunes folk chart as the physical release just came out on Tuesday, July 15.
Check out the "Housewife" video below.