Hailing from Hartford, Connecticut, Jon Boutin is singer/songwriter who recently released a five-song EP entitled The Trailhead. Boutin has been playing guitar since the young age of twelve and The Trailhead is the first effort at self-production.
The recording quality is about what you would expect from minimal consumer gear. You can hear this in the rickety guitar tone and lack of warmth you usually get with a professional recording. That being said some of his talent shines through.
At the center of the songs are exceptional guitar performances and Boutin’s vocals. As I took in the songs I was most reminded of the band Third Eye Blind if they didn’t have a drummer. Take for instance the opener “Missing String.” Something about the vocal delivery was reminiscent of Third Eye Blind. The guitar work is undeniable. I really enjoyed some of the lead guitar work and picking he pulls off in this song. When it comes to the guitar you can also hear a bit of Dave Matthews in there.
Boutin seems a little too young to have such nihilistic thoughts on “Fly.” He sings, “My whole life has been one big act of treason / Everything I love is only temporarily pleasing / No reason to be the way that I am / My mother raised me right so I don't understand.” At its core this is a pop song that shares more with a band like Third Eye Blind.
The highlight may very well be “Shadow.” It has a similar style to the previous songs but also happens to be extremely catchy with a memorable hook. As the EP comes to a close Boutin shows a more emotionally resonant, melancholy side with “Grey Skies.” “The Trail” is a seven-plus-minute song that contains some of his most original sounding guitar patterns.
While Boutin isn’t doing anything that hasn't been done before he has some talent. I think a little more refinement of his own style would be advantageous but he does build a decent foundation.
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