Stripping back songs into acoustic versions is nothing new. Bands have been doing it for a long time. I remember back in the ’90s watching Nirvana, Alice In Chains and a whole host of other bands that did the popular Unplugged MTV series. I would argue that making acoustic versions of songs isn’t as popular as it once was. However it's still done as we see in the case of Michael Jayson.
Jayson released his debut EP Running the Spectrum which was a six-song EP recorded with a full band. He later released The Living Room Sessions EP which is four of those songs stripped down. The songs on this EP feel tailor made for acoustic material.
For better or for worse Jayson plays into most standard criteria of what a mainstream singer-songwriter might sound like. The songs have an intimate vibe with straightforward lyrics about life, relationships, etc. This is the type of singer/songwriter material that almost everyone has heard before making it that much easier to decide whether you will be a fan or not.
The production is clean and ready for radio. Commercially viable songs that will appeal to a broad demographic. He starts off with “Through Your Eyes” which revolves around basic minor and major chord progressions. It’s a bright pop song that spews with optimism. Up next is “A Letter” which is more melancholy but also has that typical sensitive singer/songwriter vibe.
I wouldn’t say Jayson isn't quite rapping on “What’s HIs Nice” but he pulls off that lyrical move where singer/songwriters fit in a lot of words into a measure. He closes with arguably the best track of the four “What We Make.”
On Jayson’s Soundcloud page you will find some tags like Matchbox 20 and John Mayer. Suffice it to say if you are fans of these bands you will appreciate this. Jayson seems to be very aware of the audience he is catering to and there is nothing wrong with that. One thing I will mention is that this genre in particular is so oversaturated with competition it’s ridiculous. Jayson does have a good voice and his songs are simple but well crafted.
On that note I would stress to him the hard task of tweaking his sound so that it stands out from the competition. Don't be afraid to step outside of the projected norms and take chances. People will notice.
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