Travys Starr has been a musician in Seattle since the ‘90s. From the looks of it he hasn’t released much music. A Modern Day Grey is his recent album, which is a collection of his thoughts and experiences of the last decade.
For the most part A Modern Day Grey revolves around his vocals, his acoustic guitar and other sparse elements like organ and percussion. On paper it sounds as if Starr might be another intimate John Mayer type singer/songwriter. That really couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact David Bowie (not just because Starr does a cover of “Heroes”) was the artist I kept thinking of when listening to A Modern Day Grey.
A Modern Day Grey was a DIY effort and the recording quality certainly isn’t too shabby but I have to admit I kept thinking these songs deserved studio quality sound. The guitars often sound too distant with too much reverb. The same could be said about his voice. It often sounded as if I was listening to him play in a cave that was about a hundred feet away. That being said the offense was more apparent on certain songs.
He starts with “Sister” which is an unequivocal highlight. The song moves slowly in a good way with bass, acoustic, piano and organ that really let you hear Starr’s voice. It’s a catchy song with an emotionally resonant vocal performance. Great song.
His cover of “Heroes” while well performed suffers from the overuse of reverb I previously mentioned while “hallelujah” is a sparse four-minute song. The next highlight after “Sister” is “Tales of man and the gods of old.” It contains open chords and percussion, which give it an Eastern, mystical vibe. It contains one of Starr’s most inspired vocal performances. This Ravi Shankar vibe continues on “All these days” which may be the highlight of the album. For some reason the production sounded superior to the other songs. As the album progresses “You Know this Love” and “Running up that hill” were other highlights.
Starr has an aesthetically pleasing voice. He has a natural tone I found original and easy to enjoy. That being said some of the vocal performances could have been a bit tighter. Starr does get off-key enough times where it was noticeable and some of the dynamics could have been tamed such as on a song like “hallelujah.”
A Modern Day Grey has enough inspired moments that I could give it two thumbs up. However, I think that if Starr can attend to some of the aforementioned minor issues it could result in a major effect.
We are dedicated to informing the public about the different types of independent music that is available for your listening pleasure as well as giving the artist a professional critique from a seasoned music geek. We critique a wide variety of niche genres like experimental, IDM, electronic, ambient, shoegaze and much more.
Are you one of our faithful visitors who enjoys our website? Like us on Facebook