One question you won’t have to ask in two years…

Becca Stevens in Ottawa June 28th.

…who is Becca Stevens?

Right now it’s a fair question.  But if the buzz here in Ottawa, and her ridiculously engaging show on Thursday night are signs, she will soon be a household name.  The North Carolina native is a singer/songwriter, jazz musician, storyteller and quite likely the next jazz(ish) musician to cross over to much broader appeal.

Of course I could be totally wrong (it’s already happened several times today), and a quick listen to the pop charts will painfully demonstrate that talent isn’t a prerequisite for stardom.  But Becca Stevens has that certain, hard-to-define star quality that you just know when you see it.  But star quality aside, she just writes some of the most appealing, accessible and interesting music I’ve ever heard.  Besides, it’s way past time for a charango (10-string andean lute) player to make it big in the music biz.

The final reason I might be right about this is her loyal and stellar band.  Liam Robinson on accordion, piano and vocals (and hilarious between-song banter), Chris Tordini on bass and vocals, and Jordan Perlson on drums & percussion.  They have been with Stevens for years and it shows.  Their playing has an edge-of-a-cliff intensity and an casual effortlessness all at once.  And like Branford Marsalis and Joey Calderazzo earlier in the week, the musicians have a friendship that they aren’t afraid to wear on their sleeves.

And if I’m wrong, and Becca Stevens doesn’t cross over, her music will be our little secret.  But go ahead and talk about her now.  Pretty soon you could be looking like the hippest person on your block.


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2 Comments on “One question you won’t have to ask in two years…”

  1. Ellen Rocco says:

    Love it, Joel. Heading onto my music sources right now to check her out.

  2. Bob Falesch says:

    I didn’t know Becca Stevens. Thanks for introducing her, Joel. I listened to the soundbites on her site, and I gotta say this is exquisite stuff. You may laugh, but I tend to hear some Astrid Gilberto and Flora Purim in there (perhaps because of those older singers lack of emotional indulgences), and her light, buoyant singing style, with far-from-simple rhythms that are kind of Brazilian-jazz in flavour. As can be seen on her reviews page, the ___ologists trip over themselves trying to describe what she does :) They seem to want to put her simultaneously in the pop, folk, jazz, and classical worlds, but are quick to point out she’s not a crossover artist. That’s fair enough, because to cross over you have to have planted yourself in a particular style first, and Becca would seem to have carved out her very own genre. Based on just those few soundbites, if I ran a record store I’d have to put her in a pop category and I’d take a cue from her music to sprinkle little bits of cayenne and citrus on her index card to tickle the olfactories of passers-by. I could stand to hear more of her.

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