[Abby’s Road] Micol Cazzell

I’d be lying if I told you I never wanted to be in a band. I rarely talk about it as my talents are pretty basic. That…and I’d run the risk of the actual musicians I know snorting at me with disdain upon admitting such information. I can read music and play the piano and I shamefully stopped playing cello in the fourth grade. Please indulge me for a moment.

*Dear Mom,

Why, for the love of all that is sacred, did you allow me to quit my cello lessons? I was only 10 and couldn’t possibly understand the enormity of the mistake I was making. This single action might be the reason why today I can’t wax poetically with Jonsi, I don’t have a Grammy and you aren’t behind the wheel of a Rolls Royce. Just saying.

Love, Your Eldest Daughter

All said, yes — if it was only to shake a maraca or thump a tambourine on my thigh, I dreamed it a thousand times. Alas, I am too old to add anything as asinine as Rock Band to my CV so I will continue living vicariously through the sounds of the bourgeoning young musicians I stumble over as my days roll on and my hair whitens. And write about it.

As usual, there is a lot of rubbish to rifle through in the shops and online. Sometimes, to be honest, I grow tired of looking for new music. It’s very easy to go back to my old faves and forgo the sweat it takes to uncover The Virginal Musician. The industry is evolving at such an excitingly rapid rate that it’s nearly impossible to keep pace with everything happening on labels and with bands and solo artists, djs and side projects of side projects of side projects. You can imagine my surprise and delight upon checking my mail recently to find a little diamond in the rough waiting to have a listen. I love it when musicians find me. Please allow me to introduce you to Micol Cazzell.

Micol Cazzell – “Burnside” [MP3]

Born and raised in Manteca, California, this soon-to-be-twenty-two year old cut his teeth playing out, covers mostly, in Modesto, just south of his home base. Years after teaching himself how to record music with a cassette 8-track portastudio in his parent’s bathroom (yessss!) he’s recently released the self-produced Spinner’s Yarn, a collection of original songs: what he refers to as “stories with music”. Simple, lovely folk tunes that will undoubtedly remind listeners of Elliott Smith and Erlend Øye, with few imperfections. A pitchy moment now and again only adds to the personal warmth conveyed through each track – probably intentional. In a world of over-production, auto-tuning and ultra-compressed noise, Micol Cazzell’s music has an element of humanity lacking in a lot of other drivel that has entered my ears over the last months. Well done. I, for one, will be watching him grow.

Micol Cazzell – “Clay” [MP3]

Happy weekend.

*for the record, my parents are the light of my life for reasons too numerous to count. One biggie was allowing me to try just about everything I ever asked to try, including but not limited to: cello, piano, voice lessons, figure skating, girl scouts, fishing, dancing, gymnastics, softball, rock-tumbling and insect collecting.

[Abby’s Road is a Knox Road feature published every other Friday.]

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