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Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Jeff Hanson - “If Only I Knew”

posted by on August 6 at 12:29 PM

Minneapolis’ Jeff Hanson is something of an anomaly. He writes catchy, well-rounded pop songs that draw on modern and classic folk influences, and he plays all the instruments on his recordings, but that’s not what separates him from acoustic ilk. krs459.jpg No, what makes Jeff Hanson different is the fact that, if you didn’t know better, you’d probably think from his singing that he was a lady. He has a beautiful, yet off-putting, lady voice. Specifically, he sounds like a female Elliott Smith. He’s put out two very good records on Kill Rock Stars, 2002’s Son and 2005’s s/t, and now he’s releasing his third effort Madam Owl on August 19th. I hadn’t thought about Hanson in a few years, but driving around listening to KEXP yesterday a song came on with a voice that seemed so familiar, and I thought to myself, “Who is this singing? I know her…” After a few moments I realized, and briefly relived that Crying Game moment from the first time I heard him back in ‘02. No doubt, the lady voice can be a bit of a hurdle on the track to enjoying Hanson’s songs. I was very fascinated with Son when it came out and showed it to pretty much all of my friends, curious if they would accept it, and a lot of them couldn’t get over that initial gender surprise. But once (or perhaps if) you are able to get past it, there’s a musician writing smart, lush, and often beautiful songs.

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