"Josh Weinstein is a philosopher/poet who happens to play amazing piano (plus whatever else he can get his hands on). With Love & Alcohol, Weinstein may fully establish himself in critical circles as one of the most talented songwriters the US has to offer. This is the sort of performance that gets considered for awards."
--”Wildy's World Reviews, February, 2009
Bukowski-esque lyrics evoke a a slide-show of anonymous strangers haunting the dark corners of a midnight city. Shades of front-porch-blues and field-gospel co-mingle with Waitsian jazz and folk harmonies. Rock guitar pulses over upright bass. A single voice calls out over slow-burn blues piano while a trumpet plays from the next room.
In intimate settings, Josh Weinstein often has his drummer show up empty-handed and "play the room”--use found objects to bring immediacy and unpredictability to the performance.
It's no wonder Weinstein's second release, 2006's Brooklyn Is Sinking, appears on "Best of..." lists at WFUV and npr.org. A scholar, educator, studio pianist and performing songwriter, Josh Weinstein has emerged as an important voice in contemporary pop composition.
Weinstein grew up in Poughkeepsie, NY, and spent childhood weekends in New York City, mostly in bars, with his father. His mother was a 60's folk singer/songwriter and recording artist, grandmother was a concert cellist who had a weekly radio performance program on the CBC in Canada.
An English major in college, Weinstein worked as bartender, jingle-writer and friday-night "Hey, how ya doing, thanks for listening" cocktail jazz piano player to pay for grad school in Literature.
He worked in the "real world" as a writer, editor, and advertising copywriter. Wrote music and played piano in a variety of bands at night, honing the bare-knuckle, blues-meets-whiskey-meets-street-corner-philosopher style that characterizes his sound.
Lived in Colorado, then California. Then Washington, DC and Maine. Moved back to New York City in late 1999. Lived two buildings south of the World Trade Center towers. Was there for the attacks on September 11, 2001.
Went underground. Reevaluated. Quit job in 2002 to return to music full-time.
Recorded first album, Petty Alchemy, in August, 2003. and second, Brooklyn Is Sinking, in 2006. Has since racked up numerous Honorable Mention-or-better song-contest finishes, spins on hundreds of radio stations throughout the country and appearances at innumerable festivals and venues, large and small.
After a one-year performing hiaitus to help raise his new son, Weinstein is back in force with his strongest album yet, Love & Alcohol, to be released in Spring 2009 on RandomLogo Records.
Love & Alcohol is a street's-eye view of love and everything after, written and edited in the late-night hours, fueled by too little of the former and too much of the latter.
Basic tracks were recorded on Valentine's Day, with an electro-acoustic four-piece ensemble that included journeyman "Roches" bassist Paul Ossola and "Songs from a Random House" drummer John Bollinger. Overdubs throughout the year when/wherever Weinstein could get a microphone in front of friends and colleagues--everyone from guitarist G.E. Smith to cellist Erik Friedlander to organist Clifford Carter.
The spare production incorporates found-object and non-trap-kit percussion, engineered soundscapes, and nontraditional, non-beginning-middle-end song structure.
Yet at its core, L & A is fundamentally a blues album--
an in-the-cracks, off-center, idiosyncratic look at life lived somewhere between Love & Alcohol.
Josh Weinstein: piano/keyboards & vocals
Additional instruments include guitar, acoustic/electric bass, drums (mostly found-percussion) plus any or all of harmonica, trumpet, trombone, euphonium, ukelele, strings.
Petty Alchemy (album, 2003) (airplay: There Ain't Nothing Sadder Than a Saturday Night [Honorable Mention, 2004 Billboard Song Contest], Heart on the Line, Old School, I've Never Written a Love Song)
Brooklyn Is Sinking (album, 2006) (airplay: Stones, Brooklyn Is Sinking, Is and Should Have Been--streaming, public, satellite and commercial radio play.)
Every New York
Song a Drunk Man Sings
She Rolls Jaunty
One More Blues
Fuck Is Fuck
Trying to Find the Crime, Pt. 1
She Do Not Listen
*NEW* "One of the most talented songwriters the U.S. has to offer."
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Josh Weinstein is a philosopher/poet who happens to play amazing piano (plus whatever else he can ge...Josh Weinstein is a philosopher/poet who happens to play amazing piano (plus whatever else he can get his hands on). The New York City based resident of the world has carved out a sound thatâ€™s part Tom Waits and part Ron Hawkins with a healthy dose of lyrical content ala Charles Bukowski. With the grit and tragedy of life lived a half-step off the streets running through his songs, Weinstein opens listenersâ€™ eyes to a world of dark actions fueled by good intentions. Weinstein will release his third album, Love & Alcohol in the Spring of 2009 (date not yet available). With Love & Alcohol, Josh Weinstein may fully establish himself in critical circles as one of the most talented songwriters the US has to offer.
Josh Weinstein takes great please in exposing the seedier aspects of life on Love & Alcohol. The result is fourteen songs of less than the best of intentions against the backdrop of some deliciously dirty blues arrangements. Weinstein the songwriter wallows in the imperfections of his protagonists, steeped in love, addiction, desire and loneliness. Weinstein the singer/musician delivers an inspired performance that should gather significant critical acclaim. Every New York captures the street-wise grit of another era in New York City. You can almost imagine Kurt Weillâ€™s Mack The Knife (ala Bobby Darin) frequenting the sort of clubs this song would have been played in. One More Blues features some inspired guitar work, and Weinstein absolutely lives the song as a performer. This is the sort of performance that gets considered for awards.
She Rolls Jaunty uses a pair of windshield wipers as the primary percussion in a bit of sonic genius. The piano hook at the center of this is amazingly catchy. The arrangement expands to include strings in a slow building crescendo that falls away at times to reveal just Weinstein and piano. Song A Drunk Man Sings is a bit of levity framed by some viscious harmonica work and a filthy bass line. Tennessee is one of the more memorable tunes on the disc, built on a great piano hook and a â€œMarch of the elephantsâ€ style bass line. The workmanâ€™s chorus is also a nice touch. She Do Not Listen is a â€œmomentâ€ song. Amidst all of the action and controlled chaos from which Weinsteinâ€™s songs spring, She Do Not Listen is a moment of quiet composure. Itâ€™s a wonderful song that illuminates a side of Weinstein we had yet to see on Love & Alcohol. Other highlights include F**k Is F**k and Trying To Find The Crime.
Josh Weinstein has found a voice that while not unique in popular music is certainly a refreshing break from the norm. Populating his songs and characters in the same fashion as Randy Newman, Weinstein illuminates the darker side of human nature in tunes full of the beauty and angst of the human spirit. Itâ€™s a musical streetâ€™s eye view of the world that is difficult to capture and even harder to convey in song. Weinstein is a bard in blue, and Love & Alcohol is the set list he plays from. It took a few listens to really get into this one, and now I canâ€™t put it down. Make sure that Love & Alcohol is on your to-do list.
Rating: 4.5 Stars (Out of 5)
"Leaves the usual crowd of singer/songwriters miles behind"
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Brooklyn Is Sinking quickly erupts into a piano centered, street wise and dark eyes Steely Dan lands...Brooklyn Is Sinking quickly erupts into a piano centered, street wise and dark eyes Steely Dan landscape that is an absolute joy to listen to and get lost in. Lyrical in a harsh yet human Tom Waits way with Randy Newman orchestral textures lurking throughout (Sonny is resplendent), Weinstein leaves the usual crowd of folk-based singer/songwriters miles behind (in Staten Island or Queens perhaps?)
Tough (Scared White Men, A Minor Cool (Palimpsest)), lush (She Like), and soulful (take your pick), Weinstein and his superb accompanists, including guitarist Marco Oppedisano, bassist Tom Hubbard, drummer Sonny Jain, saxophonist Bruce Huron, and organist Oliver Van Essen, sound like a hybrid of classic artists, but never, and I do mean never, do they sound derivative or imitative. Even if the songs and music weren't as good as it is, just that would be a major accomplishment.
"A highly original masterwork filled with remarkable warmth and craftsmanship."
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About fifteen years ago my wife and were in a Greenwich Village eatery when she let it slip that I w...About fifteen years ago my wife and were in a Greenwich Village eatery when she let it slip that I was in the music business. The waiter...proceeded to audition for me in front of God and everybody in the restaurant.
Had that waiter been half as talented as Josh Weinstein, I'd have signed him on the spot. Sadly, the gifted among us are few and far between, which is why the warbling waiter of Bleecker St. is probably still slinging hash and Weinstein has produced a richly rewarding album.
Brooklyn Is Sinking is Weinstein's second solo album. On it he takes his patented blues-funk style and creates a magnificent, multi-tiered soundtrack filled with electrifying emotion mixed with imaginative compositions that broaden the boundaries of jazz. Much to Weinstein's credit, he avoids channeling the uber-slick Harry Connick, Jr. and myriad lessers, soulfully presenting imagistic songs that fit together in a story line reminiscent of the great filmmaker Godard.
The band sways lithely through Weinstein's staccato pieces, some of which start with a tremendous bang, scuttle to a whisper during the bridge, and then end with an orchestral flourish that may bring avant-garde composer Steve Reich to mind. Throughout the pieces, Diamond and Zhana Saunders add elegiac backing vocals in support of Weinstein's lush tones.
What separates Brooklyn Is Sinking from Weinstein's first solo effort is his use of sampling, capturing street scenes, media cross-talk, and bar room boasts to give the project a seedy, character-driven feel. It's an experiment that pays off, as Weinstein breathes life into the troubled, possessed spirits that inhabit our "world gone crazy."
As good as the music is, what really shines on this album are Weinstein's lyrics, which at times flow with the hard-boiled excitement of a Mickey Spillane novel, and at other times have the philosophical tone of a poem by Ezra Pound. Weinstein writes from deep within himself, committing blood, grit, and sensitivity to paper, creating a highly original masterwork filled with remarkable warmth and craftsmanship.
I don't know if the singing waiter ever got his big break or not. If he hasn't, he might want to pick up a copy of Brooklyn Is Sinking to learn how to become a sensation. You should pick up a copy of Brooklyn Is Sinking simply because it's sensational.
"Will hopefully add to Weinstein's existing success as a singer-songwriter. Bravo."
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An almost filmic picture of New York and its various boroughs (though not limited to that region) is...An almost filmic picture of New York and its various boroughs (though not limited to that region) is painted throughout the albumï¿½s twelve tracks. On "Stones," Weinstein conjures up images of a red light district that the narrator has distanced himself from. Meanwhile, "Scared White Men" sets the scene immediately with the lyric "South Boston, 1987. Young black boy of eleven stops to tie his shoe."
Weinstein's voice and intonation recalls a young Tom Waits. In fact, Brooklyn's opening track - "Stones" - wouldn't sound out of place on Heart of Saturday Night. Later on the album, the influence seems to shift ...to Donald Fagen's work as a solo artist and with Steely Dan. The jazz-influenced arrangements, the interesting chord structures, the songs about New York - it all fits. This is especially true on the album standouts "Is And Should Have Been" and "She Like," with its dazzling horn arrangements.
Few artists still exist that are willing to explore the human condition, and luckily Weinstein is one of them. This is a polished album that retains its soul and collects some excellent songs that will hopefully add to Weinstein's existing success as a singer-songwriter. Bravo.
"Leaves little to doubt as to why he is getting national acclaim."
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Josh Weinstein has been featured on NPR's All Things Considered and Vin Scelsa's Idiot's Delight. A ...Josh Weinstein has been featured on NPR's All Things Considered and Vin Scelsa's Idiot's Delight. A superb writer and pianist, he has played on numerous radio stations throughout the country.
And with the release of Brooklyn Is Sinking, Josh leaves little to doubt and speculation as to why he is getting national acclaim.
Reminiscent of Tom Waits and Steely Dan, Weinstein is a powerful singer and a witty songwriter. He has put together a collection of dark, instantly appealing, finely crafted tunes with flowing melodies and soulful vocals. This CD is an intricate tapestry of pop and jazz coupled with the unbridled force of articulate, unblinking humanity.
â€”John Shelton, jsitop21.com
"A gutsy and sweeping expedition."
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Josh Weinstein is a hard man to pin down. His musical style shifts so suddenly and dramatically, it ...Josh Weinstein is a hard man to pin down. His musical style shifts so suddenly and dramatically, it can be hard to keep up. Take equal parts Steely Dan and the Beatles circa 1967, and throw in a little--let's say--Primus for good measure, and you're starting to get the idea.
Although Weinstein performs on Brooklyn Is Sinking with a full band on most tracks, the focus is squarely on himâ€”vocals and keyboardâ€”and it's an interesting organism that emerges as a result. Consider Norah Jones: essentially, she's a pop artist infused with hints of jazz and blues in large enough doses to keep things interesting. Weinstein may be her mirror image: he sounds like a jazz musician at heart with enough spattering of pop to give his songs some sense of structure. To his credit, the recipe Jones is cooking is about as risky as toast. Brooklyn Is Sinking is a perpetual balancing act in which Weinstein is constantly pushing the boundaries of what pop music can entail without ceasing to be, well, popular...
At the end of the day, Brooklyn Is Sinking is a gutsy and sweeping expedition.
â€”Andrew Peterson, May, 2007
"An artist who has absorbed his influences by paying his dues the old-fashioned way."
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Listen to Brooklyn is Sinking and it becomes quickly apparent that Weinstein isn't interested in cou...Listen to Brooklyn is Sinking and it becomes quickly apparent that Weinstein isn't interested in courting the "cool" sound of today. Though the album has a contemporary feel, thanks to a sardonic writing style and ... excursions into funk, the album is the sound of an artist who has absorbed his influences not simply by listening to a bunch of recordings by jazz standards, but by paying his dues the old-fashioned way.
Polished, but unpretentious, Brookyn is Sinking is an album that's fun enough to win over more than a few non-jazz fans while winning the approval of most jazz purists.
â€”Sean McCarthy, dailyvault.com
"In complete command of his instrument."
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Josh Weinstein is in complete command of his instrument on "Brooklyn is Sinking." You can hear shade...Josh Weinstein is in complete command of his instrument on "Brooklyn is Sinking." You can hear shades of jazz, pop, cabaret and even songs that just flat out rock. Some folks make music to pay the bills while other folks make music because they're artists through and through and it's in their blood. Josh Weinstein clearly falls into the latter category.
"Like Charles Bukowski minus the in-your-face vulgarity."
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Like Charles Bukowksi, minus the in-your-face vulgarity, Weinstein is drawn to the hip poetry of peo...Like Charles Bukowksi, minus the in-your-face vulgarity, Weinstein is drawn to the hip poetry of people who get their hands dirty.
Set is almost exclusively original material and runs up to two hours as the venue allows.
There are no upcoming dates at this time.