Aaron & The Spell
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Aaron & The Spell

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Rock Soul

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"Aaron & The Spell Nominated for Adult Contemporary Song of the Year in the 12th Independent Music Awards"

Aaron & The Spell is Nominated for Adult Contemporary Song of the Year in the 12th Independent Music Awards for the original song "A Beating Heart." - Independent Music Awards


"Nominated for Adult Contemporary Song of the Year in the 12th Annual Independent Music Awards"

Nominated for Adult Contemporary Song of the Year in the 12th Annual Independent Music Awards for the original song "A Beating Heart" - 12th Annual Independent Music Awards


"Soul - Jazz / Aaron & The Spell : Sing"

Il y a des jours comme cela où l’on reçoit des emails étonnants et celui d’Aaron & The Spell en fait partie. Je pensais qu’il était assez simple de se faire une idée de la personne à la simple lecture de quelques mots dans un email de contact.. Encore une fois, je me suis trompé…

Dans cet email donc, quelques noms cités comme Nina Simone, Stevie Wonder ou Otis Redding. Si vous me connaissez un petit peu, vous savez l’importance que je donne à la musique de ces trois légendes, en particulier Nina Simone. Je me suis immédiatement dit qu’un garçon qui ose placer dans un email de contact des noms aussi prestigieux à intérêt à assurer.

Dès la première écoute de l’album Sing d’Aaron & The Spell, j’ai compris ce que ces noms signifiaient autant pour Aaron que pour moi. Aux premières notes de « By my side« , l’oreille se pose, attentive, sur ses quelques accords de blues. Et la voix d’Aaron vient percuter vos tympans comme cette belle inconnue qui vous bouscule dans le métro. Cette voix puissante et douce à la fois, située quelque part entre Lenny Kravitz et Raul Midon, vous frappe en plein coeur, et réussit sa mission de vous emmener « à ses côtés ». L’album ne pouvait être mieux lancé !

La musique n’est pas grand chose si elle ne transmet pas d’émotions. La voix d’Aaron, parfaite, accompagnée de mélodies qui le sont tout autant remplie parfaitement son rôle et vous donnera des frissons…

Mettre plus de mots dans cet article n’aurait aucun sens tant l’album parle de lui-même.

Alors pour ce 31 décembre, si vous voulez faire simple, voici votre manuel de survie. Blotissez-vous contre la personne que vous aimez (un chat, ça fonctionne aussi), appuyez sur Play et oubliez tout le reste. L’essentiel est là, merci Aaron ! - Gael Lazzaroni, Pause Musicale (Dec 31, 2012)


"Year 2012 in review — Aaron Brown (Aaron and the Spell) is the artist to watch in 2013"

This was a great year for acts that have been around for awhile. New artists that I reviewed and worked with seem to be stuck in family and friends mode, not quite able to turn the corner and pick up fans. Fortunately, they can learn from some of these artists who know the ropes well and keep plugging along.

Ben Arnold is one such performer. His raspy yet coaxing voice is the sound of mature masculinity. Drawing from 1970s songwriters, he always plays some old ones and introduces new ones. He’s Mr. Consistent with his vibe. As part of US Rails with Tom Gillam, Scott Bricklin and Joe Parsons, all of whom are originally from the area, he gives a great template for the honest underground professional musician. Signed or unsigned, Ben Arnold keeps plugging along.

Jeffrey Gaines also brings his top shelf game every time. His hit cover of “Your Eyes” by Peter Gabriel and the mentoring he got from Tom Petty still informs his music. His openers tend to be chosen carefully so that the night has quality throughout.

Chris Kasper has been a man about town for nearly a decade, but today he can play small clubs around the country. There is a smoky hobo troubadours theme in his presentation. You just know that not all his musings are imagined. You can sense the truth amid the fiction.

Ella Dars is the new band led by Sue Rosetti, formerly of Stargazer Lily. Her former mates in the band Cory are with her in this Americana band that has a certain charm about it. I’d like to see the following grow. The music is as good as her previous bands, but the promotional infrastructure is lacking.

John Faye always comes back — from the Caulfields, to Ike, and now with John and Brittany. This is the first time Faye has been the mouthpiece and interpreter of someone else’s lyrics. Considering that Faye has written chart hits, this comes as quite a surprise. But there is no doubting Brittany Rotundo’s contribution to a successful formula. Taste-test them Wednesday nights when they host the Dobbs open mic if you have any doubts.

Suzie Brown now has enough of a musical past that we needn’t harp on and on about her cardiology day job. Married to Grammy Award-winning songwriter and notable producer Scot Sax, she has been a consistent draw for awhile. She is always improving her craft.

Amanda Penecale from Doylestown also has that improvement factor. If you liked her a couple of years ago, you will like her all the more today. Her songwriter folk is closer to country but in a good way. She may soon be moving back to the area, as she is part of another growing phenomenon of acts losing some local traction because of the falling income in music. This has caused many performers to move where the day jobs are. Few musicians can do without one now.

Liz Longley is a fully employed musician from Downingtown who has lived in Boston, where she attended the Berklee School of Music, and is now based in Nashville. A frequent award winner, she is now breaking through to a wider audience. She will release new music soon and her songs have been optioned for television.

In September, Adrien Reju released new material and then went on tour with former Philly resident Rachael Yamagata. They both currently dwell in Woodstock, N.Y. I caught them in Montreal, where many thought they had their best performance. Both ladies have a more musically challenging approach to the songwriter genre. This is modern melodic music with interesting chord changes and harmonies.

Another member of the Delaware Valley Diaspora is Carsie Blanton. She recently left for New Orleans, and her last album had a bigger budget and was recorded in Atlanta with help from the Wood Brothers. Blanton is also a champion blues dancer, and the new setting should fulfill her sensuous personality. She is refreshing because most songwriters sing endlessly about relationships and emotions. Blanton gives one the impression that she does more than imagine her songs; she most likely lives them. Her clever wordplay takes the edge off some of the songs. At times, this is necessary.

Meanwhile, international traveler Gillian Grassie has returned to the area. The harpist and songwriter gained a grant to travel the world a couple of years ago and played everywhere from India, to Russia, to Germany. It’s great to have people with their own take on what pop music can be.

Dante Bucci is in this camp, too, creating new-age melodic sound on multiple hang-drums that sound like a cross between steel drums and gongs. If you want something beyond synth, guitar, bass, drum kit basics, both of these acts will bring you something new yet familiar. You may find that it isn’t the instrument choice but the personalities that attract you.

Is Lelia Broussard still considered local? She has lived in Los Angeles and New York over the past couple of years, and her bio lists Louisiana as her home state, but she came out of our circuit when she was living here at age 15. She was runner-up in th - David Wannop, Montgomery News (Dec 26, 2012)


"FAVORITE SONGS OF 2012: Aaron & the Spell, “By My Side”"

I’m still posting standout tracks/videos every night at midnight for some reason. Don’t snooze on Philly’s Aaron & the Spell. This song’s got that classic mix of bluesy guitar and passionate soul singing that fits this city like a glove. Clean-cut and gritty at the same time. Want to hear more? You do. Our friends over at The Key did a session with Aaron Brown awhile back. - David W. Wannop , Montgomerynews.com (Aug 07, 2012)


"Unlocked: The Key’s review of Sing by Aaron and the Spell"

Aaron Brown doesn’t seem like the tormented, tortured-artist type. If you meet him – at a show or, as I did, in the recording studio – he comes across as a friendly, soft-spoken gentleman who laughs, shakes your hand, smiles shyly and sits himself behind the microphone. Then he opens his mouth to sing, and wow – the booming voice that emerges conveys all manner of emotions and experiences. With the release of Sing, the CD his band Aaron and the Spell unveiled last week at the Philadelphia Folk Festival, Brown establishes himself as a force to be reckoned with in the world of new soul. That’s not “soul” in the overglossed top 40 pop music sense, nor is it soul in indie / pastiche sense. This is something more classic, more genuine, harkening back to the music made in the 1960s and 70s by Sam Cooke, Otis Redding and Smokey Robinson.

Opening stroke “By My Side” bemoans stress and desperation through an exuberant revival-tent spiritual: “These days I just got pressure, nothing but the beast,” Brown belts out. “I’m not asking for the cure, just a little peace.” Backing vocals by Ali and Claire Wadsworth rise and fall as the song presses onwards, in search of musical release. Having exorcised those demons early on, Brown seeks to help others on the very next track – the sultry groove of “Don’t Cry” is a total Stax Records send-up, and Brown’s outlook is less tense, more comforting, as his voice in softer tones delivers “lay your burden down”-type sentiments. “If you want to laugh in the rain, just think of me,” goes one line – a curious image that couldn’t be more appropriate.

The backing ensemble, helmed by production guru Ross Bellenoit, is adept at different styles, from the windswept strings on “Won’t Go” to the roadhouse blues of “Another Way,” where plunking upright bass and buoyant barroom piano cushion a tremendous vocal performance by Brown. “Greatest Day” is the pinnacle of full-band rockers on Sing, and probably the biggest crowd-pleaser when the Spell performs. But the sentiment beneath its get-up-and-move boogie is lacking compared to the rest of the record – it’s essentially Brown’s three-minute lusty chase after his female ideal, and hot-and-bothered isn’t a look he pulls off as well as poetic philosopher. Don’t get me wrong, the song totally cooks, as does the record as a whole. But the hallmark of a good songwriter is one whose songs don’t need to play dress-up in order to make their impact, and the quietest moments on Sing might just be the ones that hit the hardest.

The jazzy “Winter in Berlin” is stunning and stirring; its midtempo melody might be easily overlooked on first listen, but the soft muted horn and breezy piano help it grow to be a standout on repeated listens. Then there’s “Maria Full of Grace,” a character study centered in Spanish guitar; we knew was a winner when Brown played it in his Key Session last week. Wrapping up the record is the moving crescendo of its title track, where we see Brown revisiting the choirs and spiritual Sunday mornings he was exposed to as a youth, visiting church with his grandmother in Florida. It’s not a song that preaches, but rather one celebrates – one where Brown reveals his mission statement, embracing music as a vehicle for personal discovery and musical release. - John Vettese, WXPN's The Key Blog (Aug 21, 2012)


"2012 Philadelphia Folk Festival: Local Acts, Holmes Brothers, and Lucinda Williams Shine"

Regarding Aaron & The Spell's performance at the 51st Philadelphia Folk Fest - "On Saturday afternoon, 88.5 XPN's Helen Leicht featured many local artists over at the Camp Stage - including Aaron & The Spell, Carsie Blanton, Harper Blynn, and Andrew Lipke. I had a chance to check out Aaron & The Spell and Carsie Blanton and was thrilled by both acts. Aaron & The Spell (led by frontman Aaron Brown) is a band which draws comparisons to Amos Lee and Ben Harper, with a huge influence from Otis Redding. They are best described as a band that soaks in all of the influences of the Philly indie music scene. If you get a chance, check them out. This is a band with a sound that's a rich blend of blues, R & B, and soul." Dennis Bakay from Philly2Philly.com - Dennis Bakay from Philly2Philly.com


""10 Artists You Should Have Known In 2012" - NPR Music"

"Singer-songwriter Aaron Brown is an exciting new name to add to the lineage of the city's expressive and emotionally intense soul singers. His self-released his album, Sing, recorded with some Philly scene up-and-comers backing him up and performing as The Spell, is an excellent new addition to the musical landscape." --Bruce Warren, WXPN Program Director in Philadelphia - NPR Music


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

Photos

Bio

Aaron Brown’s bold sensitivity as a vocalist and a songwriter has garnered him favorable comparisons to Amos Lee, Otis Redding, Sam Cooke, and Ben Harper. The Philly-based artist draws from a refreshingly eclectic blend of blues, folk, rock n’ roll, and his hometown’s distinguished heritage of soul and, more recently, indie rock. Performing as Aaron & The Spell, his captivating solo acoustic performances and incendiary full-band outings have helped him build an impressive profile among audiences and critics alike. Bruce Warren, WXPN (from NPR Music, 10 Artists You Should Have Known) raves: "Singer-songwriter Aaron Brown is an exciting new name to add to the lineage of the city's expressive and emotionally intense soul singers.”

Aaron & The Spell’s debut, Sing, includes a stunning mix of honeyed ballads and simmering soul. The album was written during an emotionally raw time when Brown’s previous band broke up, his longtime relationship unraveled, and he moved to a new town. He took solace in crafting Sing and there is a soulful catharsis to songs like “Don’t Cry,” which has been played regularly on WXPN, and “A Beating Heart,” which recently won the Independent Music Award in the Adult Contemporary Song category. Brown has also been nominated for a Tri State Indie Music Award, named “Artist to Watch” in 2013 by Ticket Magazine/Montgomery Media, and listed as one of the “10 Artists You Should Have Known In 2012” on NPR Music.