Brandon Schott
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Brandon Schott

Sterling, Virginia, United States

Sterling, Virginia, United States
Band Pop Rock


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This band has not uploaded any videos



""RELEASE" Album Review"

"Brandon Schott gives the singer/songwriter genre a good name - a very good name. While the likes of Devandra Bahnhart gather up all the press, Brandon Schott crafts slightly melancholy folky pop that is PURE pop. Think the very best of Elliot Smith, David Baerwald, Jon Brion and Michael Penn in its best moments. Every song is a under-stated, but at the same time, Schott does mess around with big, high ambitious arrangements and liberal use of many different types of instruments."

-Bruce Brodeen
Not Lame Records - Not Lame Records


Right now in Des Moines, the heat index is a sweltering 103°. It has rained a bit over the past few days and the cruel joke of late summer rains is that they force my brown lawn out of its welcome dormancy. In other words, I have to mow. Now since we all live by our own personal soundtrack of life, there needs to be some perfect music to listen to as I attempt to cool down post-mowing during these dog days of summer. I'm not looking for an adrenalin-pusher here - it needs to offer a pleasant segue from a loud, dirty summer afternoon job to a warm, summer ale evening. Enter Brandon Schott...

Brandon's new album is called Golden State. In name alone you get that summer sun vibe. Musically, the album relentlessly chills you out with its nuanced melodies and meticulous songcraft. It's not going to hook you instantly and piledrive catchy tunes in your head. You now know where to go for that. I wouldn't go as far to say that Golden State is an acquired taste, but it ages quite well. If you're an impatient listener, as I tend to be at times, please give this one multiple tries. You might not hear it until the second or third go-round, but it's there, and you'll be glad you found it.

Brandon offers warm familiarity, particularly in his voice, which sonically falls somewhere in between Ben Folds (when he's not goofing) and David Grahame. In fact, throw in a bit of Duncan Sheik at his Drake-ish best, Josh Rouse's respect of a previous generation, Trash Can Sinatras' atmospherics, and Michael Penn's maturity and you'll soon discover this summer's other sophisticated pop gem.

Standouts for me include Beautiful Trainwreck, Beachwood, Release, Simple Life, and Golden State, the video of which is below. Yep, not counting the instrumental ditty that metaphorically separates the album "sides" from each other, that's half the album.

Find a hammock and load up your iPod because that Golden State will be welcome indeed. It's been available via iTunes for months, but some of you still get a buzz from that plastic, which you can find in stores today. - Too Poppy


From America to a youth in the UK and back, California-based Brandon Schott’s second independent release ‘Golden State’ is a delicious slice of summery acoustic folk-pop.

Clearly his new Californian home has massively inspired his music. Perfect for lazy days on the beach, with many Brian Wilson inspired moments and sun-drenched melodies. ‘Beachwood’ sound like the soundtrack to a romantic Hawaiian sunset. This mood inspires his lyrics to: “you can lie safe in the simple life” melancholic, laid back, take it in your stride outlooks on life. Full of warmth and poetic depth.

With co-production from folk stalwart Jason Wormer (T-Bone Burnett, Josh Ritter) the sound is perfect, gentle, deep acoustic guitars and keyboards. With well balanced occasional drops of brass and e-bow to enhance that sunny vibe.

His vocals are smooth, intimate and hushed, reminiscent of Ben Folds and Michael Penn, they ideally suit and perfectly convey the mood and style of his songs.
For a debut release, ‘Golden State’ boasts lashings of quality and maturity. Schott is clearly an artist with a golden future ahead of him.

By Martin Kendrick - Noize Makes Enemies


Brandon Schott returns with his second album and it’s a meticulous, sublime treasure! Golden State is his new collection of gems that evoke a bygone era when vinyl records and songcraft were king. While the album takes the listener on a warm hearted musical journey through Brandon's adopted home of California, he's clearly also inspired by his 8 years living as a youth in England with the album's subtle Brit-pop influences. While the likes of Devandra Bahnhart gather up all the press, Brandon Schott crafts slightly melancholy folky pop that is PURE pop. Think the very best of Elliot Smith, David Baerwald, Jon Brion and Michael Penn in its best moments. Every song is a under-stated, but at the same time, Schott does mess around with big, high ambitious arrangements and liberal use of many different types of instruments. Clearly his new Californian home has massively inspired his music. Perfect for lazy days on the beach, with many Brian Wilson inspired moments and sun-drenched melodies. 'Beachwood' sound like the soundtrack to a romantic Hawaiian sunset. This mood inspires his lyrics, too: "you can lie safe in the simple life" melancholic, laid back, take it in your stride outlooks on life. Full of warmth and poetic depth. - Not Lame Records


With a sweet, sugary brand of pop that is dreamy and lullaby-esque, Schott nails the tender and precious “Beachwood” with a quiet confidence. Meanwhile, the title track could be mistaken for a Beach Boys cover with rich harmonies over the course of five gorgeous minutes. Early on, it’s quite apparent Schott has ample chops to deliver his tunes perfectly, especially the slow, Blue Rodeo-ish “Simple Life”, which saunters along effortlessly. But Schott keeps things close to his strengths with the timeless “Everyone Knows It But You” and the simple and reflective “Hourglass”. The only mid-tempo to up-tempo song has to be “Carousel” which brings to mind Peter, Bjorn and John. Light and breezy, Schott’s latest is one that’s hard to take off the player.

-Jason MacNeil - PopMatters


Brandon Schott’s CD release party at Bordello in downtown Los Angeles last Saturday night was like something out of Moulin Rouge! Backed by a string quartet and 11 other musicians, Schott—a singer and multi-instrumentalist—performed his new CD, Golden State, in its entirety and threw in a few surprises as well.

And did I mention there were belly dancers?

Myth has it that Bordello was a five-story bordello in the early 1900s. Its red décor and ubiquitous chandeliers give it a vibe unlike any other venue in LA. Plus the entertainment (at least that night) included a few belly dancers between sets. You don't see that every day.

Prior to Schott taking the stage, Moving Picture Show performed an energetic set that began with them banging a marching drum as they made their way through the sea of people. I’d never heard them before, but found them to be instantly likeable. When I tried to mentally compare them to other bands, I found myself at a loss because they did a good job of creating their own sound—but if I had to name one, I’d probably go with The Killers. Not only did I enjoy their sound, but they had a theatricality about them that felt comfortable rather than put-on.

After another belly dancing interlude, Schott took the stage. Other LA singers and multi-instrumentalists in their own right joined him on the stage as he led the packed venue on a journey through his new album. The band included Tim Schoenhals (bass, acoustic guitar, piano, omnichord), Craig Ferguson (pedal steel, guitar and mandolin), Dave Stalker (drums), Steve Barton (guitar), Andrew Duncan (trumpet), Greg Jamrok (acoustic guitar and bass), a choir composed of John Hoskinson, Duane Dolieslager, Steven Wilson, Kevin Kratzke and Brady Harris, and a string quartet featuring Hiro Goto (violin), James Tan (violin), Chris Woods (viola) and Adrienne Woods (cello).

Prior to this event, I had downloaded Golden State from iTunes. As its name implies, it’s an album inspired by California and—more specifically—Los Angeles. I found it to be the perfect soundtrack to a lazy Sunday or a drive up the I-5. During the concert, I found myself singing along with songs like “Beachwood,” “Everyone Knows It But You” and “Golden State,” not realizing until that night that I already knew all the words. Golden State is an album that sneaks up on you.

Another favorite of the evening was the instrumental “…Harper?” a short but sweet lullaby Schott dedicated to his children (who were at home, of course). But the best moment of the night took place when he performed a favorite song from his first album, Release. In preparation for “Paper Wings,” everyone in attendance had been given a kazoo upon entering Bordello. During the chorus, hundreds of people formed to become one giant kazoo choir.

'Twas a golden night. -

""RELEASE" Album Review"

With nearly 20 instruments credited to him -- and that's not including the band and guest musicians -- the debut record from Los Angeles pop confectioner Brandon Schott would seem guilty of the crime of virgin studio excess if the sum of its many parts didn't produce such a rich frosting. While Release does sound like the work of a musician who's spent the majority of his life stooped over endless crates of unsorted vinyl at estate sales, charting studio arrangements in his head for what seemed at the time like an unattainable dream, Schott's obvious reverence for British Invasion and early-'90s alternative rock and pop never feels like a facsimile, just an echo. Wielding a voice that harnesses the hush of Joe Pernice and the acerbic bite of Michael Penn, Schott writes songs about life, home, and heartache with a deft pen. The opener, a slice of folk-rock splendor that showcases David Kalish's serpentine Dobro work, is the perfect milieu for the songwriter. His easy cadence makes for an inviting introduction, and the entire first half of the record revels in its very existence. "Afterglow," with its Americana, California-kissed chorus, and the vaudeville romp "Paper Wings" show an artist of considerable talent in love with his medium. -


An eclectic group of friends/fellow musicians and fans gathered to
celebrate Brandon's Debut CD "Release" (out officially 11/18 and available through Amazon, Aaron's Amoeba Records, Penny Lane and through his website with a complimentary "Schott" glass) with a full night of awesome local music and good party fun at the Universal Bar and Grill. Brandon (on Guitar and Lead vocals) had a great time rocking out a packed house with his an impressive backing band that morphed according to the set list, leading off with pals Nicholas Lapointe (On lead/slide guitar) and Gleg Jamrok finger picking in 3-part harmony on "Sunday Morning". His melodic vocals really showed off the melancholy lilting folk/pop end of Brandon's wide vocal range without coming off as pretentious or hollow, just honest and from the heart. They built from this melodic rock platform in to "Afterglow" which traded Gleg's acoustic guitar for electric bass and added Jake Simpson on keys and backing vocals and Matt Munoz on drums, kicking up the straight forward and fun rock vibe a notch further with "One Man's Poison", adding Steve Barton on lead guitar, and farther yet with "Burning The Days". The audience participation section of the set included a super fun all house "Kazoo along" and Banjo Solo (Rod Cumming) on the zany "Paper Wings". After that they kicked in to full throttle booty shakin' rock for the rest of the set including a really fun version of Elvis Costello's "What's So Funny 'bout Peace Love and Understanding" with a little extra edge added courtesy of Steve Barton third guitar/ vocals. Jack Maher joined them on lead adding his own funky twist to "Little Juliet" and moved over for Jake to throw down a super funk key solo borrowing from Stevie Wonder's superstition. And last, but certainly not least, the guys took 5 while Brandon was joined by East Coast pal Brooke Fox on backing vocals on "Feels Like Home"...and it did, actually, even though I didn't know more than a couple people there I was drawn in to the sincerity of the atmosphere Brandon and his friends projected. An amazing and dynamic set featuring awesome players getting together with adoring fans shakin' it and having a good old time. Release indeed! Party on!!

-Cyhndi Mora - All Access Magazine


It's not easy to get attention in a world crowded with talented musicians. While some like Devendra Banhart and Sufjan Stevens combine talent with luck and manage to accrue column upon column of media coverage, others like Brandon Schott go relatively unnoticed.

After graduating Berklee College of Music in 1999 with a degree in songwriting, Brandon Schott headed out to Los Angeles to continue a lifelong obsession with music. He started playing local coffeehouses, assembling a trio with Greg Jamrok on guitar and Dave Stalker on drums. Soon enough, they were fleshing out arrangements for what would become his first album, Release.

While this album debuted in November of 2003, it was more recently picked up for wider distribution in the summer of 2005 (and deservedly so). The multi-talented Schott (he is credited with some 20 different instruments on the CD) covers a wide realm of pleasant soft-rock territory (with some folk, some funk and a few other things thrown in for good measure).

He's got a strong emotive voice that can sound like any number of people (a short list might include Owsley, Ben Folds, Michael Penn, Joe Pernice and Matthew Sweet), depending on the particular song. It's full of a warmth and familiarity that adds to these original songs.

"Sunday A.M." opens the CD, a soft acoustic number that reflects the lyrical wishes for a world where every day retains the gentle peace of Sunday morning. Schott's dulcet voice carries the track, which features some virtuoso dobro work from David Kalish.

A slightly more upbeat ballad, "Afterglow" is an infectious musical testament to the reaches of feminine power, extending so far as to let the playboy know "it's far too late for an easy escape". In the end, the results are always the same: "no matter where you are, / She holds all the cards".

Schott gets the funk out in "Little Juliet", using a Moog, bass and clavinet to underscore the full-fledged strings, wah-wah guitar and background singers. It's a tight little number that shows Schott's versatility through the act of giving advice to that poor girl who has lost her Romeo:

"Little Juliet, /
Look how much you've lost, /
Since your stars got crossed, /
You are putting out, /
What you never put in, /
The poison crawls under your skin."

"One Man's Poison" points out that we often follow the wrong advice by falling in line or admiring the actions of the wrong friends. Banjo and mandolin are some of the unusual accents that dress up "May", a mood piece and love ballad that unfurls at a slow pace (and lasts just under six minutes).

Schott goes a little jazzier with "Paper Wings", employing a nice background chorus of singers and the occasional slide whistle to get across this delicate tale of a woman remembered through her origami letter:

"Her memory is folded, /
Her edges are soft, /
And when she finds you, /
You're an astronaut, /
Every night you're really taking flight."

"Burning The Days" is Schott at his most rocking. The song builds to the point where Schott screams out his love and devotion ("I will burn for you as the night goes down") in sometimes poetic ways ("I live inside your secret kiss, / Here in this power time does not exist").

Lovely strings add poignancy to the "man left in ruins" aspect of "Let Me Sleep". He's awake and thinking back on "the silence she left behind". Schott's plaintive voice cries out with emotion, but the real heroes here are Stephen Erdody on cello, Endre Granat and Christine Frank on violin, and Janet Lakatos on viola.

Schott often toys with philosophic concepts. He does so in the ballad "Still Life", pondering a static, unchanging life that is passing him by. Yet it has a hopeful, optimistic end:

"I've always been
afraid of changing, /
My habits move me beyond repair, /
But I hold on /
'Cause I know that
somewhere there's still . . . life."

The closer "Feels Like Home" is another mellow acoustic gem. Brooke Fox adds some winning background harmonies. Schott recounts "blessings" he should have known while pondering the absurdity of life and its nasty whispers, finding ultimate comfort in his situation:

"Standing on this endless coast, /
I raise my glass and drink a toast, /
To rolling out my lover's ghost, /
Crashing towards a future I may never know, /
But it feels like home, feels like home, /
Here beside the turning tide, /
It feels like home."

Schott's impressive debut displays much promise. His lyrics are poetic enough to stand out, and his smart attitudes and musical choices make for an always-interesting listen. While some of the ballads may go on too long, Release still has enough moments of greatness to make you eager to hear the next collection from this talented musician, one that his website claims will be out sometime later this year. - POPMATTERS.COM


RELEASE (2003)



In November 2009 his song "FIRE SEASON" won a Hollywood Music in Media Award for best song in the Acoustic/Folk category, and Music Connection magazine has named him a Hot 100 Artist for three years running.

The ringing chords of a pipe organ accompany Brandon Schott's imploring vocals on "Season's Turn", the song that introduces Dandelion, his new full-length album. Seasons turn indeed: the record's 13 tracks, recorded over three months from November 2008, span the one year anniversary of Brandon's diagnosis, treatment and recovery from a stage three cancer in his chest.

Featuring lyrics and music composed during his illness, as well as preexistent songs that speak to the experience, Dandelion, he says, is a fitting metaphor. "Dandelions remind me of childhood, of a certain way of seeing the world - of blowing seeds into the air as a kid, and watching them float on; a beautiful and weightless wonder. Yet, it's a weed ­ an unwelcome growth in an otherwise tended garden. A cancer. And as much of a hardship this illness was on me and my family, we truly saw the most beautiful side of people through it all, doctors, nurses, friends, family ­ everyone lovingly ushering us through. In the process, a glorious idealism was reawakened. Dandelion is a testament to that spirit ­ how in the depths of one truth, we can discover and embrace another."

Schott tracked most of the record live with a select group of players at St. Mark's Episcopal church in Glendale, California where his confiding vocals and acoustic guitar resonated against a rhapsody of strings, bright ripples of piano, soaring electric guitars and ringing percussion.

From shadows into light, it is a multi-textural cycle of songs. "Fire Season," a tom heavy rocker with an ominous edge is balanced by "Not Far Away," when a celestial piano and elegant strings sustain a soothing lullaby. "Turning Toward the Sun" stages the protagonist in a position of resolve, prepared to slay demons. "Blue Star Highway," a glorious slice of California country rock, pays homage to a "Grievous Angel" at the "motel at the side of the road," where the darkness eclipsed him.

The reassuring emotional centerpiece that nearly concludes the record, "All Will Be Well," was the first song written specifically for Dandelion, and set the tone for the project, Schott says. "That was the outcome, and I was determined to get there."

Schott visited a hospital emergency room one Saturday afternoon for reoccurring chest pains, though nothing prepared him for what was to come. "The hardest moment for me was immediately" after I was told about the likely road ahead­alone in the emergency room, scenarios bouncing around in my head. But the moment I made that first phone call to my wife it changed ­ it wasn't about me anymore. The more people who joined my cancer story, the less it was about just my own struggle, the more it was about the bigger picture and the power and strength we all had to shape it. Together, we were not going to be defeated. This record was a way for me to summarize the experience and come to peace with it myself. I had to write. Being a songwriter, it was my applied therapy." With the release of the CD, Schott intends to let the music lead the way. He has founded Artists for Healing, a non-profit community of artists to lend their talents to a variety of fundraising endeavors. "Right now I just want to do work for things that matter. I would like the effort I put into playing, recording and presenting music to serve something larger. It represents a philosophical shift of how I wish to carry my work through this music business."

The concluding track, "Halo," is a gentle soliloquy: Schott speaking to his son with these words, "I carry around your smile to every stage in Hollywood/Every night I'm not around." Schott acknowledges the hint of melancholy. "There are times I hear that song and feel a sadness in neglecting time with my family for my music ­ especially in the line, 'My song's on the rise and I can't let it be.' It was written very quickly in the hour before my son's bedtime. I finished it just as my wife was tucking him in. I ran into his room and played it for them both. Later, my wife and I reflected on the moment, and I expressed my regret about forsaking that time with him while writing the song, but she pointed out, 'You came back to him. You played him the song ­ you told him you loved him and you kissed him goodnight. Just like you did in the last verse.' It was a very true moment."

Truth reverberates in Dandelion. "I knew this was going to be a very spiritual record and I wanted that energy reflected in these songs. I look at spirituality as a reflection of what binds us all together, that eternal presence that allows for a deeper understanding of why we're all here, of what we have in common. My experience with cancer tapped directly into that. In the end, it became an affirmation of beauty, of our potential and how we can take car