Crystal Brandt
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Crystal Brandt

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Music

The best kept secret in music

Press


"Rock, Pop & Soul - TONY"

"Crystal Brandt's smooth, earthy voice and smart, wordy songs suggest Fiona Apple at certain times, Natalie Merchant at others." July 2004
- Time Out New York


"Bessie's Last Stand in Sing Out!"

"In the move from rural Maryland to Brooklyn, N.Y., Crystal Brandt's music took on a late-night funkiness which blends jazz, rock, and contemporary folk. Whether she sings with a twang about whiskey's temptation in "Fire and Brimstone" or with a jangly ha-ha-ha edge "Jerks to Work With," Brandt's vocals possess a brassy authority. You know that no matter what the material, she owns it. That supple self-assurance allows Brandt to sing with up-close intensity in the vocal-layered "Wide Awake" about a couple emotionally at long distance from one another though standing side-by-side. Brandt, who performs on guitar, keyboards and drums, is at her best when performing musically complex tunes such as "Camera Girl" where she captures the allure and risks of the big city. The acoustic simplicity of "Know the Way" perfectly showcases her folksy roots as she sings of an urban world where streetlights are the sole beacons of hope.True to her down-home country roots, exploring urban rhythms with a casual rock beat, as in "Bottle of Wine," Brandt bridges two worlds with style and substance." - Sing Out!


"Bessie's Last Stand - Choice Cut"

"Crystal Brandt scores higher marks than most of her DIY peers... (she) spices up her country-kissed arrangements whenever possible, songs [are] very distinct from one another. Typically, the music is best when it kicks up its heels and taps its feet a bit, as on "Way Past" and "Know the Way." Vocally, Brandt is strong, womanly, and wise; a stark contrast to the dominant mainstream sounds of girlish teen-pop and overblown vocal hysterics (a la Jessica Simpson)." - Suite 101


"Recommended - Bessie's Last Stand"

"These songs may be simple arrangements – acoustic guitar, melodic piano, various percussion instruments, and croon-at-the-moon harmonies – but Brandt's job is anything but simple. Crystal Brandt is no relationship victim or shy poet - [and she] writes, arranges, plays, sings, mixes, and records it all herself. Such studio savvy, combined with that strong, folky voice, is enough to earn nods of approval from Bonnie Raitt and Joni Mitchell...She's a shot of whiskey, a few extra guitar strings, and a pair of dusty cowboy boots... a country/folk artist with a penchant for confrontational lyrics and refusing to conform to anything routine." - Indie-Music


"Crystal Brandt – "Bessie’s Last Stand""

"It's very low key, low-fi, indie sounding and it's also very very good... Brandt obviously has more than her share of talent as a songwriter, singer and instrumentalist. Love the banjo on "Fire and Brimstone", love the basswork on "Jerks to Work With". This CD is definitely worth having and Brandt is a talent to keep your eye on." - Muse's Muse


"Bessie's Last Stand — Crystal Brandt"

"Bessie's Last Stand [makes] its climb via a series of slow and melodically-driven songs that call to mind the likes of the Indigo Girls ("Watch What You're Saying"), Joni Mitchell and even a dash or two of III-era Led Zeppelin (the all-too-short "Fire and Brimstone")...she sings without delving into unnecessary histrionics, letting the words speak for themselves..." - F5 Wichita Magazine


"Editor's Pick - Bessie's Last Stand"

"An absolute gem, "Bessie's Last Stand" stands up higher than all the rest—as if there were other musicians in her league. Crystal Brandt is the type of singer/songwriter that refuses to be labeled not out of obstinate stubbornness but purely because she draws no direct line to any particular style instead skirting along the invisible boundaries and redrawing her own musical map...she scores a big A+." - Smother


"Crystal Brandt - Bessie's Last Stand"

"Crystal Brandt's performance has a particularly nice spark and her tunes almost always have an appealing lilt. [Her] music is hard to categorize, occupying a space that includes pop, rock, contemporary folk, a tinge of country (mostly in her rich slightly twangy voice though sometimes in the style of the song, too)." - Ectophile's Guide to Music


"Crystal Brandt - Bessie's Last Stand"

"Every once in awhile a singer will outshine her fellow troubadours, and provoke listeners to give them a chance... Brandt has an extraordinary voice that is able go from soulful to sweet with ease. Her voice is emotional and capable of instilling a sadness in you, ...it's heartbreaking done to a tee." - Citizen Robot


"Crystal Brandt - Bessie's Last Stand"

"Crystal has good musical styling, in the vein of Patty Griffin... Bessie's Last Stand is perfect to listen to after a long day or during one of those "drinking alone" nights. The album definitely caught my attention and got stuck in my head but, not in that annoying "I'm never going to be able to get to sleep" way... a good compilation of Crystal Brandt's expansive musical talent." - South of Mainstream


Discography

Voter, LP, to be released summer 2004
Bessie's Last Stand, 2003
Fixing to Break, 2002

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

It’s hard to pinpoint a specific influence in her self-taught guitar and lyrical songwriting; her sound is unique and identifiable as her own, but there are also unmistakable traces of the music she’s inspired by. Loose rock and country rhythms are layered beneath seemingly simple chord and melody changes, and her voice can‘t decide whether it wants to be at a honky tonk or a rock club.

Placed side by side, her songs are as dynamic as the moods that instigate them. Her songwriting is as much inspired by her own experiences as those of the people closest to her, making for performances that feel tailored to each audience member, even if they’ve never seen her before. That effect is particularly noticeable these days, as she mostly performs solo, accompanied only by her acoustic guitar .

Originally from Maryland, she now resides in Brooklyn, New York where she writes, records and produces her own music. She spent a few years performing in bands in rural Maryland before making a move to just outside Washington, DC in 1998. In DC, she headed a three piece group as the singer, songwriter and guitarist until moving to New York City in 2000 to pursue a solo career.

In 2002, she recorded a limited release collection of eleven songs, titled Fixing to Break. The follow-up, Bessie’s Last Stand (released in October 2003) displays more diverse sounds than it’s predecessor, with broader instrumentation and more attention to the overall production. Her next project, Voter, is scheduled for a summer 2004 release.

She is also the co-founder of the independent label, Mungler Winslowe records, based in Brooklyn, New York.