Hmm, Hmm, Hmm, Hmm

Once, there was this May who
Went into the Living Room to listen to some tunes
So she went to the back room
To wait for the band she planned on seeing
The set was to begin when
The 9:00 had finished

Mmm mmm mmm mmm
Mmm mmm mmm mmm

Then there was this man who
Didn’t look familiar but sounded pretty cool
And they told him one more song
He asked the fans what he should be singing
He offered something upbeat
Or more like “Mmm Mmm Mmm”

Mmm mmm mmm mmm
Mmm mmm mmm mmm

So the man was Brad Roberts
Who sang for the Crash Test Dummies
Then May could place his voice now
And couldn’t help but wonder if it really was that man
But who else has that deep voice
That no one can deny is Brad Roberts?
His voice alone explains it
You really had to be there

Mmm mmm mmm mmm
Mmm mmm mmm mmm

Yesterday after work I visited Bryant Park to check out what singer-songwriter was performing. I came across Pete and J. They’re excellent, and everyone tells them they sound a lot like Simon and Garfunkel. They usually bring a band, but for Bryant Park, they went acoustic. They announced a gig later that night at the Living Room for 10:00. I decided to go to see how they sound with the band.

My first NYC stomping ground, the Lower East Side. I showed up about 20 minutes early, and I’d normally sit in on the set in session, but he charged admission for his gig. I looked at the name on the board, Brad Roberts, but it didn’t ring any bells. Then around 9:55, they took away the cash box and I slipped through the curtains to where Pete and J would be singing. Brad hadn’t yet started wrapping up, and I caught the end of a song. He talked with the audience a while, made them laugh. He played another song, but I wasn’t paying too much attention. I did notice his deep gritty voice, but again, no spark of recognition.

Then the guys up in the soundroom told him one more song. He offered something upbeat or more “Mmm Mmm Mmm.” When he said that, I actually listened to his singing. This guy sang with the same inflections and phrasings as that Crash Test Dummies Guy. He finished the song, he told the audience his name. I made a note to remember his name to research later.

I’m kind of embarrassed I didn’t know it all along. But he was there, at the Living Room, being all fun and singing for a fun crowd. The good news is if you missed him last night, he has the next few Wednesdays booked there. Go and give him an audience. He sounds great.

Pete and J are marvelous musicians and vocalists. They spent some time on tour this past month opening for Rusted Root. They sound incredible live. They have high energy and quick wit and their music as a whole is tight. Harmonies, instruments, everything. Plus, it’s completely different watching them experience their music and give it to the audience. I actually prefer them live.