Jun 22, 2014

Joey Verskotzi at Tonic Room on June 17, 2014

Joey Verskotzi 

I ventured to The Tonic Room to hear Verskotzi perform an acoustic set. Tonic Room is a small bar near the Kingston Mines.  I was not aware of it as being a music venue until this invitation came along.  The acoustics are good in the bar and there is a make-shift stage with booth seating across from it.  The show started at 8 pm with an opening act by a band called Chambers from Denton, TX.  They played for the bartender, the other performers, and yours truly.  This looked like it was going to be a private show.  During their set I met Verskotzi’s wife, Francine.  They recently got married in December after having met at a friend’s reception.  I thought she had the “look” of a jazz singer and it turned out ironically that she actually is a jazz singer.  By day she teaches 8th grade in St. Paul, MN. They are an adorable couple, she is the Diana Krall to his Elvis Costello.  She, the classy club singer and he, the curly-locked hipster indie folk pop rock singer.  I would love to hear some type of duet from them down the road. 

Having time for conversation after his set, Verskotzi filled me in on his background.  He began playing guitar at age 13 and is now only 23 years old.  Prior to discovering his love for guitar and writing, he felt that he really did not fit in with the kids he was hanging out with.  It was guitar and music that directed him to others who shared the same passion and he felt that he finally found his niche and the crowd he best fit in with.  His new release, Lemon Heart, is very professionally produced and written.   A testament to his hard work, perfecting his craft, and finding his niche.

From the band camp site as reviewed by  L'etoile Magazine: "Joey Verskotzi (who performs as Verskotzi) is an old-school singer-songwriter, that beautifully dying breed of chrysalis that used to dominate the rock universe.. Lemon Heart is a magnificent example of the form.. power-pop.. chamber-pop (the love of nifty arrangements and perfect harmonies), indie-pop.. perfect melodies & terrific singing all the way through."

I would add that for a debut release it is very mature in scope.  The tempo is varied on each track and while not repetitious has a distinct Verskotzi sound. Performed with a full band, the sound is rich and the lyrics are memorable with some catchy hooks.  His music is influenced by Jeff Tweedy and Death Cab For Cutie so if you are fans of Tweedy and DCFC front man Gibbard, you can’t help but like Verskotzi.  Two of my personal favorites are "Heartless Songs" and "Honey".   The album grows on you with each listen.  Having the opportunity to hear both songs acoustically and at what was to be practically a private show, was lucky for me (likely less so for him).  Seems like a far way to drive to have a great practice space.  Not sure why there was not enough advertisement but next time he could do a private show at my house and I will guarantee at least 50 people.  For a listen to Lemon Heart and a list of tour dates check out the bandcamp site here.

The only issue I have with Joey V is his last name.  It is extremely easy to misspell over and over again.  So if you are looking for his band, take special note of the spelling.  Not Vers-KOZI or KOZY - but KOTZI.  I digress and yes, I do have my issues.  This is a video I took at the show of a new song likely to be on his next release.  Enjoy.

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