In my little blogging world, I am most regularly invited to singer-songwritery events, filled with acoustic guitars or a lone keyboard, mournful relationship lyrics over major chords. But the bluesy sound of Damian Sage broke through the glass ceiling of singer-songwriterdom, proving you can make anything old, new.
Backed by guitarist Brian Simpson, drummer Jamie Douglass, and bassist Ted Russel Kamp, Sage took the intimate, but enthusiastic audience on a journey back. With classic rock and bluesy sounds so familiar and comforting, yet flavored with Sage’s unique storytelling, his music is like an Old Fashioned laced with something unexpected and exciting.
The night was filled with Sage’s intense and surprising originals, stories pulled from his childhood in New York and past relationships, with the occasional nod to some of his favorite LA bands, The Doors and Guns N’ Roses. With the conclusion of each story, the crowd’s cheers grew louder, ebbing Sage on, begging for more of this rare, soulful sound the commercialized city is starving for.
In his cut up jeans and white t-shirt, Sage owned the crowd with his charming New York accent, pinot noir obsession, and self-deprecating humor, infiltrating a swanky Los Angeles neighborhood with the good time feels of your favorite hometown bar. As Sage brought the audience through relatable scenarios and extreme tempo changes, their emotions soared with their cheers. The roof almost came down with “Suitcase Full of Blues”, a masterfully crafted number about a woman he had known as a child who stood on her own two feet and powerfully cast a bad man out of her life with the words “I got some bad news, and here’s your suitcase full of blues.”
By the end of the too short set, the audience called for an encore, but were left with the bittersweet remnants of a powerful lesson in storytelling and staying true to yourself.
And remember to stay bluesy.
Drea Dorman is a singer-songwriter and music blogger living in Los Angeles, CA. Learn more about Drea and her music at www.dreaofficialmusic.com.