Here, in a nutshell, is a portrait of the contemporary singer/songwriter in the age of a dire global economy.
Darren Hanlon, the young and smartly romantic Australian musician who headlines in Southgate House’s Parlour in support of his first American album, I Will Love You At All, is talking to me from Chapel Hill, N.C., a tour stop. His phone number has a Minneapolis area code — he bought a phone there after arriving from Sydney for this tour.
The album, by the way, was produced in Portland (it was more affordable than Australia). His conversation is peppered with references to friends and favorite influences — Stephin Merritt’s quirkily, jauntily literate American band Magnetic Fields, the gifted confessional Swedish singer/songwriter Jens Lekman, fiery and soul-bearing British troubadour Billy Bragg.
Hanlon, who is established enough in Australia to have released four studio albums plus a B-sides/rarities disc, has toured with both Bragg and Merritt.
“I’m drawn to people who write good lyrics,” he explains. “I’ve had many talks with Stephin Merritt about songwriting and I’ve talked to Billy, too.”
Darren Hanlon plays Southgate House Thursday with Shelley Short. Go here for Steven Rosen's full Sound Advice.