Wednesday, August 7, 2019

This week at the Orange County Fair: Dan Krikorian

The 2019 Orange County Fair in Costa Mesa, Calif. ends on Sunday, but there is still plenty of time to catch several music performances around the OC Fair & Events Center. 

My can't miss pick is the OC Fair return of Dan Krikorian, who appears Aug. 7-11 on the Meadows Stage from 8-11 p.m.

Earlier this year, he released fifth studio effort Grandeur - one of the best independent albums I've heard so far in 2019. The local singer/guitarist also teaches at Chapman University, hosts the Beautiful Work Podcast and served as an award-winning basketball coach for the CU Panthers.

Krikorian just returned from a European tour, where his music is often played on the radio (the songs would easily fit here on Adult Alternative stations like KCRW and KCSN FM).

On the frequently captivating Grandeur, Krikorian is joined by many of the same musicians from 2013's Bloom. This time, the studio crew also included Probyn Gregory (Brian Wilson, Beach Boys, Micky Dolenz, eels) on trumpet, trombone and French horn. 

The 16 tracks are divided into two acts and start off with the dreamy "Words," featuring supple backing vocals. A breezy "Need Me Bad" boasts an infectious 1970s R&B/pop vibe, while the vulnerable "59th Street," with prominent organ swells, is a definite standout.

Some songs bear a similar stylistic sensibility as Josh Ritter, Paul Kelly, Lord Huron and Gregory Alan Isakov. Other standouts: the fun, sax-fueled "High Heels," where Krikorian cleverly name checks Ritter and Bruce Springsteen, love song "The Lucky One," with smooth backing vocals, a haunting "Ulanga," "Joe Purdy" (recast in full band mode after appearing in solo acoustic mode on Bloom) and the appealing "Lyla."

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