Welcome to Town: Isaac Pierce

I first met Isaac Pierce trading mini-sets at Citizen Coffee in Lower Queen Anne. Mattie P (a totally unique soul who just left town last month) had invited me to join one of his periodic afternoon gatherings of songwriters playing a few songs each, in the charming tiny lofted space above the espresso bar.

Here is the song “a reminder,” recorded by Matt Ploszaj (aka Mattie P) from that afternoon. Isaac graciously gave me permission to post it here even though it was a first test-flight of a not quite finished song. It’s a good example of what he has been up to recently (and damn good in general). Press play.

a reminder (draft) by colinjnelson

Now, that was a couple months ago. Yep, I procrastinated a bit writing this one, but only because I really dug his music and wanted to do it justice. But now I am procrastinating on doing my taxes, so it’s a perfect time to write this instead!

While I’ve been procrastinating, Pierce has been out playing. I ran into him completely by chance at a certain popular open mic in Ballard a few weeks ago (at which he was hands-down the most engaging performer of the long night, in my opinion). Now I see Pierce has a show, tonight, 4/15, at the Mars Bar.

Pierce has a rare quality of LIVEness when he’s playing live. He sucks in all of the molecules of the space and exhales them back out colored by the sounds he’s producing. Perhaps his attention to the song is so complete it creates a vacuum, pulling everyone else’s attention in with it? If I knew exactly how this worked I’d be famous (or more likely making other people famous; it pays better and you get to go home at the end of the day to your own magnificent obscurity).

Pierce manages to play his guitar simultaneously jangly and warm. His voice is inviting, expressive but not off-putting, with even an occasional rasp. The music is good enough that, if you are me, you might not catch all the lyrics the first time around, but what you do catch makes you wish you had been listening closer.

Now, first things last, Isaac moved to Seattle in December, from Chicago. Back there, he had a band called Ten-Speed, which features him prominently, and one could say things similar to what I said above about them. I recommend you check out their website for some fine  recordings, streaming or download. (This could be a Free Album of the Day as well!) And they have a facebook page which includes current info about what Pierce is up to.

So, come have a drink with me at the Mars Bar tonight and welcome him to town!

(And if you happen to live in Bellingham, WA, he’s playing there tomorrow, and coming up soon, Eugene, OR, Davis, CA, Portland OR. Do check that out.)

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