Oregon artist plays inspiration

The smooth acoustic vibes of Tyler Stenson that filled the air this summer, opening for famed rocker Chris Isaak at the Oregon Zoo, will now be filling the radio waves of KSLC.

Born in Lander, Wyo., but raised in Oregon, this bold singer/songwriter mixes acoustic melodies, similar to Jack Johnson, with authentic folk-style lyrics like that of a western Bob Dylan.

Deriving influences from his humble roots in the Beaver State, Stenson’s album, Bittersweet Parade, provides tracks of wholesome, inspiring music that begs listeners to find themselves within his words.

Stenson’s early career saw him as the front man/songwriter for the bands Lander and Rhetoric Tuesday in the early 2000s. Filling beer-soaked bars proved to not be enough for the artist and he pursued a solo career in Portland by 2007.

His authentic music has been well received around the Portland-Metro area ever since Stenson was honored as “Best Male Artist” at the 2011 Portland Music Awards.

The opening track, “Welcome the Change,” personifies the artist’s philosophy of constant growth as a human to better understand oneself. The track sets up the motivating, feel-good music that comprises the rest of the album with clean acoustic guitars providing the only instruments used in the song. The simplicity of this song seems to illuminate Stenson’s words as great Western poetry that is well-received in the Pacific Northwest.

A track title “A Great Man’s Funeral” gives even more support to Stenson’s ability to combine humble music with fantastic lyrics that tell a story that draws the listener in. The use of more Country-style instruments (lap steel-guitars, fiddles, etc.) shows the diversity and reach of Stenson’s music and his capabilities of becoming a prominent music figure even beyond his homeland of the Northwest.

“Push That River” is a slow moving ballad that may be the best example of Stenson’s “Poetry to Music” style that makes him so appealing. His acoustic riff throughout the song gives a soothing flow to the track and lets his words come through to the listener in clear fashion. An echoing steel-guitar in the background adds depth in a modest way that perfectly fits the style of the song.

In an industry in which authenticity is hit or miss, Stenson gives his followers musical motivation to “welcome change” and never forget to find the good within the world.

His music can be found on iTunes as well as www.tylerstenson.com, and is definitely worth a listen or two.

Look for Stenson’s tracks to hit the KSLC rotation with great potential for staying-power.

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James Testa/
KSLC 90.3 FM
James Testa can be reached at kslcmusic@gmail.com.

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