Somewhere like Buenos Aires always throws up surprises. A musician from Philadelphia, with a four-track EP of country, reggae and pop songs, is just one of these. Bronson Tennis, this Philadelphian, met with me this week to talk about his first studio production.
A resident of 18 months in this fine city, Tennis has retained much of his American influence, whilst absorbing the atmosphere South America. This EP marks the culmination of years of concerts, jamming sessions and practising. Asked why it took so long to get into the studio and recording, he replied that it was a fear of never coming out with a finished product. After his two weeks in Philadelphia in late May/early June this year he has achieved his goal; a professional record, which he describes as a “taster” of his live shows.
Produced by Tim Sonnefeld, an up and coming producer in Philadelphia, this EP is also an insight into the wealth of talent present in the city.
The opening track is definitely my favourite. ‘Don’t Say Goodbye’, described by Tennis as a pop love song, achieves his goal of being instantly likeable. After three listens I was already serenading my slightly bemused flatmates in the kitchen. The summery guitar riff and Tennis’s smooth vocal evoke a nostalgic memory of a past event. Tennis also sings the song in Spanish ‘No me digas adios’. For me this version is better. Maybe because the playfulness of the Spanish language fits the tone of the song better, or maybe it is just because I rather like the idea of an Argentine singing me the song.
One goal of Tennis is to combine rhythms from different genres and countries. Indeed to bring part of Philadelphia’s rich musical heritage to Argentina. He does this in the other two songs on the EP. ‘Couldn’t Take You Along’ is a country inspired piece about having to leave a love behind to go on an adventure. Surely a position many have been in when far from home like Tennis. The final track ‘Take My Pain Away’ mixes a reggae beat with the pop like lyrics of the first song. It offers a different message to the second – of a couple running away to a far-away place together.
Tennis credited Buenos Aires with helping him develop his song writing, musical skill and confidence. For example his voice is “better, much better after the 200 or so shows” he has played since arriving here. The inspiration he has got from travelling and new experiences also led him to an intense three-week song writing period, where he wrote nine songs; a product he said of learning to “open his ears”. Currently taking classes in Brazilian Samba guitar, it appears that his thirst for exotic musical experiences is still as strong as ever.
Tennis’s EP is a short, sweet experience. Three very different songs, which do indeed make you want to go see the fun of his live shows. Hopefully the confidence which Tennis has found here will stay with him for a long, prosperous career.
The release date is TBC, but will be available from August after Tennis’s live concerts. There are also plans to put the songs on iTunes.
His next show will be at the Open Mic nights that he helps run on Tuesday 26th July, where he will perform an acoustic set. 10pm at Gitano Restobar, San Telmo. Chile 424, esq. Defensa. (20 peso cover with consumición)