Throughout my 28 years on earth, I haven’t often wished for the opportunity to switch places with another person. I’ve been relatively content with my God-given goods, never really obsessing over my anatomical deficiencies or intellectual shortcomings. However, that all changed one night when I went to a Ray LaMontagne concert in St. Louis.
You see, Tristan Prettyman opened the show. I hadn’t heard of her before, but as soon as I saw her onstage, an intense longing to stand in her shoes took over my body. There she was, hair perfectly mussed, guitar casually strummed, and voice naturally robust. That night made me wish I had kept up the piano lessons and somehow learned to carry a tune. I mean, could I please star in Trading Places Part Deux?
That night, after her set, Prettyman hung out by the merch stand, and I made a beeline to purchase her latest album at the time, t w e n t y t h r e e. Of course, she was really gorgeous and down to earth and friendly to all the eager beavers waiting for her autograph. Later when I got home, I looked her up online and found out she can surf and used to model for Roxy. Plus, she’s really into saving the earth. Damn the luck.
However, she does seem to appreciate her immense talent and organic goodwill for what it is. Prettyman infuses that cheerful disposition into her music, and the outcome is so far a concise catalog of songs, set against token acoustic and at times bluesy backing, that uplift and renew. The songs on the upcoming April 15th release of Hello continue the pattern. They are Sunday-morning-stay-in-bed songs. They are not-a-cloud-in-the-sky songs. They are day-at-the-beach songs. Better yet, they are holding-hands-while-walking-down-the-street songs.
Prettyman typically writes of love: nervously on the brink, comfortably in the now, and everywhere in between. If her lyrics are any indication of her romantic life, then she surely does have good fortune. That, or she’s still too young to be perpetually jaded. Whatever it is, I’ll have what she’s having.
Despite her young age, Prettyman’s songwriting is confident but not forced. It’s sweet but not saccharine. It’s happy but not disgustingly chipper. Frankly, it’s a pleasant departure from the “slit my wrists” music that usually fills my iPod speakers. Prettyman doesn’t employ the glass-half-empty mentality which is often more than I can say for myself.
Despite her invariable optimism that usually forces my cynical eyes to roll, Prettyman remains likeable because of the unaffected enthusiasm for love and life present in her music. The days and nights might not be so easy, breezy for the rest of us, but they become a little more so when Prettyman’s music is playing at a suitable volume.
Tristan Prettyman Videos:
She said it: