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Brian Pounds

“If your heart’s not in it people can tell.” 20-year-old Brian Pounds says about writing. “So I try not to get too caught up by the outside forces when it comes to music. I strive to guide the lyrics and chords rather than totally allowing the force of music to control what I do.”

Perhaps that explains why the songs on Brian’s debut album, After You’re Gone, vibrate with the force of love restrained and then skillfully released. The record embodies late-night cool, with simmering pop, rock, and jazz melodies becoming instantly familiar as the artist takes you into his confidence. “I went for honesty with this album. The first time I ever played one of my songs for strangers it felt like I was telling my deepest, darkest secret. The fact that they related to it was the best feeling yet to date.”

Vulnerability laced with arsenic drives Brian’s first single, the title track “After You’re Gone,” with biting lyrics like “I wonder why you’re even still here” riding a smoky melody. Apocalyptic love is at it’s core, which has been an ongoing theme for Brian. “The first song I ever wrote was about a girl who didn’t know I existed and probably still doesn’t. ‘I’ll love your forever and ever and I’m going to cry until I get you.’ Ha! It was five years of teenage angst poured into one song.” Honest emotion also drives the dark-night-of-the-soul theme in crowd favorite “Tired” and the album closer "Faith." The addition of string arrangements emphasize the mahogany overtones of "Faith," the creaminess of "The Rain," and the dream-inducing melody of "Who Needs Sleep." But it's the soulful strength of Brian’s vocals, reminiscent of James Taylor crossed with Dave Matthews, that are the standout on the album. From the cutting directness of “Don’t Waste My Time” to the sensuality of “The Rain,” the conviction in his voice will make any listener a believer.

Produced in Austin, Texas by Dave Wiley of Alpha Rev fame, the album showcases Brian’s subtle guitar work and his ability to use it to hit the right dynamic at the right time. “I took up guitar because my brother had been into it and he was my hero. The first time I played onstage was my Junior year of high school and I had to play for three hours. I didn’t know that many songs, so I played everything three times. I joined a band a year later and that's how I met Amon Copeland, the other guitarist that plays on this record.” Also appearing on After You're Gone are Derek Morris on keyboards (Bob Schneider, Alpha Rev, Ian Moore), Brian Batch on violin (Alpha Rev), Michael Christmas on drums (Douglas Boyd, Chris Hawkes), Tommy Roalson on drums (Alpha Rev), Lincoln Keck on percussion and Brandon Gonzales on bass (Boss Martians, Breathers).

“One of my big influences has been a group of Austin songwriters called ‘Austin Found’. We play on each others records, go to each others shows, play live together - just take care of each other musically. You can hear a lot of their influence, and influences like Amos Lee, Adam Durwitz, Jimmy Webb, John Mayer, Alicia Keys, and Ray LaMontagne, on the album because my own sound isn’t limited to one genre. For that reason we didn’t have any parameters when we made it, but everything fit in the pocket.”