Thinking about how you discovered a certain artist or band can feel, after a few minutes, like pondering space or quantum physics. The variables in play are dizzying. It's like the human brain isn't meant to comprehend the totality of the fractals and tendrils that connect and disperse art, culture, content and thought.
Brett Dennen came into my awareness through one of these tubes. I saw his name on a shared Spotify playlist created by a friend in preparation for a guitar jam session. I clicked almost at random, listened to the song, didn't like it much, but dug in a little deeper. I found the below video in that dive, of the song "Sydney (I'll Come Running)," recorded in a cheesy Fender promo booth at a music festival. I'd wager that's not even his guitar, but that it was handed to him by a rep as they set up.
But whatever alchemy of Dennen's commitment to the song, his mood (a little awkward, a little overconfident), his talent and voice, just magnetized this cut. It cut a swath through my mind and I was drawn back to it.
The song itself is in that school of songs that draws energy from its minutiae. The place-names, the narrative, the dig at soccer moms. In the hands of Dennen's unlikely voice, it gains and gains. All of these videos in the music corner gain something with each viewing, that's what makes them stand out. This one is as familiar as an old VHS tape of sitcom recordings to an 80s kid. Even the cheesy guitar riff at the beginning sparks a little Pavlovian pleasure response. I've since seen Dennen live and followed his path. I'm a fan.