For JP, the rationale for the blind jokes is, well, reasonable. He is legally blind. Born with a degenerative condition, he has been legally blind since birth, with the shades pulling ever tighter throughout his as-yet-brief-but-potent life. This makes his genre tag of Blind Indie Rock make more sense.
Otherwise, he’d just be sort of pretentious and snarky, but not in the fun depraved sit-com way. Corwyn’s vocal-driven indie rock style is infectious, reminiscent of Toad the Wet Sprocket’s Glen Phillips co-writing songs with Angie Aparo that get snatched by Adam Levine of Maroon 5, with occasional stomps into Creed and Pearl Jam-esque electric anthem territory. Once and always a New Yorker, Corwyn was born on Long Island, and now makes his home and home base in Seminole, Florida after spending several post-high school years in Washington, D.C. He sang before he spoke and declared his musical vocation when he was 5 years old. His family was thrilled.
Sarcasm. Their reticence would have been justified, if JP’s musical talent and gift for genuine emotional connection had not been so pronounced. His desire to draw a crowd and love of the electricity found in the performance experience is a through-line in his success, as is his love of story. Story is king in Corwyn’s music.
Story telling is more important than a clever lyric, and true listening is more important than feet tapping. Most often, the story is of triumph, survival, some form of powering through, and, during conversation, the inevitable: blind jokes. The really offensive, really funny ones. On vocals and acoustic guitar, Corwyn has helmed an EP and two full-length albums thus far in his career. Original songs + story focus + Multi-platinum Producer Michael Seifert = YAY! That’s the formula that has called forth the full-length albums In Plain Sight in 2006 and The White Cane Conspiracy, which is releasing in January 2011.
Both records find JP feeling akin to hero/heinous drunk Jeff Buckley, in that, “I never wanted to be a solo artist, but I could never find the band I wanted to be a part of. So I became a solo artist and ended up finding the band I’d always wanted to join.” In Plain Sight is an expansion of his 4-song EP debut, and gave him his first real opportunity to go full-tilt band and balls on previously tender coffee house tunes. His courage and vision seriously enriched his relationship with his fans, giving them the fullness of sound that they had been waiting for and returning to him the wave of their recognition after which he had lusted. High on the tide but hungry for more, Corwyn has moved his studio vision forward into The White Cane Conspiracy. Due out January 4, 2011, The White Cane Conspiracy is a thematic play on his lack of obviously blind traits.
He doesn’t use a white cane. He doesn’t walk into walls, as a rule. He doesn’t even rattle a coffee cup for change while riding on subways. Really, he’s quite delinquent as a blind cliché, and thus the smirk and the slice of this album’s themes were born.
Working again with Michael Seifert, the pals grounded JP’s sound more firmly in the acoustic side of indie rock and affirmed the greater maturity of the songwriting. With a richness of subtlety and elegance in the production, Corwyn’s soaring; clarion voice has been given ample room to shine through. The first piece of the Conspiracy unfolds in the November 2010 release of the lead single “Find a Reason.” Prepare to have your eyes opened. Pun. JP Corwyn isn’t quite “Stevie Wonder blind”, or “Ronnie Milsap blind”.
But then, those icons would have made music regardless of what their eyes were capable of. Maybe they did it a little better than those who can see; maybe their intuition is stronger and their sense of the click-click-clicking of the world around them is more keen. JP Corwyn makes excellent music, of which you should really be aware, without his eyes, and with his hands, and with his mouth, and with his mind, and his hips, and his spine, and his legs and fingers and toes and nerves. Yep, he’s blind. But he’s hardly unaware.
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