A good friend of mine first introduced me to the music of Michael Disalvo III a few weeks ago. Although I was a bit skeptical, especially when it is one of those "friend of a friend of a friend" referrals, I agreed to head over to this tiny singer-songwriter bar to catch his performance. We got there about ten minutes prior to the beginning of his set, as this drunken douchebag was supposedly finishing up his Jeff Buckley wannabe rubbish. The dude kept going and going, until finally Disalvo had to step up and ask him to stop. The place only held thirty people or so, making it impossible for Disalvo's friends and family to get in. The wanker finally stepped down so he could begin.
I knew very little about his music. In fact, all I really knew about Disalvo was that he had to undergo surgery to remove a brain tumor. That didn't really help me predict what his songwriting would sound like, although I assumed it would be rather dark. For the most part, I was right on. It takes a very talented musician to capture my attention, especially on the folk-acoustic tip, and Michael Disalvo III totally impressed me.
His brief set began with the instrumental song "Rhodes." After that, he performed heartfelt songs with a bit of twang, making it hard to believe that he grew up in New Jersey. Songs this genuine and honest are impossible to ignore, such as "I'm In The Way" and "Maybe It's Me." His melancholy acoustic tunes reminded me a bit of when I saw Richard Buckner perform in a tiny club back in Austin. Disalvo's songs bring to mind fellow musicians Joesph Arthur, Elliott Smith and even the early works of Ben Harper.
I highly suggest heading over to his MySpace page to download the four tracks he has made available. Songwriting this honest and pure is truly a gift. If you enjoy the music of Iron & Wine and Bright Eyes, definitely give Michael Disalbo III a well deserved listen.