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Sunday, January 11, 2015

Brian Motyll makes impressive musical debut

Brian Motyll at Chicago Street Pub 1-9-15 (Chris Flood photo)
By Ted Slowik

The pool of artistic and musical talent runs deep and wide in Joliet and Will County, with veterans creating new material all the time and new performers constantly coming onto the scene.

Brian Motyll, a 22-year-old from New Lenox, is a newcomer who made his debut Jan. 9 before a packed house at Chicago Street Pub, opening for Charlie Champene. Brian performed regularly at an open mic hosted by John Condron at Tribes Alehouse in Mokena, but this was his first billed, extended live performance.

Brian's a great acoustic guitar picker and songwriter who delivers his tunes with a heartfelt sincerity. His voice has an endearing raspiness, and he's already quite poised as a performer for such a young talent. (He wore an eye patch due to recent surgery.)

"Opal" by Brian Motyll album artwork
His Chicago Street set included material from his just-released collection of 10 original tracks. He makes the digital album "Opal" (by riverhorse) available through Bandcamp for free downloading or voluntary donations.

He calls his work "bedroom music," meaning these are home recordings. The recording quality is very good, though. In addition to guitar, Brian plays piano and bass and adds in a variety of vocal and percussion sounds. Scott Ahlgrim receives credit for playing drums on four of the 10 tracks.

"Opal" showcases Brian's songwriting and ability to create melancholy-like moods with his music. Songs like "County Fair" feature sticky melodies and steady rhythms. He's got a solid grasp of phrasing, and his lyrics reflect a maturity beyond his 22 years. "I Think It's Time" contains the line "I'm so scared of getting lost but I'm not afraid to die."
Brian Motyll

Brian paid me a huge honor by performing one my songs at his debut. His beautifully played cover of "No Tomorrow" moved me deeply. It's the first time I've heard someone else play one of my tunes, and as a songwriter there's no greater feeling. (Friends Tim Placher, Allison Flood and Dan Dougherty have played "Red Rover" but I wasn't there to hear them.)

Headliner Charlie Champene is a veteran of the local scene who continues to grow and develop as a performer, songwriter, vocalist and recording artist and is finishing up work on a new collection of recordings.

Charlie Champene at Chicago Street Pub 1-9-15 (Chris Flood photo)