With comparisons by the press to Dire Straits, Morphine, Chris Whitley, Jeff Buckley, and Elvis Costello, The Grand Candy are sure to be embraced by fans with a wide breadth of musical tastes. For listeners who choose to simply get lost in the swirling guitars and pounding percussion, there is ample room. For those who want to delve deeper, the path is there to ponder the vignettes that unfold from each song. Narrative songwriting that employs equal helpings of melody and dissonance, shadows and light: that is The Grand Candy.
Dan Cohn has been called many names throughout his life, however, the only one he ever liked was Pluto. Cohn was given the moniker either because he’s either ‘an old soul’ or ‘far out’ depending on who you ask.
The ‘old soul’ reference may say something about Cohn’s songwriting prowess. Touring the East Coast behind his solo effort, ‘Par Avion’, Pluto’s songs were roundly praised as ‘Original’ and ‘Masterful.’ The Washington Post’s ‘New Dylan’ comparison went so far as to suggest that Pluto’s classic songwriting hails from a different era. The Boston Globe’s Steve Morse called Pluto, "a great songwriter and singer with the indefinable quality of charisma."
That charisma isn’t the only reason Cohn might be considered kinda ‘far out’. Referring to his preference for passion over polish, Pluto says: "To err is human. I like weird notes. Some mistakes, the weird ones, you could not repeat them if you tried. I like to leave them in. At first, they are foreign to your imagination. Once you listen to them for a while, though, the weird becomes familiar, sometimes revelatory.”
Drummer Jon Babu is a brilliant, sensitive musician and a ferocious drummer. He moved to the DC area over 10 years ago after many years of playing rock, jazz, hip-hop, and other sorts of musical explorations with original bands in New York and Boston.
Cohn first met drummer Jon Babu when they were students at New England Conservatory. Babu was talking to a girl Cohn fancied on the steps to Jordan Hall. This was not immediately perceived as an auspicious first encounter, but these deeply talented musicians quickly found their rhythm, despite the rocky start to their friendship.
Cohn eventually settled in DC, too, and reconnected with Babu through a mutual friend. Being 'from the same school' musically, they quickly realized some natural chemistry. “I was looking for something here in DC that would be a satisfying outlet - something creative, inspired, musically fulfilling. I was lucky enough to run into Dan, who brought not only his fantastic catalog of songs but also an organic approach,” says Jon.
While bass wasn’t the first instrument Jacob Chmara mastered, (Chmara’s day job is playing saxophone for the United States Marine Corps) as soon as Cohn and Babu connected with Chmara, they found his playing the perfect complement to the grooves they were looking to lock down. These three, together with their clever contributors, mix and match various genres according to their ever-changing moods.
NSFW is the debut album from Arlington, Virginia based The Grand Candy. It was recorded at the famed Washington DC area Inner Ear Studios, and produced by the studio’s founder Don Zientara (Fugazi, Bad Brains, Bikini Kill).
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