Words: Abby Wise

The concept of talk music may seem like a dream come true for those who can’t carry a tune, but innovator Listener proves that the new style of music is far from simple. At its most basic form, talk music combines instruments and speaking. Think of it as rapping over quieter beats and folk melodies.

Listener adds to the basic formula with complex instrumentals and metaphorical lyrics. Front man Dan Smith’s hip hop roots show through in the form of twisted, dark descriptions of failed relationships and troubled women. Smith speaks rhythmically over Chris Nelson’s guitar and trumpet as if part of a poetry slam.

Although Smith, a rap veteran from the mid 90s, has seen his fair share of album releases and national tours, it was only about five years ago that he joined forces with Nelson. The two released their most recent album, Wooden Heart, last year, which is centered around the abstract concept of pieces coming together to form one.

Last week, the duo announced several new destinations on their national fall tour, which begins on November 4.


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