Block

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Biography

To call Block a singer-songwriter is to under-estimate the importance of story-telling in his songs. Influenced by the Beat poets (but not derivative or cliche like so many East Village crooners) his songs tell stories of Village gentrification, fake punk rockers, the illusion of an easy marriage, songs that have a sense of truth because of Block's own life experience. He emerged from the anti-folk scene in New York's East Village in the mid-1990's. His first album, 1996's Lead Me Not Into Penn Station met with great acclaim at college radio and in the independent community. Producer Glen ... Read more

To call Block a singer-songwriter is to under-estimate the importance of story-telling in his songs. Influenced by the Beat poets (but not derivative or cliche like so many East Village crooners) his songs tell stories of Village gentrification, fake punk rockers, the illusion of an easy marriage, songs that have a sense of truth because of Block's own life experience. He emerged from the anti-folk scene in New York's East Village in the mid-1990's. His first album, 1996's Lead Me Not Into Penn Station met with great acclaim at college radio and in the independent community. Producer Glen Ballard (Alanis Morisette's Jagged Little Pill) consequently chose Block to be the first Java Records release on his joint venture with Capitol Records in 1998. That album, Timing Is Everything met with much critical acclaim and had a song featured in the opening credits of Drew Barrymore's "Never Been Kissed." When the record Only sold 100,000 copies, in 2000, Block was dropped. Maybe a classic case of a big label looking for the next big thing and not wanting to develop new talent?

No longer in his 20's, Block had a decision to make: Keep plugging away without support, or quit music altogether. He chose the latter. As he explains, "I quit because I reached the place where I thought that all your dreams come true. When they dropped me, I was 32 years old with a wife and two kids and I had to make some money. I felt like I the life had been sucked out of me by the business. So I left it, thinking that I'd never return." So Block's present became a new existence as Jamie Block, Vice President of Investments and financial advisor at a major Wall Street firm. He recounts, "During the period I was establishing myself on Wall Street, I left music behind completely. It was a whole new life. People didn't even know I was a musician or had ever been involved in music. I didn't even listen anymore. It pained me. I didn't want to know what was new or happening."

Fast-forward seven years later, comfortable in his fancy car, early one rainy December morning in 2002. "I was driving to work at 6 am in the dark, listening to WFUV," he recounts, "and the great DJ Claudia Marshall started playing my song 'Catch A Falling Star' (from Timing Is Everything). When the song ended, she asked, "Where did you go, Block? Please phone home." So I went from being tickled to wondering, and that started my brain thinking, my heart pounding, etc., and a little worm lodged itself inside me and starting becoming a caterpillar."

He knew he wanted to write songs again, decided to record them just for the fun of it, and with no one to please except for himself, he collaborated with engineer Mark Hutchins and co-produced The Last Single Guy, which adds to Block's tradition of highly wry, literate, witty and occasionally heartbreaking lyrical observations of modern urban life. Block's musical reemergence is documented in The Last Single Guy, an album that reveals Block's songwriting gifts in full flower and that exists for the simplest of reasons: the love of making music. There's the lament of Ave. A, where the once authentic bohemian culture of the East Village has turned into a punk theme park; there's the young man in a Sweet Potato Pie with a wife and family at home who still craves the edge of a little drugs and sleaze that he finds in a strip joint. And then there is the invocation of a Color of Heaven, in which Block sings with a universality and compassion (In the Chinese shadow/Of the wild America/In the staggering heat of the day/We will all be standing/In the power and the glory/At least I hope so someday) that makes it perhaps his most moving song to date. Musically, there is an attention to groove that is rare for an artist emerging from folk. The rhythms complement the lyrics, adding groove and syncopation to Block's tales. In Molly Malone, the rhythm section is perfectly propulsive and fluid, setting a foundation for the guitar and other instruments to build on, each adding their own distinct coloring. Other instruments: Flugelhorn, Jew's Harp, Banjo, Drum Machines and an occasional full horn section complement Block's incisive lyrics.

Block may have been gone for years, but he's back, wiser and even more insightful for who he's been and what he's lived. He states, "it's fun this time, I'm not trying to be a rock star. The songs on The Last Single Guy were done in the spirit of the way that I wanted to do them." Another WFUV DJ and fan Rita Houston concludes, "Block quit and went away. Perhaps because he went away, these songs turned out the way they did."

This biography was provided by the artist or their representative.

To call Block a singer-songwriter is to under-estimate the importance of story-telling in his songs. Influenced by the Beat poets (but not derivative or cliche like so many East Village crooners) his songs tell stories of Village gentrification, fake punk rockers, the illusion of an easy marriage, songs that have a sense of truth because of Block's own life experience. He emerged from the anti-folk scene in New York's East Village in the mid-1990's. His first album, 1996's Lead Me Not Into Penn Station met with great acclaim at college radio and in the independent community. Producer Glen Ballard (Alanis Morisette's Jagged Little Pill) consequently chose Block to be the first Java Records release on his joint venture with Capitol Records in 1998. That album, Timing Is Everything met with much critical acclaim and had a song featured in the opening credits of Drew Barrymore's "Never Been Kissed." When the record Only sold 100,000 copies, in 2000, Block was dropped. Maybe a classic case of a big label looking for the next big thing and not wanting to develop new talent?

No longer in his 20's, Block had a decision to make: Keep plugging away without support, or quit music altogether. He chose the latter. As he explains, "I quit because I reached the place where I thought that all your dreams come true. When they dropped me, I was 32 years old with a wife and two kids and I had to make some money. I felt like I the life had been sucked out of me by the business. So I left it, thinking that I'd never return." So Block's present became a new existence as Jamie Block, Vice President of Investments and financial advisor at a major Wall Street firm. He recounts, "During the period I was establishing myself on Wall Street, I left music behind completely. It was a whole new life. People didn't even know I was a musician or had ever been involved in music. I didn't even listen anymore. It pained me. I didn't want to know what was new or happening."

Fast-forward seven years later, comfortable in his fancy car, early one rainy December morning in 2002. "I was driving to work at 6 am in the dark, listening to WFUV," he recounts, "and the great DJ Claudia Marshall started playing my song 'Catch A Falling Star' (from Timing Is Everything). When the song ended, she asked, "Where did you go, Block? Please phone home." So I went from being tickled to wondering, and that started my brain thinking, my heart pounding, etc., and a little worm lodged itself inside me and starting becoming a caterpillar."

He knew he wanted to write songs again, decided to record them just for the fun of it, and with no one to please except for himself, he collaborated with engineer Mark Hutchins and co-produced The Last Single Guy, which adds to Block's tradition of highly wry, literate, witty and occasionally heartbreaking lyrical observations of modern urban life. Block's musical reemergence is documented in The Last Single Guy, an album that reveals Block's songwriting gifts in full flower and that exists for the simplest of reasons: the love of making music. There's the lament of Ave. A, where the once authentic bohemian culture of the East Village has turned into a punk theme park; there's the young man in a Sweet Potato Pie with a wife and family at home who still craves the edge of a little drugs and sleaze that he finds in a strip joint. And then there is the invocation of a Color of Heaven, in which Block sings with a universality and compassion (In the Chinese shadow/Of the wild America/In the staggering heat of the day/We will all be standing/In the power and the glory/At least I hope so someday) that makes it perhaps his most moving song to date. Musically, there is an attention to groove that is rare for an artist emerging from folk. The rhythms complement the lyrics, adding groove and syncopation to Block's tales. In Molly Malone, the rhythm section is perfectly propulsive and fluid, setting a foundation for the guitar and other instruments to build on, each adding their own distinct coloring. Other instruments: Flugelhorn, Jew's Harp, Banjo, Drum Machines and an occasional full horn section complement Block's incisive lyrics.

Block may have been gone for years, but he's back, wiser and even more insightful for who he's been and what he's lived. He states, "it's fun this time, I'm not trying to be a rock star. The songs on The Last Single Guy were done in the spirit of the way that I wanted to do them." Another WFUV DJ and fan Rita Houston concludes, "Block quit and went away. Perhaps because he went away, these songs turned out the way they did."

This biography was provided by the artist or their representative.

To call Block a singer-songwriter is to under-estimate the importance of story-telling in his songs. Influenced by the Beat poets (but not derivative or cliche like so many East Village crooners) his songs tell stories of Village gentrification, fake punk rockers, the illusion of an easy marriage, songs that have a sense of truth because of Block's own life experience. He emerged from the anti-folk scene in New York's East Village in the mid-1990's. His first album, 1996's Lead Me Not Into Penn Station met with great acclaim at college radio and in the independent community. Producer Glen Ballard (Alanis Morisette's Jagged Little Pill) consequently chose Block to be the first Java Records release on his joint venture with Capitol Records in 1998. That album, Timing Is Everything met with much critical acclaim and had a song featured in the opening credits of Drew Barrymore's "Never Been Kissed." When the record Only sold 100,000 copies, in 2000, Block was dropped. Maybe a classic case of a big label looking for the next big thing and not wanting to develop new talent?

No longer in his 20's, Block had a decision to make: Keep plugging away without support, or quit music altogether. He chose the latter. As he explains, "I quit because I reached the place where I thought that all your dreams come true. When they dropped me, I was 32 years old with a wife and two kids and I had to make some money. I felt like I the life had been sucked out of me by the business. So I left it, thinking that I'd never return." So Block's present became a new existence as Jamie Block, Vice President of Investments and financial advisor at a major Wall Street firm. He recounts, "During the period I was establishing myself on Wall Street, I left music behind completely. It was a whole new life. People didn't even know I was a musician or had ever been involved in music. I didn't even listen anymore. It pained me. I didn't want to know what was new or happening."

Fast-forward seven years later, comfortable in his fancy car, early one rainy December morning in 2002. "I was driving to work at 6 am in the dark, listening to WFUV," he recounts, "and the great DJ Claudia Marshall started playing my song 'Catch A Falling Star' (from Timing Is Everything). When the song ended, she asked, "Where did you go, Block? Please phone home." So I went from being tickled to wondering, and that started my brain thinking, my heart pounding, etc., and a little worm lodged itself inside me and starting becoming a caterpillar."

He knew he wanted to write songs again, decided to record them just for the fun of it, and with no one to please except for himself, he collaborated with engineer Mark Hutchins and co-produced The Last Single Guy, which adds to Block's tradition of highly wry, literate, witty and occasionally heartbreaking lyrical observations of modern urban life. Block's musical reemergence is documented in The Last Single Guy, an album that reveals Block's songwriting gifts in full flower and that exists for the simplest of reasons: the love of making music. There's the lament of Ave. A, where the once authentic bohemian culture of the East Village has turned into a punk theme park; there's the young man in a Sweet Potato Pie with a wife and family at home who still craves the edge of a little drugs and sleaze that he finds in a strip joint. And then there is the invocation of a Color of Heaven, in which Block sings with a universality and compassion (In the Chinese shadow/Of the wild America/In the staggering heat of the day/We will all be standing/In the power and the glory/At least I hope so someday) that makes it perhaps his most moving song to date. Musically, there is an attention to groove that is rare for an artist emerging from folk. The rhythms complement the lyrics, adding groove and syncopation to Block's tales. In Molly Malone, the rhythm section is perfectly propulsive and fluid, setting a foundation for the guitar and other instruments to build on, each adding their own distinct coloring. Other instruments: Flugelhorn, Jew's Harp, Banjo, Drum Machines and an occasional full horn section complement Block's incisive lyrics.

Block may have been gone for years, but he's back, wiser and even more insightful for who he's been and what he's lived. He states, "it's fun this time, I'm not trying to be a rock star. The songs on The Last Single Guy were done in the spirit of the way that I wanted to do them." Another WFUV DJ and fan Rita Houston concludes, "Block quit and went away. Perhaps because he went away, these songs turned out the way they did."

This biography was provided by the artist or their representative.

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