You never know who you know until they let you know! This is how I feel today about Vegas Valentine, a young man who I have known for years in New York’s Burning Man community. Vegas and I have been at Burning Man events together, camped together at I FEEL Summer Escape, and share literally hundreds of mutual friends and connections. But I just found out in an odd way that Vegas Valentine is an accomplished singer and recording artist. I had just never been in a place where he performed.
This is how I found out… It was 11:45pm New Year’s Eve and my wife Pat and I were really glad we made it to Eris Evolution in Williamsburg, Brooklyn in time for the New Year’s toast. The music playing, as I walked in was electric, as was the atmosphere. We did the toast and Vegas Valentine was standing next to me telling Pat that he just finished his set. I told him that I was so sorry to have missed it, and he revealed that it was his music that was being performed, and that is what I was listening to when I walked in the door. I immediately recalled my sensations of excitement, energy and overwhelming happiness and how the music seemed to create a crescendo of these emotions. Music is such a powerful influencer, and my memories of how 2020 began will forever include the influence of Vegas Valentine’s music.
Vegas told me he was finished performing for the night, just as 2020 ushered in, but he would send me a link to his music on Spotify. So, you can imagine my delight when on the evening of New Year’s Day, I got a link via Facebook Instant Messenger.
The album, Nocturne, is a beautifully layered rhythmic tapestry that takes you through a variety of sonic imagery and emotions. Vegas’ voice is crystal clear, with pitch precision that clearly defines the stories he tells through his music. His has a convincing tonal range that delivers on the promise of a quality musical encounter.
The first cut on the Spotify list, Harbinger, kicks off with church bells followed by the phrase “Not looking for love.” The phrase breaks down in beautiful multiple harmonies and moves up in tempo making you glad you waited for it! As for the lyrics, they go through the highs and lows of uncertain love, leaving you with the question, how much do you really want to know about the relationship you desire?
Power X Pride is a music journey about the politics of love, how ego, emotions and judgmental attitudes influence relationships. The musical changes totally fit the moods created by the music.
Devil Again, reminds us of a situation we all probably faced at one time, feeling powerless in the face of a temptation, in pain and in need of redemption. So much so that you are willing to take that chance. “I did not want to give into the darkness, but I took its hand anyway:” Powerful stuff.
Fathoms is a ballad that is so interesting, I had to listen to it with a great pair of headphones and as loud as I could take it because the layers and musicality took me on a magical sonic journey. So much to listen to, and so much fun.
In Red Neon Light, Vegas tells us a story reminding us that “The more you think you know, the less you know.” It is as though he is singing us through a moment of life, with care, precision and trepidation. A lyrical cautionary tale, beautifully sung, performed and arranged instrumentally. Fitting that the track it ends with church bells.
And in Nobody Needs to Know we are all reminded of our naughty side, love and wanting in the face of societal pressure and taboos. What love would you have manifested if nobody else would know? What would you have done to make it happen?
This body of work is well worth a listen. It is music you will play over and over again. As for me, I’m totally ecstatic to have found another dimension in a friend I have known and admired for some time.
You can listen to the music of Vegas Valentine on Spotify, https://open.spotify.com/album/6MHoR8Ap1F1juReJ6fDdeW
And you can follow Will on Twitter@willjwright.